Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml en-gb 30 Sat 04 Jul 2015 03:32:40 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml PMQuery http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=99#comment105 Would it be possible to get a representative from the Metropolitan Police to answer why it is that no criminal investigations have been commenced relating to the MP's expenses/allowances issue? It would appear that a number of parliamentarians have told lies to benefit financialy, through a misuse of public funds, and that would suggest a prima facia breech of the law. Thu 28 May 2009 10:06:19 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=98#comment104 I like "porposition". Porpoises don't have houses. :-)I'd hate to try to second-guess Kelly; I think that report may be more of a surprise than anyone would want if they were in the commons. Fri 15 May 2009 13:11:58 GMT+1 U12196018 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=97#comment103 porposition? What has happened to my Firefox spellchecker? Fri 15 May 2009 12:51:32 GMT+1 U12196018 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=96#comment102 Nah! I still think it's over-bueaucratic and trying to solve problems that don't need to exist. Just come up with an agreed figure to cover 'London Housing', give it to all qualifying MPs and let them sort it out themselves. I'll bet that when Kelly reports, the porposition will not be too far away from that. Fri 15 May 2009 12:41:59 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=95#comment101 Sorry: I meant the Crown Commission, the Royal Commission were a different mob. Fri 15 May 2009 10:45:40 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=94#comment100 TIH @ 99, I missed out a bit, which was that if there were a "stock" of available and suitable-for-MPs housing, and new MPs were offered a choice of that and only if none of it were suitable for their particular needs then they could find one for themselves, this would probably make it easier to move them in at the beginning of a new session of parliament: finding and buying a house can take six months to a year, and that would be a great waste of time they ought to be spending getting on with the job!It also occurs to me that if the housing-for-MPs stock were taken out of the hands of parliament (ie MPs) altogether, they would be less tempted to try to get unreasonable profit from it.It may seem a bit strange, but there is a body (or there used to be) that might be ideal for being in charge of and running the few hundred "grace and favour" MPs' houses-for-rent in London. It was called "The Royal Commission" and was in charge of the houses and properties that belonged to the Crown. Give them charge of the whole lot, including Downing Street, Chequers and any of the other houses ministers get: they must be used to dealing with this sort of thing, and it would prevent ministers from using expenses to do unnecessary things to those houses. Fri 15 May 2009 10:43:23 GMT+1 U13928940 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=93#comment99 Horse #99, there is a charge, but it is well below market rental rates. Working from the example of my sister and her family, they lived in Quarters for a number of years until they decided they had saved enough from my B-in-L's salary to be able to afford a really nice place in Norfolk on the posting before last. The only "benefit" they had from the MoD was that they didn't have to pay the rent of quarters anymore (small though it was).That's why I was proposing a very nominal rent charge in the scheme I suggested of around £50 a week. For this "rental fee" the MP would have no need to fill in paperwork for claims to do with the upkeep of the property (It would be the landlord's responsibility as per norm), there would be no question of Capital Gains tax having to be looked into when they leave, you could use spare accommodation not used by the MPS be used for key workers who are unable to afford properties in the area. By allowing MPs access to affordable accommodation should they wish it, it would allow MPs to opt for a position where they do not have to deal with a system that is generally perceived as flawed, and to reduce the time they have to spend on paperwork for allowances/expenses. It would also mean that the upkeep costs of MPs London homes could be kept under scrutiny by an independent authority who is responsible for it. After all, MPs don't want to have to spend their time dealing with plumbers, electrician, gasmen, etc. By renting a property that all becomes the responsibility of the landlord to arrange, pay for, etc. If this is done through the independent authority, then it is properly scrutinised, and workmen who are used can be properly vetted for security concerns. Fri 15 May 2009 09:24:07 GMT+1 U12196018 