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Illsley on expenses: In his own words

Nick Robinson | 21:14 UK time, Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Proof of Eric Illsley's attitude to "expenses" came in written evidence he gave to Sir Christopher Kelly's inquiry into MPs' expenses.

"In all the 22 years I have been a member of the House it has been regarded as an allowance," he argued.

"It was never set against expenses and members did not, in the majority of instances have to prove any expenditure in order to claim the allowance.
 
"It is therefore misleading in my view to refer to the ACA (additional costs allowance) as expenses.
 
"MPs were encouraged to claim the allowance at maximum levels with a minimum of receipts. It cannot be right, years after the event to maintain that MPs should not have claimed this money after being encouraged to do so by the Fees Office and successive Governments who repeatedly urged MPs to forego pay rises.
 
"Indeed the advice given to MPs for many years was to divide the allowance by twelve and claim that amount each month as it "was easier for the Fees Office".

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Then why is he pleading guilty. The Fees Office role in all this is rather murky and they appear to have tolerated some very questionable claims by not challenging claimants to show how their claim is justified as being necessarily incurred to discharge the duties of an M.P. There must be plenty of past and current M.P.'s with expense claims at the thinner end of the wedge of dishonesty.

  • Comment number 2.

    Why are you defending a man who's admitted stealing money?

    The "all the nasty tories made me do it" defence is not a valid one, and the BBC spin on it trying to paint these fraudulent labour MPs as innocent victims is obscene.

  • Comment number 3.

    If i'm honest, I think he has a point. I agree that outright fraud should be dealt with but we have to keep it in context - the fees office were the ones filling out the forms and arranging all of this and it had been going on for decades.
    I don't like the fact that MPs were underhanded about this but that was done as a group and as a group they are paying the price of more scrutiny and less trust.

  • Comment number 4.

    If this written account from Eric Illsley is a true picture (and I rather
    think it is) of how MPs have acted for lord knows how many years,then it is a national disgrace.How dare any of them expect the electorate to have
    any respect for them.

    It would appear that "the expenses scandal" is far from over,and answers
    should be sought from the Fees Office.Who told them to let things go through on a nod and a wink?

    No doubt the cry will go up that MPs are not adequately paid for the job
    they do.Fine.Lets have a debate about it.But can we once and for all have
    an expenses system that is transparent.

    Illsley can bleat all he likes that others were also defrauding the taxpayer,thats no defence.He maintained that he was innocent,and only at
    the last possible moment pleaded guilty.I trust that he didnt receive
    legal aid? If so it should be paid back pronto.

  • Comment number 5.

    Even if MPs were encouraged to claim as they did, as appears likely, their own consciences should have been enough to prevent them from following that system as they should have been able to see it was excessive and unreasonable. There were some MPs who did not claim a second home allowance despite being entitled after all. Even within a wrong system they could have done right.

    Now, whether Illsley's 'expenses' claims were so much worse he deserves to be singled out I do not know without seeing the evidence. One area he and the others certainly do seem to have a point is that so many more MPs, on the face of it, seem to have committed comparable acts and are not, as yet, finding themselves charged with offences.

  • Comment number 6.

    The expenses regime that had been in place at Westminster proved to be a very useful test of MP's attitudes to the job itself.

    That is, did they really think of themselves as public servants in the long and noble tradition of public service i.e. the honour of being elected by the people to serve, first and foremost, with any monetary rewards being a very secondary consideration.

    As it turned out, only a tiny handful of MP's, notably Dennis Skinner, actually took that view of the job.

    Many others decided that it was a path to personal enrichment.

    Fundamentally, this blogger blames the party system itself for this, somehow, at some level, that system seems to disconnect MP's from their constituents, which may make it easier for them to 'take' rather more than they 'give'.

  • Comment number 7.

    Please stop all the spin and blame.

    Every Honourable Member had to sign the standard declaration "that I incurred these costs wholly, exclusively and necessarily to enable me to stay overnight away from my only or main home for the purpose of performing my duties as a Member of Parliament".

    What more needs to be said ?

  • Comment number 8.

    Yes this man is guilty of stealing. But that is somewhat incidental to this whole scandal. The real underlying issue is one of entitlement. We are led by people who think they have every right to fleece us.

    Its customary, its tradition, it is the system by which government operates. I would say by a very large majority of MP's if not every single one of them to one degree or another think we are just cattle who can be treated with contempt.

    Unless and until we take it to Parliament to show just them who are the servants in this electoral arrangment things will never get better. Yes we want to governed, that why we elect this shower of humanity, but its with the implicit understanding they treat us as adults and with utmost respect. Not just a mob who can be manipulated and ignored at will.

    Because they don't thats why we don't respect them. We need a whole new political settlement in this country to get things back on track.

  • Comment number 9.

    re 7. At 10:42pm on 11 Jan 2011, N Sherman

    ah, but you're forgetting that those poor labour mites were too dim to understand that they were doing anything wrong, and that they were bullied into it by the bigger (tory) boys. (or at least that seems to be the BBC spin on it from what I can see).

    However, the downside to the labour/bbc "it wasn't our fault, the big boys made me do it, I was too stupid to understand I was doing anything wrong" spin is that if that argument is valid, then how come a bunch of stupid, cowardly idiots who can't even understand a basic expenses form were judged/reported by the BBC to be capable of running a country/economy for 13 years, policing the national financial regulatory infrastructure, managing trillions of pounds of GDP, and writing/debating the complex legal framework that underpins the lives of 60million people?

    The mind boggles as to how the BBC spin machine thinks it can get away with trying to pretend this was all the tories fault and that the poor labour dears didn't stand a chance.

  • Comment number 10.

    I am absolutely positive most MP's thought the whole expenses thing was a legitimate perk,even an entitlement,"It's the way we make up our salary you understand".Imagine a new MP being taught the ropes and going along to the Fees Office with his/her bits of scribbled paper,sheer heaven.

  • Comment number 11.

    It seems to me that the whole expenses system was predicated on the belief that MPs, with a few notable exceptions, where honest and honorable men. I use the gender specific noun men deliberately as I do not believe any women have been embroiled in the the expenses scandal.

    This proved not to be the case so the whole system collapsed. Thats is what happens when you make assumptions when there is no evidence to support those assumptions.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    Nick, I am always surprised that the link between demanding that all local councils publish any expenditure over 500 english pounds and how MP's feel that they should not be put through the indignity of submitting costs for review by IPSA is never connected.

    In this story, we have yet another MP who sees an allowance as a right. Whilst he has latched on to the last A of ACA, he has forgotten that AC stood for Additional Costs. He seems unable to understand that without additional costs he should not get the allowance. Somewhat similar to an allowance for children being claimed by a person without children.

