I usually try very hard not to get too political in my blog. Everyone has an opinion, or a political angle. They see the incumbent powers as good, bad, or indifferent. I won’t be party to arguing against anyone’s beliefs.
Having said that…
I read in the paper this morning of the drinking culture in the Commons. Hmmm. We are bludgeoned over the head with programmes on Freeview (apparently they count as gripping entertainment – but that’s for another day, and another blog) that depict town centres at night as if they are sewers of absolute degradation. People, it seems mostly in their late teens and early twenties frequently get off their faces with booze and/or drugs on a night out. The police managing, or trying to manage the scene are portrayed as fun-loving and mostly tolerant. Frankly I would not be able to do their job, I simply couldn’t take the kind of crap they do. I take my hat off to them.
I am eagerly awaiting the fly-on-the-wall TV programme that looks inside the Houses of Parliament, watching the abuse and drunken and/or drug-fuelled behaviour of the over-forties. And by that I mean a good number of MPs – I am not castigating all MPs, there are many who actually work on our behalf. If you go to this URL, you will see the open disclosure of public spending on their good time chambers, sorry, I mean bars. Well, open disclosure for 2009/2010 at any rate. If reporting on nearly five years ago is classed as open, then I will have to apply to the Oxford English Dictionary for a redefinition of the word.
Okay, let’s take those figures – methinks it’s only larger now anyway. £5.7 million to run the House of Commons Catering and Retail Service, a great pseudonym for something that could be funded out of the pockets of the MPs themselves – they expense it anyway so at the moment we pay double for their pleasure. They could just go to the pub or McDonalds, like the rest of us schlubs.
So what alternative activities could be funded for the same money as their bilious ways? Here are two examples:
248 nurses - proper staffing, especially at weekends
1,786 home carers - people are being sent home early from hospital, full time employees to manage them in their own houses are thin on the ground, so the government has set up a system that traps a relative at home 24/7 on about £61 a week. I am sure the relative loves the person for whom they care, but there is little respite for that carer, no weekends off, nothing. The government gets a lot of bang for its buck in this case.
I am getting sick and tired of the crap that keeps on being exposed regarding some of our glorious members of Parliament. I thought a list would make things a little clearer:
- Parents of young aides working in the Commons ‘would be horrified’: Sordid new claims bring calls to rein in the Westminster drinking culture
- Monstrous cover-up: How the Liberal party, police and MI5 concealed MP Cyril Smith’s industrial-scale child abuse
- BBC scandals – the responsibility of Parliament to ensure this leviathan is using our funds properly, not pushing leftist politics or covering up sexual abusers such as Jimmy Savile among others – sorry, there are simply too many URLs on this subject to be attached here, especially when you take into account the golden handshakes, golden parachutes, etc.
- Parliament expenses – moats, duck houses, ‘second properties’, and the list goes on, and on, and on, and on.
- Parliament upcoming sex scandals – Channel 4 – Nigel Evans (former Deputy Speaker found not guilty) and Mark Menzies (under age rent boy allegations) – go to this URL to see a 7 minute clip that outlines the problem – some stats discussed – of the 70 people interviewed, 1/3 had been sexually harassed, 1/4 saw someone else harassed. Apparently this endemic behaviour is known about by senior members of parties – apparently it is a matter of ‘putting up or shutting up’.
The big question is, did you vote for this seedy approach to politics and the overseeing of our country? I received an email this week to support a petition, “Stop MPs policing their own expenses”. This petition was brought to the public by a young person. I understand the emotion behind it and fully support this initiative. The biggest and most worrying question that comes from all this is whether or not all the corruption is driving young people away from interest in politics, instead believing they cannot make a difference because corruption wins.
I remember the first time I voted. I truly believed I could make a difference, and it was a wonderful sensation. These days I think there is altogether too much focus on the wrongdoings of the young and a total lack of focus on the unsatisfactory repercussions for the so-called ‘upper echelons’ of our society. They steal, cheat and lie – and yet, unlike us ordinary folk, they keep their jobs and their freedom. If you want to ‘change’ the outlook of the young, first you have to address the outlook of the elders.
If you’re still reading this, do you remember John Profumo MP? Back in 1964 he had sex with a 19 year old, denied it and then resigned a couple of weeks ago. The worst part was that she had been having an alleged ‘liaison’ with a Soviet Naval Attaché. Now I quote directly from Wikipedia:- Profumo disappeared from public view. In April 1964 he began working as a volunteer at the Toynbee Hall settlement, a charitable organisation based in Spitalfields which supports the most deprived residents in the East End of London. Profumo continued his association with the settlement for the remainder of his life, at first in a menial capacity, then as administrator, fund-raiser, council member, chairman and finally president. His charitable work was recognised when he was appointed a Companion of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1975. The man made a genuine mistake and resigned with dignity.
Do you think Maria Miller, our now ex-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and MP for Basingstoke, will behave with such dignity? And she did commit an actual crime. Or maybe she will be prosecuted for theft and serve time in prison.
Now that you’ve got up from the floor and stopped laughing, I have one thing left to say, to quote Citizen Smith – “Power to the People!”
Maybe this is why I write apocalyptic books.