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=92#comment98 CG (98) - I would have no problem with those arrangements at at all. They pretty much mirror my own thinking. Jim's line of 'You live in one of our houses or you don't get any allowance for living in London' is neither workable not fair.Jim (97) - I ask this because I genuinely don't know the answer - Do Forces Families live totally free in their provided accommodation or is their some type of charge? Fri 15 May 2009 09:05:18 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=91#comment97 fJD @ 62, I don't remember having written any veiled insults aimed at you at all. I was very fed up with TRW earlier and said so, but that's not the same thing. Which of my posts did you take personally? I am genuinely interested to know.JM @ 63, I wasn't disagreeing with you: more taking the thing and exploring it a little further and in a slightly different direction.And TIH in lots of posts, what would be wrong with what was done when my revered Pa got a job with an American firm who wanted him based in London: they said "Find the house you want and if we think it's a reasonable price we'll buy it for you, then you rent it from us at a reasonable market rate and when you leave our employment we can sell it again"? That way, and MP gets the house or flat he feels necessary, and if he doesn't like any of the ones they already own he can have one he has chosen if it falls within the price-range deemed fair for his circumstances (so that covers adapting it for any disability); any profit made over the four or five years (or ten or thirty) that he is occupying it goes back into central funds when he leaves, or the house or flat does. If he wants to have a flat or house whose rent is way outside his housing allowance then he can pay the difference, but the price of the property itself is not part of his pay or of his housing allowance.(I am fed up with writing "his/her" and "s/he" all the time, and so I'm reverting to the old idea that "man" is a species with male and female persons in it and the masculine pronouns can jolly well be shorthand for both, there.) Thu 14 May 2009 20:32:50 GMT+1 U13928940 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=90#comment96 I'm making a case that MPs should be treated the same as all other peoiple who volunteer for public service. So, why *should* they be treated different, Horsey? Thu 14 May 2009 19:09:09 GMT+1 U12196018 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=89#comment95 Ah Jim, you're not answering my questions. You're just asking others. Thu 14 May 2009 19:05:45 GMT+1 Scousedwill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=88#comment94 An ode to Liverpool (to the tune of Let Glasgow Flourish by Hue & Cry) "In the second city of the Empire -*People really don't know what's goin onSeen pictures of our outgoing Lord MayorWonder who it is That takes his place.We've got lots of villains in our CouncilThat's not my opinion it's the Pair.**Can someone outside come and see us face to face.With all this talk of European ElectionsThis one might slip by. Remain unseen.But someones got to try and see our problems.Remember he was to be second to the queen."Liverpool Councillors are breathing a sigh of relief as we've got not Council elections this year but after all the Standards boards decision on our proposed mayor and leader. We shouldn't let this Municipal Year Change slip by. Thu 14 May 2009 18:50:18 GMT+1 U13928940 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=87#comment93 Why should you get the subsidy? Other Public Servants don't. See #92, Armed Forces personnel don't get the subsidy if they live off-base, so why should an MP? Thu 14 May 2009 18:32:54 GMT+1 U12196018 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=86#comment92 I don't want subsidised accommodation, I just want the equivalent subsidy. Why can't I have it and do my own thing? This is just nanny government! Why are your Quarters based on family circumstances? The elctorate didn't volte for a family as an MP - they voted for a single person. Why should a family get a bigger house than me? Why should I be penalised for being single. Thu 14 May 2009 18:24:55 GMT+1 U13928940 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=85#comment91 Horse #89, the houses would be a mixture in the same way that Quarters that are supplied to our Armed Forces Personnel. Dependent on the family circumstances, you are grouped into bands in which an appropriate type of house is available. Now, if this is good enough for the other servants of the public (Army, Navy, and RAF)who are putting their lives on the line on behalf of this country, then surely it is good enough for those who send them into harms way. Remember, if a person in th Armed Forces wants to live off base with their family, they don't get increased payfor the rent/mortgage. Why