    I would also argue that best business practice should win the day here. In my company, my employees have to submit any and all expenses, for review, they want to claim that they feel would otherwise not have been incurred as a function of their duties in their day to day goings on. The fact that some public servants are worried about what they claim and how they are viewed if it gets rejected still seems to suggest that they sail too close to the wind. Time the MP's took a dose of their own medicine. As ever, I am sure they will claim the moral high ground and that as all are far too concerned with their seats they would not want to run that risk and hence no need to measure them anymore, so no more IPSA as this represents an unnecessary cost to the taxpayer.

    I have yet to see the monthly claims prior to the story breaking and post the story breaking, that would be a very interesting percentage change to look at, I bet that efficiency will be one of the highest in all these cut backs....

  • Comment number 14.

    I think that it is a sad indictment on the voters of Barnsley when they can knowingly give this criminal an 11,000 majority. What does this say about their honesty?

  • Comment number 15.

    Given the widespread nature, allegedly, of this expenses fiddling, the written evidence may well be true.

    But not everybody put their snout in the trough. Some people had standards and chose to behave properly.

    The questions remain: why aren't normal business practises in force? I.E. no reciept, no expenses. Why have HMRC turned a blind eye to this cash in hand culture?

    There is nothing special about MPs- many managers put in very long days and are away from home a lot. I've done it, its part of the job. But expense fiddling is still a dismissal matter.

  • Comment number 16.

    The simple fact is that both parties encouraged or turned a blind eye to parliamentarians getting a top up to their salary via expenses. That is absolutely no excuse but the long term answer is to pay politicians more. Pay peanuts - get monkeys.

  • Comment number 17.

    7#

    Largely agree

    9#

    Come on, you cant really say you're surprised by the spin that was put on it, were you? The Tories are bound to get blamed for everything by Auntie. Its what she does. I'm only surprised that they haven't tried to get Cameron subpoenaed for causing the floods in Australia yet, or the Haitian earthquake.

    Its an indictment of the professional political class thats grown over the last 15-20 years. And, so long as the mug punters keep voting for them, it'll continue. Meanwhile, I cant help but ruminate that the current bunch being processed through the legal system are sacrificial lambs to try and keep a lid on the thing and to try and return matters to normal as soon as possible. IPSA can hardly be seen to have been a success, what with all the ranting and raving that has been going on about it - and what teeth it did appear to have in the beginning appear to have been gradually pulled over the course of the last six months, so that we have been given the illusion of reform, a few deckchairs shuffled, but most of the bad behaviour that was there in the beginning is still there.

    And, the lazy lobby fourth estate is letting them do it as well, keeping it under wraps for fear of losing their access to ministers and flunkies and actually having to do any kind of investigative journalism for a living. Just as they always did.

  • Comment number 18.

    The name is a dead give-away. Additional Costs ALLOWANCE. If it isn't an allowance then why call it one? Duh!
    I suspect an excess of zeal here.

  • Comment number 19.

    9. At 11:45pm on 11 Jan 2011, labourbankruptedusall wrote:
    re 7. At 10:42pm on 11 Jan 2011, N Sherman

    "ah, but you're forgetting that those poor labour mites were too dim to understand that they were doing anything wrong, and that they were bullied into it by the bigger (tory) boys. (or at least that seems to be the BBC spin on it from what I can see)."

    If you were at all self conscious,which I doubt,you will realize that stupidity is not restricted to the Labour party.In fact it is one of the sobriquets attached to the Tory party.Wasn`t it Disraeli who described his colleagues as "The stupid party?"

    The rest of your rant should be left to consenting adults in private.One looks vainly for any trace of humour or insight.Instead I have an image of a little man jumping up and down in impotent fury.At this level of vituperation one looks for motivation beyond politics.

    As for the expenses themselves,all parties were culpable,all members were encouraged by a system of renumeration successive administrations considered too low.As for the politics,you will be encouraged to know it was more damaging to Labour than the conservatives.Perhaps you would like to write why you think that was so? Postcard length only please or I won`t bother to read it.






  • Comment number 20.

    Utterly pathetic response from an utterly pathetic individual.

    No-one encouraged the type of behaviour exhibited by these self regarding half-wits.

    It's one thing to be governed by newlabour tyoes who are not as intelligent as they'd like to be (Gordon Brown for one), it's quite another to have to suffer their righteous indignation at being caught with their fingers in the till.

    If only they could summon the remorse expressed by the mother of the student who hurled the fire extinguisher off Millbank Tower, who urged her son to turn himself in...

  • Comment number 21.

    labourbankruptedusall wrote:

    Why are you defending a man who's admitted stealing money?

    The "all the nasty tories made me do it" defence is not a valid one, and the BBC spin on it trying to paint these fraudulent labour MPs as innocent victims is obscene.

    #######

    Okay, where, anywhere on the BBC website, and particularly this blog, is the BBC painting these MPs as innocent?

    As the post header says: "In his own words"

    This is a scrap from the commons library which is very illuminating about how many MPs thought the system was meant to have been used. NR has posted this just as a point of interest.

    However, what Illsey has admitted guilt to now, long after he made this statement, is fraud. A different matter entirely.

  • Comment number 22.

    When will other large taxpayer-funded organisations, such as the BBC, start publishing, line-by-line, their expenses?

    I wonder whether Nick's salary and expenses claims - paid for by a tax on TV ownership - are larger than the MPs he reports on?

  • Comment number 23.

    Any individual caught stealing from his employers gets the sack, no redundancy payment and looses all claims to the company contribution to his pension. It's a shame that the same rules don't apply to people who call themselves Honourable Members.

    The best and by far cheapest method of sorting out the allowances scandal is for MP's to publish full expenses on the internet for all to see then submit there expenses to the Inland Revenue. That after all is what everyone else is required to do.

  • Comment number 24.

    17. fubar
    Correct me if im wrong but in 2007 wasn’t Tom Wise an MEP from the UK Independence party under investigation for fraud after embezzling tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money by pretending to be someone else. Wasn’t it £40,000 of public funds channelled into his personal account after claiming it was for an assistant’s salary.
    And then didn’t Nigel Farage (Ukip) take £2m of taxpayers' money in expenses and allowances as a member of the European Parliament, on top of his £64,000 a year salary. Sounds a bit hypocritical wanting to be out of Europe but happy to take the European salary. Almost identical to YOU voting for UKIP but happy to live in Belgium and work on European contracts. And while im at it didn’t Lord Pearson (ukip), claim more than £100,000 in publicly-funded expenses on the basis that his £3.7 million house in London was his second home while also owning in a 12,000-acre estate with servants in Scotland.
    So all in all your lets look at your post of which when removing the usual guff, reads “Its an indictment of the professional political class that’s grown over the last 15-20 years. And, so long as the mug punters keep voting for them, it'll continue” and......your usual criticism of the BBC “The Tories are bound to get blamed for everything by Auntie”.
    Im afraid fubar this merely highlights your own hypocrisy of which you spend all your time accusing others of. Not forgetting of course to add that to the usual inane content and mocking tone of your posts.
    arf

  • Comment number 25.