should an MP, when offered with a similar arrangement of heavily subsidised accommodation be paid more if they choose to reject it? Thu 14 May 2009 18:03:45 GMT+1 Lady_Sue http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=84#comment90 Horse, shouldn't you be looking for a stable? Thu 14 May 2009 17:26:00 GMT+1 Lady_Sue http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=83#comment89 (82) David, no sorry, basic error on your (not 'you are') part but I forgive you, being American and all. (87) fJd: why thankyou. Thu 14 May 2009 17:24:50 GMT+1 U12196018 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=83#comment88 Jim (76) - Are all your houses exactly the same? I'm single. Can I have a four bedroom one just like the MP with a wife and 3 kids? If not, why not? My mate in the next constituency is married and his wife has a disability. Will his house be specially adapted? Thu 14 May 2009 17:06:45 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=82#comment87 David,Arrrrg my head is starting to hurt! Thu 14 May 2009 16:58:51 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=81#comment86 Lady Sue,I found your (2) on this thread good. Thu 14 May 2009 16:55:51 GMT+1 David_McNickle http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=80#comment85 fJd, What was said Lord doing in de Nile? Thu 14 May 2009 16:54:20 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=79#comment84 Wow!, have you ever had a post just disappear when you came to post it?It just happened to me. Honest! Talk about parrots-noia?It was a rant about the Lord interviewed who seems to be in denial.I can't understand how on earth he could believe what he (and no doubt others) did can ever be seen as normal or acceptable in a proper democracy, rules or no rules!Perhaps, 'PROPER DEMOCRACY' is the operative phrase here? Thu 14 May 2009 16:52:38 GMT+1 David_McNickle http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=78#comment83 fJd 82, You trolling me? Huh, are you? ARE YOU ?! Huh, huh, huh? Need a taxi? Thu 14 May 2009 16:49:20 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=77#comment82 David (82)But not on this one?Sorry noia again. Thu 14 May 2009 16:45:53 GMT+1 David_McNickle http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=76#comment81 fJd 80, Yes, we are a pair of noids. '...on other threads you are most interesting and intelligent...' Thu 14 May 2009 16:42:36 GMT+1 Lady_Sue http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=75#comment80 Actually fJd, on other threads I have found your comments most interesting and intelligent - in particular about the MPs expenses scandal. Let's not fall out. Thu 14 May 2009 16:22:05 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=74#comment79 Lady Sue,Yes, your quite right, I'm must be paranoid. David, Shh. Thu 14 May 2009 16:19:18 GMT+1 Charlie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=73#comment78 In the midst of "Swine-Flu", Swines-in-Parliament (up to their snouts and trotters in the "trough"), it's easy to forget there are some marvellous people in this world. Consider this fellow for example:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1181535/Vet-saves-frog-ripped-apart-lawnmower-carrying-amazing-hop-eration.html Thu 14 May 2009 16:10:39 GMT+1 David_McNickle http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=72#comment77 fJd 72, Do Bantu speakers banter? Thu 14 May 2009 16:09:10 GMT+1 Lady_Sue http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=71#comment76 Cheers David. You are such a little ray of sunshine. (72) fJd: mine @67 says, "No veiled personal insults. You were not the intended recipient of the banter". That would be "banter" not "veiled personal insult". Keep digging... Thu 14 May 2009 16:06:00 GMT+1 U13928940 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=70#comment75 Horse #74, And to aid you in your duties, suitable accomodation was offered. Your choice to refuse it was exactly that: your choice. By choosing to decline the offer, it is on your back to organise your own accommodation. Note: I am NOT suggesting the Olympic Village approach. The scheme would offer a range of different houses scattered around the limits of standard London commuter routes (Tube, local Rail networks etc). You don't want any of them, that's your choice You can't say you were not offered it. Thu 14 May 2009 16:05:05 GMT+1 David_McNickle http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=69#comment74 L_S 68, OK, not insult, just try to boss around. Thu 14 May 2009 16:01:48 GMT+1 U12196018 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=68#comment73 Jim (70) - Nah. I'm an MP. I was elected by my constituents to represent them in Parliament. I'm not attending a boarding school. You're also discriminating against me. I'll see you in court. :o) Thu 14 May 2009 16:00:53 GMT+1 David_McNickle http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=67#comment72 fJd 69, 72, I'm not trolling you, but... Thu 14 May 2009 15:59:57 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=66#comment71 LS (67)Who was it aimed at then? No one in particular? Glad to know I'm not that important too. Thu 14 May 2009 15:55:11 GMT+1 Lady_Sue http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=66#comment70 fJd: Would you care to proffer an example of where I have used a 'veiled insult'. Dig away... Thu 14 May 2009 15:54:32 GMT+1 U13928940 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=65#comment69 Horse #65, then you do so out of your basic salary and any other income you may have. If you choose not to accept subsidised housing on offer, then you take the responsibility of finding and funding your own accommodation. Thu 14 May 2009 15:53:42 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=64#comment68 David (66)I think I might owe you an apology.I think I might be beginning to understand what you meant about being trolled buddy. I never use veiled insults, I don't expect it back. Thu 14 May 2009 15:52:29 GMT+1 Lady_Sue http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=63#comment67 (66) David: to say I "insult a lot of people" is just pure folly on your part. Thu 14 May 2009 15:51:54 GMT+1 Lady_Sue http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=62#comment66 (62) fJd: Not mine at 53 but I gather you have read yesterday's AM Glass Box response. No veiled personal insults. You were not the intended recipient of the banter, so apologies, you aren't "that important, in a kind of daft way" but not sure what you'll make of it. Thu 14 May 2009 15:50:26 GMT+1 David_McNickle http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=61#comment65 fJD 62, She insults lots of people, but not on 53. That's by Horseradish. Thu 14 May 2009 15:46:47 GMT+1 U12196018 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=60#comment64 OK Jim, I'm a newly elected MP. You are in charge of HMG's housing stock. I don't want to stay in any of your properties.I want to rent a property of my choice in London.The MP from my neighbouring constituency wants to buy a house in London.What happens next? Thu 14 May 2009 15:46:39 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=59#comment63 Darkdesign (49)Thanks, Appreciated. Thu 14 May 2009 15:45:41 GMT+1 U13928940 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=58#comment62 Chris_G (#61) I think we're in agreement on this. I certainly think that MPs renting accommodation from their employer on a fixed term contract (renewable if they are re-elected) is the way to go. That's basically what I was suggesting. Thu 14 May 2009 15:41:22 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=57#comment61 Lady Sue (53)Ive read your reply and further veiled personal insults by you and CG. Thank you v much. Glad to know I'm that important, in a kind of daft way. Thu 14 May 2009 15:35:55 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=56#comment60 Jim @ 56, if somebody wants to buy a property, that is his business. If he wants me to buy him a property, I'd say it was mine too.We ought also to bear in mind that London is one of the most expensive places in the country in which to buy a house, and that renting one from his/her employer for the duration of a limited-term job (especially since any MP is likely to have a perfectly good house somewhere else in the country in which s/he lived before being elected and to which s/he can return if s/he loses the next election) is something that it is entirely reasonable for an MP to be expected to do. Thu 14 May 2009 15:31:02 GMT+1 U12196018 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=55#comment59 Jim (56) - I think you're trying to solve problems that don't need to exist. Why on earth have contingincies for renting or buying? It doesn't matter whether MPs choose to rent or buy. It is totally irrelevant whether they use an allowance to service a mortgage or pay the rent. That should be their choice. It they buy a property and the boiler blows up, they pay for fixing it themselves. If they rent, the landlord foots the bill. Why make rules of MPs that don't apply for the rest of us. If they use their allowance to buy rather than rent and the house price goes up when they sell, good luck to them. If it falls, tough. That's what happens with everybody elseAs I say, I think you are solving needless problems. Thu 14 May 2009 15:29:34 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=54#comment58 TIH, 'way back up there: I have been given to understand that Christopher Kelly is determined not to be hustled into producing an incomplete and unsatisfactory report in a hurry, and will be producing one that really pulls the rug out some time in the autumn.I couldn't possibly say whether