    " They did it , why can`t I " .

  • Comment number 26.

    Sorry but the obscenity that this is just gets worse.

    Having spent over 20 years in tax, inside and out of H M Revenue & Customs, I know the standards on allowable expenses imposed by parliament for business and employment purposes and the idea that Mps considered themselves involved in some sort of 'game' to cirumvent the rules and so it was 'alright because everyone was doing it' is outrageous.

    That the BBC and Nick Roberston is somehow suggesting that this creates an excuse or is understandable says more about them than they realise.

    Both MPs and (it seems) the BBC have forgotten that it was always taxpayers money, OUR money that they were claiming.

  • Comment number 27.

    "As for CS555,one can only ascribe his gloating to the parade of sad anxious men who troop through his doors, clutching scribbled invoices and receipts,some illegible,some in Mongolian,others in no known language.A strange little world of men he bestrides like a colossus"

    Bryhers. Your description of 'my world' sounds more like the MPs expenses office. Do you have me confused with someone else?

    None of my clients are sad or anxious and it's been many years since I was involved at the low level of looking at invoices and receipts, in whatever language.

  • Comment number 28.

    Andrew Oakley wrote:

    I wonder whether Nick's salary and expenses claims - paid for by a tax on TV ownership - are larger than the MPs he reports on?

    ####

    What relevance is that?

    He is not an MP with a constituency, so there is no comparison.



  • Comment number 29.

    "22. At 09:23am on 12 Jan 2011, Andrew Oakley wrote:
    When will other large taxpayer-funded organisations, such as the BBC, start publishing, line-by-line, their expenses?

    I wonder whether Nick's salary and expenses claims - paid for by a tax on TV ownership - are larger than the MPs he reports on?"

    Yes, it'd be be strange if Nick "this expenses thing is just a storm in a tea-cup" Robinson was getting paid more than the PM for merely regurgitating.
    what Mps say.

  • Comment number 30.

    Lefty:

    Not for the first time, you're off topic and smearing. Never mind mate, its all you can do, isnt it, when you cant think of an answer to something.

    Yes, the MEP you refer to was guilty, he was chucked out. Not put up for re-election like the member for Barnsley central was. Yes, Farage has taken what he has, no different to the Kinnocks or Mandy. I tell you what though Lefty, you try keeping a house on in the UK and living abroad at the same time and tell me how much it costs YOU. I know how much it costs me and it aint cheap.

    Anyroad mate, any accusations of my hypocrisy will probably fall on much deafer ears than yours will.

    Heres a little something to cheer you up... lets see if Buzz Lightweight is up for it and whether the unions have got deep enough pockets to bankroll another failure....

    http://hurryupharry.org/2011/01/12/tories-to-call-a-snap-election-in-may/

  • Comment number 31.

    "15. At 07:38am on 12 Jan 2011, myneerkop wrote:


    ... not everybody put their snout in the trough. Some people had standards and chose to behave properly."


    Nail hit squarely on the head.

    let's also not forget that there IS a difference between what most did and what those being prosecuted did. However outrageous the claims made by some were, they were actually receiving money for costs they incurred. The allegations, now admitted by Chaytor and Illsley, are that they made up completely fictitious expenses.

  • Comment number 32.

    So MPs thought of it as a way of life. Something they were taught about by their elders, somethng that went on, something that everyone was doing, no one really got harmed.

    Bit like youths drug dealing on a council estate.

  • Comment number 33.

    27#

    Nothing unusual there. If in doubt or on the back foot, smear away.

  • Comment number 34.

    30. fubar Saunders
    No its not smearing fubar its FACT.
    You regularly come on here chest beating and all puffed up with self importance, telling us we are all mugs for voting for our politicians, and how they are mugging us all. Yet you yourself vote for a party who have themselves been up to their eyes in expenses scandals and coining it in off the taxpayer. Moreover its doubly hypocritical of you because the party you vote for was founded on the basis of the anti-europe issue and yet UKIP meps claim thousands of pounds worth of expenses from EUROPE. The majority of your posts smear labour mps yet your leader who you voted for
    has taken £2m of taxpayers' money in expenses and allowances as a member of the European Parliament, on top of his £64,000 a year salary. And you yourself live and work in europe.
    So in summary, for a poster who relies mainly on mocking and throwing the hypocrisy card, you yourself are most hypocritical of all. Hope you learn from this.
    Affectation is a greater enemy to the face than smallpox. 
    arf

  • Comment number 35.

    11.@Stuart8827 "I do not believe any women have been embroiled in the the expenses scandal."

    Jacqui Smith, Hazel Blears, Julie Kirkbride, Ann Winterton in the HOC. Baroness Uddin in the Lords. For starters.....

  • Comment number 36.

    '2. At 9:53pm on 11 Jan 2011, labourbankruptedusall wrote:
    Why are you defending a man who's admitted stealing money?'


    Actually, I quite like this: 'Illsley on expenses: In his own words'

    Factual, free from 'view'. No interpreting events or enhancing narratives. Just reporting what is, and allowing you to make your own mind up. No sources. No gossip. No 'critics claim'.

    Shame that, in other circumstances, one suspects the urge to 'help 'us' understand' will kick in again very soon.

  • Comment number 37.

    A SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-a-flipping-sense-of-entitlement-1682151.html

    'It was one of the best arguments for freedom of information law that such a culture would not survive the sterilising sunlight of openness. One by one, the indefensible elements of the expenses regime have been destroyed as they are held up to the light of public scrutiny.'




  • Comment number 38.

    If this guy was a banker, a footballer or a TV presenter £14K would hardly pay for one night out in the pub!

    We needs proper 'big society' standards. We need to redress the situation of the growing equality chasm. We need a tax system that caps income at some rational maximum for EVERYONE.

    David Cameron must implement his twenty times rule for EVERYONE.

    Set the 100% tax rate at 20 times the National Minimum Wage.

    [I am however not in any way condoning breaking the law.]

  • Comment number 39.