this will be closer to a general election or not...I think it was in #35 that you were pointing out that not all MPs are known to be on the make about their expenses, and that's a good point.Do we know what percentage of the 600+ have their snouts in the expenses trough, or has that not yet been made clear? We've been told on this blog about two or possibly three who don't and dozens who do, but is that fair as a proportion? Anyone got any figures? Thu 14 May 2009 15:23:46 GMT+1 Lady_Sue http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=53#comment57 I know I've missed the 10am deadline but... as this is the place to suggest stories we would like covered in this evening's PM: how has the young star from 'Slum Dog Millionaire' been made homeless? Surely he was paid enough for proper accommodation for his work in the film? Thu 14 May 2009 15:00:54 GMT+1 Lady_Sue http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=52#comment56 (53) Horse, your para one: they do at No. 10 and the White House, though I accept these are rather prestigious addresses. This is such a great opportunity for MPs to be given a good "shake up" - I hope positive results come from it. (fJd: I was away most of yesterday but have responded to your comments on yesterday's AM Glass Box.) Thu 14 May 2009 14:57:48 GMT+1 U13928940 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=51#comment55 TIH (53) I'm not saying that the MP for Oxford East is always given the same property, just that as X number of MPs lose their seat in an election, then there will be X number of open properties on HMGs books that are available for the incoming X number of MPs. I see the simplicity of your scheme is attractive. However, the amount that will need to be allocated per MP under it would have to allow for contingencies for any MP who chooses to buy a property rather than rent it (I'm assuming you are still allowing MPs to buy under the scheme). Imagine a case where a boiler breaks down. By removing the ownership of the property from the MP, you negate the issue of Capital Gains tax, MPs profiting from fluctuations in the property market, etc. If it is run under an independent MP letting agency, then the MP no longer has to submit claims for anything other than a few items occasionally, as the upkeep of the property is no longer their responsibility. If they choose to add to the property by decorating, getting more furniture, etc, that's entirely off their own bat. Thu 14 May 2009 14:52:06 GMT+1 The Stainless Steel Cat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=50#comment54 Horse (53):And no more choosing which home to designate as their 'second' home.Good point. I can't understand how that was allowed. Surely the first home *has* to be in their constituency. Isn't that a proviso for standing for an area, that you have to live there?Personally, I'm throwing my weight behind the single apartment building/Olympic Village for MPs idea. The only objection I had was that it might cut the MPs off from the public, but looking at most of these expense claims, they seem to already be in a different world to most of us. Thu 14 May 2009 14:49:56 GMT+1 U13928940 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=50#comment53 fJd (#51) Yep, sounds reasonable to me. I'd limit the second "home" to those who are outside the M25 who are not on straight commute-able routes. For instance, an MP for, say, Luton, should be able to commute in on the train like the rest of us. People in all walks of life work long and unusual hours and are able to commute into London. MPs shouldn't be that different. For those who are high profile where there are security implications, then these can be considered separately. Anyone who is not within commute-able access would then be allocated one of the HMG-owned properties within London. These can be close to Tube stations so they have easy access to travel in to the centre.As for the inspections for repair and maintenance, that takes care of itself, in a way, as it isn't the lessee (MPs in this case) who arranges for the work. Instead, it is for the Landlord (HMG) to arrange it, so there can be an independently run office that arranges for qualified & vetted workpersons to come in as required after being notified by the MP of a problem.You know what, fJd? I think between the pair of us, we could come up with a workable solution in a couple of days. It's all just common sense really. Thu 14 May 2009 14:44:29 GMT+1 U12196018 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=49#comment52 Jim (48) - I think your idea is a non-starter. Why on earth should an incoming MP want or be expected to 'inherit' the property occupied by the outgoing MP? Far too prescriptive.The solution is much, much simpler. If a second home is needed, and I maintain that for the majority of MPs it is, then settle on a figure