    Are not all expenses systems abused or taken advantage of from time to time (or at the very least open to interpretation)? The MPs' expenses are "self regulated", time consuming for MPs and administered in a very expensive way.
    Would it not be cheaper to end the expenses scheme entirely and compensate MPs accordingly? I suggest all MPs are automatically paid an allowance in lieu. Perhaps this could be set at 80% of the most recent average claim with the possibility of CPI linking in future.
    Not having to account for expenses would apparently free up MPs for constituency duties or closer review of proposed legislation.

  • Comment number 40.

    Lefty, all this going off topic is getting tedious. Nevertheless...

    "You regularly come on here chest beating and all puffed up with self importance, telling us we are all mugs for voting for our politicians, and how they are mugging us all."

    dont expect me to agree with the first part, but the second, yes, fair enough.

    "Yet you yourself vote for a party who have themselves been up to their eyes in expenses scandals and coining it in off the taxpayer."

    Firstly, I have told you why I voted UKIP. I was not prepared to either waste or give my vote away without a local candidate telling me why I should vote for them. Nobody should just assume that they have got your vote because they are the sitting MP or because they are from this party or that party. They have a responsibility to ASK for your vote if they have a manifesto that you believe in and they should engage with the public, not just demand the vote from the safety of an ivory tower. You, on the other hand are quite happy to hand over not only your vote but also your own money to a party that will ride on your back to get into power purely so its own members, like the one mentioned in the title of this blog can line their own pockets with phantom expenses, purely on the basis that it keeps the hated, evil, baby eating tories out of power. Who'se the more pathetic hypocrit now, lefty? Dont answer that. You cant.

    Additionally, I'd hardly call one person thrown out of the party "mired" in corruption, compared to your party which has had one sent down already, one awaiting sentence and a further 4 awaiting trial, not to mention all the others that broke the letter and spirit of the law, but managed to get off the hook. Smith, Blears, Darling, Hoon, McShane, etc, etc etc etc. Get some perspective for gods sake.

    "Moreover its doubly hypocritical of you because the party you vote for was founded on the basis of the anti-europe issue and yet UKIP meps claim thousands of pounds worth of expenses from EUROPE."

    I've already mentioned this and I'm not going to try and justify it again. You didnt listen last time.

    "The majority of your posts smear labour mps yet your leader who you voted for has taken £2m of taxpayers' money in expenses and allowances as a member of the European Parliament, on top of his £64,000 a year salary. And you yourself live and work in europe."

    All legal under the current system, mate. And, I dont smear Labour MP's, I hold a mirror up to them highlighting the difference between what they do and what they say.

    "So in summary, for a poster who relies mainly on mocking and throwing the hypocrisy card, you yourself are most hypocritical of all. Hope you learn from this."

    And, you're bound to say that arent you. You cant face, let alone own up to the problems in your own back yard without blaming someone else. People like you are the reason that socialism will never ever work as a central government system, because it is too stuffed full to the gills with naked, unabashed, unashamed self interest masquerading as equality.

    Now get over yourself for gods sake and stay on topic before the mods do it for you.

  • Comment number 41.

    "35. At 10:44am on 12 Jan 2011, Lotus_51 wrote:
    11.@Stuart8827 "I do not believe any women have been embroiled in the the expenses scandal."

    Jacqui Smith, Hazel Blears, Julie Kirkbride, Ann Winterton in the HOC. Baroness Uddin in the Lords. For starters....."

    Don't forget Margaret Beckett's shocking performance on Question Time, and Margaret Moran spending £22k on dry-rot at a boyfriend's Southampton home when her constituency was Luton.

    Is this another example of the wierd 'women don't commit crimes' rose tinted spectacles many people have?

    I expect these poor women MPs were lured into making these expense claims by an EVIL MAN!!!!!

  • Comment number 42.

    Why are we even debating this, He is guilty, he pleaded guilty and he deserves this punishment. How much sympathy would you have for a drug dealer who said he was encouraged to push drugs by his colleagues. A killer who was encouraged by his fellow gang members. A terrorist who listened to the radical preachings of a fanatic. This is supposed to be an intelligent person who was elected as an ethical upstanding member of his community. Not a petty criminal who got caught with his hand in the till. The only thing I am sorry about is that more of his former colleagues have not suffered the same fate.

  • Comment number 43.

    40. fubar saunders.
    Very Very Weak when faced with the truth.
    Post 34 has shone a bright spotlight on your blogging..
    especially when it comes to the right on topic subject of expenses, mps and your own hypocrisy.

  • Comment number 44.

    11. At 00:44am on 12 Jan 2011, Stuart8827 wrote:

    Point 1 as pointed out above many women were caught in the honey pot.

    Point 2 How much was paid back by how many, what more proof do you need that they were acting inappropriately. To coin the phrase "catch yourself on big man".

  • Comment number 45.

    He entered a plea of guilty and I'm sure that was on legal advice.

    But I do think his comments are interesting in giving suppport to what many of us thought at the time....

    The fees issue was not the actions of a maverick few. This was a systemic culture. They were doing it because the 'expenses' payments were a back door way of upping their pay without it being visible to the public in the way a salary increase would have been.

    This issue is not closed in my view - it continues to demonstrate the shoddy bunch of people we have lording over us.

  • Comment number 46.

    The two newly convicted Wastemonster politicians will possibly at least be suitable company for one another in the nick, Nick. Dearie me. Blighty politicians used to be so adept at maintaining a facade of virtue. Can they be losing their touch? Or is this but a temporary setback? After all, history tells us that it may be.

    It would be perverse to deny that the denizens of perfidious Albion have long been experts in the art of concealing political misdeeds, not to mention administrative blunders, behind a facade of virtue. They have been at it for centuries, and it became such a part of their nature that they hardly noticed it any more. They carried on with such a pious expression and deadly seriousness that they even seemed to convince themselves that they were the exemplars of political virtue. Needless to say, as the Illsley quote appears to confirm, admitting their rank hypocrisy either to themselves or to one another is still problematic for them. In fact, they can still be spotted not only behaving as if it were universally accepted that they could not be other than the very model of piety and virtue but actually seeming to believe that that is what they really are, periodic revelations indicating the contrary notwithstanding.

    The spectacle thus presented is at one and the same time intensely amusing, indeed side-splittingly amusing, from dear old Reggie Maudling cast out of the anglo-Cabinet for alleged involvement in a massive corruption scandal in 1972, such as was then not believed to happen in Blighty, to the latest victims to fall to their political deaths through the wide and wicked gap between appearance and reality.

    Still, one mustn't make too much of it. Let us just say that these latest Wastemonster unfortunates are merely chaps caught up in the machinery. Others have got away unscathed.

  • Comment number 47.

    Buzz is getting his butt kicked in PMQ's...

  • Comment number 48.

    Lefty#

    "Shone a spotlight"???? Who the hell do you think you are? Martin Bell?

    You wouldnt know an answer if it bit you on the backside mate. You carry on in your own little world. Now quit attempting to smear me or I'll start referring you for being off topic.

  • Comment number 49.

    48. fubar saunders
    It wouldn’t surprise me if you referred my posts. Quick to flood the board and jump on other bloggers and shout them down. But the medicine doesn’t taste very nice when YOU have to taste it. In reality this couldn’t be MORE ON TOPIC. Because this is a blog about expenses and mps. And you have consistently smeared and castigated politicians and political parties and journalists and the BBC. Someone only has to type in fubar saunders on google and they will find every day a myriad of obnoxious swearing postings on a variety of political blogs. Mostly of course against anything left wing. And that’s fine if that floats your boat except every day all day when you castigate and accuse others of hypocrisy, in fact you are the master of it. And today (not for the first time)you wrote
    “These fools deserve everything they got. If they don’t demand integrity, if they don’t throw out/not vote for someone who short of being convicted was known to be dodgy, then they're not going to get anyone with any integrity.
    Thats the only way you're going to break the power of the current triumvarate. Dont vote for them. Dont let them just harvest your votes on tribal lines. Make them shape their policies around what you want, be it social justice, equality, higher bonuses and less taxes, exit from the EU, save the whales or whatever”.
    “so long as the mug punters keep voting for them, it'll continue.”
    now the definition of the work hypocrite (one that you regularly use against others) could not be better exemplified than by reading what you wrote above and then discovering that the author (namely fubar saunders...you) actually does exactly the opposite to what he constantly preaches.....
    so the only way to remove/dislodge the hypocrite of the year award is to explain clearly why you wrote the comments above and then.....
    1. voted for a party that has taken £2m of taxpayers' money in expenses and allowances as a member of the European Parliament, on top of his £64,000 a year salary.
    2. voted for a party who uses European money to promote anti European policy while at the same time complaining about the Brussels gravy train
    Nigel Farage said the money had not been misused but “a very large sum of European taxpayers' money" to help promote Ukip's message that the UK should get out of the EU”.
    3. voted for a party whos previous leader Lord Pearson claimed more than £100,000 in publicly-funded expenses on the basis that his £3.7 million house in London was his second home while also owning in a 12,000-acre estate with servants in Scotland.
    4. voted for a partyy whos mep Godfrey Bloom was ejected from the European Parliament after directing a Nazi slogan at a German colleague.
    5.voted for a party whos UKIP MEP in 2004 to fall foul of the law. Ashley Mote got off with a 9 month prison sentence for benefit fraud. Mote had claimed £32,000 in income support and a further £35,000 in housing benefit.
    In fact UKIP is one of the most controversial parties....... full stop.
    http://ukipwatch.org/2005/07/ukip-meps-claim-70000-expenses.html

  • Comment number 50.

    A lot of this behaviour is greed. These people are unpatriotic (putting themselves and their greed before the country) and Labour of ALL parties, really! They put themselves up as fair and spread the wealth a la communism but act purely as champagne socialists.

    Greed. No other word/s.

  • Comment number 51.

    27. At 09:59am on 12 Jan 2011, AndyC555 wrote:
    "As for CS555,one can only ascribe his gloating to the parade of sad anxious men who troop through his doors, clutching scribbled invoices and receipts,some illegible,some in Mongolian,others in no known language.A strange little world of men he bestrides like a colossus"

    "Bryhers. Your description of 'my world' sounds more like the MPs expenses office. Do you have me confused with someone else?

    None of my clients are sad or anxious and it's been many years since I was involved at the low level of looking at invoices and receipts, in whatever language."

    Must be your prose style,or possibly the rigidity of your opinions.Both belong in the lower reaches of the tax avoiders Parnassus where I assume you situate your clients.


  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    49

    Incidentally, I notice you selectively failed to quote the part where I accused the local constituency party and the national PLP of not vetting their candidates so long as they were likely to win. And the tribal voters for not questioning the integrity of the candidate, just because he wasnt a tory.

    Not that they were too slow to condemn him on the news broadcasts last night.

    But there you go. Left wing, typical smear overdrive.

  • Comment number 54.

    Lefty/Fubar (posts passim ad nauseum)

    Not my fight, but only one of you has made a 'joke' about Zyklon B, so I know who's got the slightly higher moral high ground in this bout...

  • Comment number 55.

    If this MP and others are in essence accusing the Fees Office of allowing the abuse of funds to develop, be they expenses or allowances, who was in charge of the Fees Office?

    Wouldn't that be the serving MPs, who through the Speaker and the Clerk of the Commons, were actually regulating themselves?

    Own goal?


    btw a belated HNY (in the secular sense) to all.

  • Comment number 56.

    20. At 09:09am on 12 Jan 2011, rockRobin7 wrote:
    "Utterly pathetic response from an utterly pathetic individual.!

    "No-one encouraged the type of behaviour exhibited by these self regarding half-wits.
    It's one thing to be governed by newlabour tyoes who are not as intelligent as they'd like to be (Gordon Brown for one), it's quite another to have to suffer their righteous indignation at being caught with their fingers in the till."
    "If only they could summon the remorse expressed by the mother of the student who hurled the fire extinguisher off Millbank Tower, who urged her son to turn himself in..."


    Untrue to say that exploitation of parliamentary expenses wasn`t encouraged.MPs were paid on a nod and wink basis by the fees office for many years.Without the Freedom of Information Act we still wouldn`t know.

    Apart from the few parliamentary saints like Hilary Benn,those who face trial were unlucky enough to be caught standing when the music stopped.

    There is a continuum,irrelevant expenses like porn videos, shade into extravagences like moats and duck ponds. From there we get to the expensive mortgage on the second home,Mr.Cameron?,or claiming for a place you rarely visit like Baroness Uddin or Hazel Blears.None of this is moral,nor is it criminal, purely by the idiosyncracies of the law.

    The behaviour you castigate cuts across all political parties,,no-parties` behaviour was exemplary. Why would you expect a higher standard from ordinary MPs when their leaders were complicit in and exploited the system themselves?

  • Comment number 57.

    27. At 09:59am on 12 Jan 2011, AndyC555 wrote:

    "it's been many years since I was involved at the low level of looking at invoices and receipts, in whatever language."

    Sounds like a Jaqui Smith press statement. Maybe it would be wise to have a look at some of these invoices and receipts before submitting them. You know, just in case...

  • Comment number 58.

    51 - "Must be your prose style,or possibly the rigidity of your opinions.Both belong in the lower reaches of the tax avoiders Parnassus where I assume you situate your clients."

    Oh well, just goes to show. You can file that assumption in the "how wrong you are" file, along with most of what you write.

    But why are you being so catty? Bad Christmas? Disappointed that the machinery of capitalism hasn't crumbled? Rejection letter from "Wishful Thinking Comfortably Middleclass Armchair Class Warrior" publications for your latest polemic on why capitalism is doomed? Or are you just grumpy because the long academic Christmas holidays are at last over?

  • Comment number 59.

    "48. At 12:14pm on 12 Jan 2011, Fubar_Saunders wrote:
    Lefty#

    "Shone a spotlight"????"

    He seems to have caught Sagamix's habit of congratulating himself on his own posts.

    Delusional.

  • Comment number 60.

    55 - "btw a belated HNY (in the secular sense) to all."

    Many thanks

    Mind you, I wasn't aware New Year was anything other than a secular holiday. Has something changed? What is the Church claiming happened on New Year's Day? We should be told.

  • Comment number 61.

    Illsley and half-a-dirty-dozen other assorted MP's and Lords must be the sacrificial lambs to deflect attention from the remainder of the guilty, which number a few hundred.

    Nevermind, if pressed really hard, these politicians will say 'our democracy' suffers far less fraud and corruption than elsewhere in the developed world.

    Well, that's all right then - not.

    This is England and the people living here have a right to demand the highest possible standards from their public servants.

    When England is England again (in the political sense), there will be a return to high standards in public life.

  • Comment number 62.

    50. At 1:39pm on 12 Jan 2011, Flame wrote:

    ...Greed. No other word/s.

    ------------


    We wish.

  • Comment number 63.

    54#

    If you figure that he has any moral high ground, more fool you. Cant say I'm surprised. I dont want to "fight" him (would be similar to Nick Clegg kicking a pushchair), I was doing my best to stay on topic.

    Frankly, I'd rather he just stuck to the topic than descending into slagging me off at every opportunity, but if thats all he's got to say on the subject rather than addressing what went wrong and how to fix it or what the implications are and there are no shortage of fellow travellers like you like the sound of his dogwhistle in the absence of substance, then fine. I guess thats the way its going to be.

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 65.

    59#

    Yeah... If he thinks I'm going to justify every word I say for his benefit then he's more off his rocker than what he is already.

  • Comment number 66.

    All of the left/right political mudslinging becomes rather tiring on this blog, and detracts from genuine discussion that people may want to have.
    My point is this: The expenses system was setup by a government in a misguided and cowardly attempt to give MPs a payrise and not let the public know. Those who followed it were taking their wages and although we can berate the system which created it, the cohort of MPs have had their penance already of ridicule and lack of trust (and losing their seats of course). Those who committed absolute fraud should be prosecuted as is but not as a scapegoat for the public's anger at the system. That isn't justice, or fairness or likely to provide better transparency in the future.

  • Comment number 67.

    "57. At 2:18pm on 12 Jan 2011, mrnaughty2 wrote:
    27. At 09:59am on 12 Jan 2011, AndyC555 wrote:

    "it's been many years since I was involved at the low level of looking at invoices and receipts, in whatever language."

    Sounds like a Jaqui Smith press statement. Maybe it would be wise to have a look at some of these invoices and receipts before submitting them. You know, just in case..."

    *sigh* well of course I look at my OWN expenses claims. Can't be too careful with these (as I'm not an MP).

    It was Bryhers who confused me with someone who might examine my clients' invoices and receipts. Like her ideas on economics and politics, her ideas of the accountancy profession are stuck in the 19th century. Probably has an image of large ledgers full of handwritten figures. No, I have junior colleagues I can trust with that sort of thing. I'm more of an ideas sort of person. You know, 'why not structure it like this?', 'why not set up an off-shore holding company?'. That sort of thing.

  • Comment number 68.

    Ignorance is, and always has been no defence, even as in this case, misinformed ignorance. Now they should all put up with the arrangements they have now, and since we are never going to know how many of them (past and present MPs) have the Illsley mindset, the cost of running the new system should come out of their pockets rather than ours.
    Regards, etc.

  • Comment number 69.

    When is the BBC going to stop going on about 'moats', 'duck houses' and so on?

    Why of course Robinson likes to 'remind' the proles that those nasty Tories were up to all the bad stuff... except of course it's Liebour politicians in all but one case facing prosecution or in fact being jailed.

    When Tories were going to jail in the 90's all we got was 'Tory sleaze' from the BBC, so why no mention on 'Liebour sleaze' now?

    The BBC even manage to omit the word Labour from the headlines on radio, TV and the internet that these guilty politicians are LABOUR politicians.

    It's not just them Robinson either, it's Woolas who got away scot free by the BBC from any sort of investigation, had he been a Tory, the BBC would have made all sort of accusations.

    WHEN WILL THE BBC START TO ASK WHY SO MANY LABOUR POLITICIANS DEFRAUDED THE COUNTRY?

  • Comment number 70.

    Looks like Illsley is resigning - or as he puts it "winding down his office before his next court appearance"... which leaves him another month to continue to take from the public purse, something in the region of five thousand pounds.

    Quite how Squeaker Bercow figures that it is sub-judice, when the Judge is the only one left to make a decision on the length of sentencing (and isnt supposed to be influenced by the "right wing rabid press") is a bit of a mystery. Then again, most things that he does are a mystery.

  • Comment number 71.

    I suspect that Illsley and Chaytor were sucked almost unthinking into a fraudulent system of claiming expenses.(No sympathy intended.) This was allowed, even encouraged, by the then "Fees Office" and says a lot about the supposed probity of Members of Parliament in general.

    There were others who have not been charged with criminal offences because they did not forge documents, or perform other obviously illegal acts, but whose expenses claims are just as dubious - eg claiming for spurious mortgage payments when the mortgage itself had been paid off, on the specious argument that the expense would have been allowable if the mortgage had not been paid off, so it is not costing the public any more. Clearly, so far as their personal earnings are concerned, these MP's do not know the difference between fact and fiction.

    Excluded from these comments are those few admirable MP's who either didn't claim or only claimed minimal expenses that would have been allowed by organisations outside the ivory tower of Westminster.

  • Comment number 72.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 73.

    Andy 67

    "I'm more of an ideas sort of person."

    I'm the first to be impressed by people who think outside the box and can come up with ideas like 'why not set up an off-shore holding company?'. Then again and keeping on topic (nearly), I was very impressed with Jaqui Smith's husband admitting to the world that he enjoyed watching porn. All in all, it seems I'm easily impressed - Sigh!


    Blame @55

    HNY to you as well.

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    Where the MPs sign off their allowance/expense claim, it says that they are signing that the claim is in respect of expenditure wholly necessarily and exclusively for carrying out their parliamentary duties.
    (This has always been required by the Inland Revenue if the payment is to avoid being taxed as income rather than justifiable expenditure).

    Consequently, Illsley should not have been under the impression that it was an entitlement or monthly allowance regardless of his actual expenditure to do his MPs job.

  • Comment number 76.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 77.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 78.

    Well some things never change. Another day, another comment removed without cause.

    Since I can't be bothered to rewrite my carefully worded and incisively brilliant post of a few moments ago, I will just say:

    Its old, its boring, it makes very little difference to the country as a whole. There are more important things to focus on than petty thievery.

  • Comment number 79.

    "Illsley on expenses: In his own words" is the title of Nick Robinson's blog.

    MPs., MEPs., earn a very good salary. In fact, many earn much more in addition to their tax-payer paid salary too.

    Why are we even allowing the most wealthy MPs., MEPs to claim the same allowances as those with no wealth or private income?

    For example: George Osborne and David Cameron, who are independently wealthy, have the right to claim the same MP allowances as MPs with no other income other than their MP salary. Is that right? Is that a question that ALL of Parliament or the House of Commons - have been too cowardly, or too ashamed to face?

    Shame on all MPs and MEPs, of ALL parties and ALL areas of the UK who are too 'circumspect' to admit, even to themselves?

  • Comment number 80.

    Aha, I have uncovered the reason for the removal of my post. It seems in attempting to copy and paste a single comment, I copied and pasted the entire thread. Since I was e-mailed the post that was removed, I will post it after all.

    -----------


    56. At 2:18pm on 12 Jan 2011, bryhers wrote:

    Untrue to say that exploitation of parliamentary expenses wasn`t encouraged.MPs were paid on a nod and wink basis by the fees office for many years.Without the Freedom of Information Act we still wouldn`t know.

    -------------

    Sorry to be a pedant, but it was actually down to disclosure made by independent individuals that the truth came to light. Had we waited for the freedom of information version, we would have only been slightly the wiser.

    I can't really believe this expenses thing is still rolling on. Yes it stirs my indignation, yes it is something of an indictment of the quality of person who goes into politics, but there are more important things to worry about. I'm of the opinion that if someone does a good job for me, then overcharges me a bit on the agreed price, I'd sooner have that than an honest cretin.

    I worry that by focussing so much on a bit of petty theft we are ignoring gross incompetence.

  • Comment number 81.

    #75 pensfold

    except that we now have a list of ex-mps, who now work for the BBC, admitting to be, "Not proud" of some of the expense claims they made under the regime, brought in by Thatcher in order to hide a pay rise to mps. It suggests that it had become common practice brought about by the fees office promoting the claims as a part of their wages.

    Quite clearly wrong but some are being made scapegoats.

    Does it not seem smelly, the fact that this came up through a tory supporting newspaper at a time when they hoped they might be in a position to challenge the Labour party at an election and most tory mps seem to have not claimed excessively, through the years of the enquiry?

  • Comment number 82.

    Seems like Illsley's was a safe Labour seat.

    I wonder who the party bosses will parachute in there for a lifetime's easy money?

    Bound to be some union leader with a favour to call in following Ed becoming leader

  • Comment number 83.

    63. fubar saunders.
    Yes very amusing to hear im slagging you off at every opportunity. In reality going back over the last 12 to 18 months you have been far far far far more prolific on here probably more than anyone else and also as the facts would show, jump on my posts at every opportunity. Infact i have even tried ignoring you several times but that didn’t stop you jumping on every word i wrote. By crying foul play it merely highlights the sound of the school bully having the tables turned. In regard to facts, I think quite clearly all the posts I have written today have been factual and a tad too truthful for your liking.

  • Comment number 84.

    welcome back eye-wish

  • Comment number 85.

    Blame@55

    Wouldn't that be the serving MPs, who through the Speaker and the Clerk of the Commons, were actually regulating themselves?

    ... a case of the lunatics running the asylum - hard to try to overcoming your gravy addiction when you are doing cold turkey ;-)

  • Comment number 86.

    81. At 4:12pm on 12 Jan 2011, eye-wish wrote:
    #75 pensfold

    except that we now have a list of ex-mps, who now work for the BBC, admitting to be, "Not proud" of some of the expense claims they made under the regime, brought in by Thatcher in order to hide a pay rise to mps. It suggests that it had become common practice brought about by the fees office promoting the claims as a part of their wages.

    Quite clearly wrong but some are being made scapegoats.

    Does it not seem smelly, the fact that this came up through a tory supporting newspaper at a time when they hoped they might be in a position to challenge the Labour party at an election and most tory mps seem to have not claimed excessively, through the years of the enquiry?


    --------

    The newspaper did not uncover the abuses, it was merely the one to publish them. If it hadn't, another paper would have. They were published in full, and have been examined in depth by everyone who has the inclination (Tory, Labour, Lib dem, Monster Raving Loony...)

    No need to imply conspiracy. The motives of the paper are first and foremost to sell more papers, you can hardly put this down to political motivation.

  • Comment number 87.

    79. At 4:08pm on 12 Jan 2011, corum-populo-2010 wrote:
    "Illsley on expenses: In his own words" is the title of Nick Robinson's blog.

    MPs., MEPs., earn a very good salary. In fact, many earn much more in addition to their tax-payer paid salary too.

    Why are we even allowing the most wealthy MPs., MEPs to claim the same allowances as those with no wealth or private income?


    ----------

    Different pay depending on whether people have their own money?

    Would you advocate this for all jobs? A window cleaner left a few thousand by him nan has to pay for his own petrol to get to his customer sites?

    Or perhaps we should consign this idea to the dustbin, where it belongs.

  • Comment number 88.

    For all those lefties trying to defend the BBC, using the argument that "hey, the BBC did say it was in his own words", your argument is spurious.

    Where's the balancing blog entry from Nick which has the judge/prosecutions' own words? Nowhere. The last 3 blogs on Nick's site have been 2 that try and paint the labour MPs as innocent victims, and one trying to paint a divide on europe in the tory party.

    Also, speaking of balance, why aren't any blog entries which mention the specifics of Jacqui Smiths' claims being allowed past moderation?

    Sorry, but your defence of the BBC's spin on this isn't really valid in my view; the spin is so blatently trying to take responsibility away from labour MPs that it's quite disgusting.

    If/when the BBC get onto tory MPs taking money on a later court case, then I'll bet you my house that Nick's blog and the BBC will be absolutely full of the prosecution's words, and the BBC will most likely continue to say that the expenses system itself was all the tories' fault.

    The BBC may not explicitly say "it's all the tories fault, these labour MPs were innocent victims of a nasty tory system led by bullying tory civil servants", but that's what their spin implies; when you read the BBC articles and see the news, that's the kind of feeling you get from it. They're not explicit, they're cleverer than that, instead they imply it with quite subtle structures in how they put their articles together.

  • Comment number 89.

    Eric Illsley's has brought shame upon himself and the same goes for David Chaytor. As politicians they face the added and highlighted public castigation as well as legally. Quite right too. But I have some sympathy for the way the system worked in regard to accepted back door salary enhancement. However maybe they shouldn’t be in politics for the money. As human beings they have their faults and I hope they will be able to serve their community positively again as they have done in the past and put this behind them.

  • Comment number 90.

    Nick, i'd like you to ask why it is that Mr Illsley's is facing a prison sentence for his "expenses" Then why is MP's like Hazel Blair allowed to stay in the house of commons when she "alledgedly" was flipping her constituency home's to make false claims to the commons expenses and remains in parliment? How can we as a country move forward when this is happening at the core of govenment? P.s keep up the good work Nick.



  • Comment number 91.

    81 - "Does it not seem smelly, the fact that this came up through a tory supporting newspaper at a time when they hoped they might be in a position to challenge the Labour party at an election and most tory mps seem to have not claimed excessively, through the years of the enquiry?"

    I'm not sure whether it could be said that tory MPs didn't claim excessively but certainly they didn't claim fraudulently.

    You find it suspicious that it wa a tory supporting newspaper that broke the story?

    Here's a thought. If Chaytor and Illsley hadn't committed fraud, the story wouldn't have had this ending. Hmmmmm....

  • Comment number 92.

    Nick, you missed this little corker from Illsley's letter.

    "The phrase “wholly and necessarily incurred for their work as a Member of Parliament” has also been used to describe allowances. This phrase is enshrined in taxation legislation and is used to describe expenses that can be claimed under Schedules of the Taxes Acts. The ACA was not taxable and so this phrase is really irrelevant in relation to this allowance"

    Un, not sure how to break it to our apparently dim-witted soon to be ex-MP, but the phrase "wholly and necessarily incurred" in the taxes acts is how you decide whether or not a sum received should be taxable or not. To say that the "Allowance isn't taxable so the test doesn't apply" misses the thundering point that unless the expense DOES pass that test then it IS taxable.

    Good grief.

  • Comment number 93.

    I don't know when journalists and political commentators are going to join the real world Nick.
    By having too close a relationship with people who are regarded by the 'ordinary working people',who pay public sector wages (including MP's), as criminal class(mostly justifiable), you are all out of touch and should realise how ridiculous you sound.

    Take the Guardian headline yesterday, this man was " Caught out by expenses". He was caught stealing taxpayers money fraudulently!

    As mentioned previously these expenses were solely for money spent which was incurred to discharge the duties of an M.P. whilst living away from home.

    The whole media machine needs a wake up call if they want to represent the views of the public as well as MP's.

  • Comment number 94.

    "WHEN WILL THE BBC START TO ASK WHY SO MANY LABOUR POLITICIANS DEFRAUDED THE COUNTRY?"

    ^ Yeah I know, there's, like, a MASSIVE conspiracy against the Tories within the BBC. Sorry, was I yawning when I said that? Never mind.

    My take on this story is:

    1) Call it an "allowance", call it "fraud"... whatever. A job in politics should not come with the perk of fattening oneself at the expense of the state. Illsley knew what he was doing, as did the rest of them.

    2) Speaking of which, what about the rest of them?? Two scapegoats so far... that can't be it, surely?

    3) Illsley... sounds like an unhealthy place to live, doesn't it? Just saying.

  • Comment number 95.

    Response to post 87 @ 4:40pm on 12 January - 'greatHayemaker'.

    Pat your own back for totally distorting and mis-representing my post for your own benefit?

    I'm just a poster, unpaid by anyone. What's your purpose?

  • Comment number 96.

    "89. At 4:59pm on 12 Jan 2011, lefty11 wrote:
    Eric Illsley's has brought shame upon himself and the same goes for David Chaytor. As politicians they face the added and highlighted public castigation as well as legally. Quite right too. But I have some sympathy for the way the system worked in regard to accepted back door salary enhancement."

    I'd asked the other day whether you had a fiscal limit to the level of tax cheating you were happy with. It seems that far from just a window cleaner accepting a bit of cash in hand, you have sympathy with people on a basic in excess of twice the national average being able to trouser tens of thousands of pounds tax free.

    And yet somehow you conclude that the legal tax avoidance my profession engages in is wrong.

    What an odd set of morals you have.

  • Comment number 97.

    AndyC555, Fubar... get a room guys, I mean, pur-lease! You both live in Belgium, right? A beautifully happy coincidence. That nation must be a magnet for a ring-wing tax advisors. I guess that's a good thing, no?

    PS. Lefty is winning: "fight, fight, fight!" ;-)

  • Comment number 98.

    #labourbankruptedusall 4.53

    Totally agree with your point. What you can do is use the complaints facility which the bbc provide and/or write or e-mail your MP and the appropriate minister, Mr Hunt (be more careful with the spelling of his name than pronounced on bbc radio recently).

    Bias is a very strongly felt subject on this blog.

  • Comment number 99.

    Andy C555

    " But why are you being so catty? Bad Christmas? Disappointed that the machinery of capitalism hasn't crumbled? Rejection letter from "Wishful Thinking Comfortably Middleclass Armchair Class Warrior" publications for your latest polemic on why capitalism is doomed? Or are you just grumpy because the long academic Christmas holidays are at last over?"

    Because you present such an obvious target,a temptation I should resist.
    As for capitalism,I suspect it will go on for some little time yet until its transformation is complete.My issue with most right wing bloggers is their out of date image of what contemporary capitalism actually is, in its economic,institutional,social and political structure.Unfortunately these views are shared by their leaders in parliament,hence their capacity for damage and the fury it will invoke when things go wrong.

    Biographical detail, zilch.

  • Comment number 100.

    "97. At 5:46pm on 12 Jan 2011, Skol303 wrote:
    AndyC555, Fubar... get a room guys, I mean, pur-lease! You both live in Belgium, right? A beautifully happy coincidence. That nation must be a magnet for a ring-wing tax advisors. I guess that's a good thing, no?"

    Well, Fubar isn't a tax advisor and I don't live in Belgium but other than that you seem to be doing quite well at picking things up.

    Before you get too confused, my name isn't really AndyC555.

 

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