for London-living. Each can claim it and make their own arrangements. If they can make arrangements that cost 20% less, then good for them for 'roughing' it. If they spend 200% more, then they fund the difference themselves. And they buy their own food, lightbulbs, manure and chandeliers and pay to fix their boilers themselves. And no more choosing which home to designate as their 'second' home. Thu 14 May 2009 14:38:35 GMT+1 darkdesign http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=48#comment51 It might have been my imagination, or the stress he was under, but Jon Sopel on News 24 sounded like he was about to slay and devour the Labour chief whip in the interview I just watched.Oh well, I can dream. Thu 14 May 2009 14:34:04 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=47#comment50 Jim (48)Good points,Yes, there will have to be a limits on how much can be spent. Checks would need to be made as well when an MP claims the fridge/boiler etc need repair or broken. At the end of tenure, an inspection could be made of 'public goods' in the property and either given to a furniture charity or for an appropriate remuneration to public funds the outgoing MP might want to take said items (or part thereof) with them. Thu 14 May 2009 14:32:10 GMT+1 U13879388 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=46#comment49 It's DESELECTION time.The next Parliamentary Labour Party could yet be worthy of government.With about 300 current MPs getting the Honourable Order of the Boot FROM THEIR LOCAL PARTIES.IF the Tories DONT deselect, they'll get crucified. Thu 14 May 2009 14:29:15 GMT+1 darkdesign http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=45#comment48 fjd@28. Yes, to everything you said. Just: yes. Thu 14 May 2009 14:28:57 GMT+1 U13928940 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=44#comment47 fJd #46, That sounds like a reasonable idea. After all, you want to have some say about the way your home looks. There would have to be some sort of limit on the individual accounts, so that a lone MP can't go above a certain amount when furnishing the place. It would also need a little thought about what to do for the times when an MP loses their seat. I know the incoming MP could then "inherit" the property, but what about the furniture etc? Would that need to be sold on second-hand when the new MP decides they want to do the Argos/Ikea run? Thu 14 May 2009 14:19:22 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=43#comment46 TIH,Its alright I got yer.I meant situations like, the MP who paid his son out of public funds when his son was at uni and doing nothing for the public. Yes he was disgraced and had the whip withdrawn? but, never faced any criminal charges? Thu 14 May 2009 14:18:40 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=42#comment45 Jim,Yes, I see your point. I understand about a central pool of furniture and white goods etc. I did think though how I might feel if I had to go live somewhere for five years and, also, entertain the family so to speak? Wouldn't you feel that you would like some say in the type/style of furniture you wanted? I don't mean the expensive stuff (they can bring/pay for that themselves if they like). Perhaps the parliamentary authorities could have modest accounts with a choice of retail outlets,( which might include Argos, IKEA etc),that an MP could go to for such things and then the retailer bill parliament rather than any monies going to the MP. I don't know? Just trying to inject some humanity about it, without the abuse we have now? This though is the kind of detail that needs to be gone into and decided on in my opinion. Thu 14 May 2009 14:13:02 GMT+1 The Stainless Steel Cat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=41#comment44 I know I'm too late saying this, but shouldn't someone be looking at why the National Audit Office - who are meant to be watching for misuses of public money - didn't pick up on these expense abuses earlier (if they have even now!).I know Private Eye spent a year or two pointing out that John Bourne, head of NAO, was very fond of dinner at expensive restaurants and international trips with his wife, all either on the public purse or funded by the people he was meant to be auditing.He's gone now, but shouldn't someone be scrutinising the NAO to see if they're "fit for purpose"? Thu 14 May 2009 14:07:48 GMT+1 Charlie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=40#comment43 Big Sister 37I wish it were "Good ridance..."I'd be far happier if Mr Cameron withdrew the party whip from the fellow. Self-serving fools should have no place whatsoever in public life.There are now, too many very good MP's, of all parties, being "smeared" by the antics of Mr Andrew Mackay and his like. Thu 14 May 2009 14:05:11 GMT+1 U12196018 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=39#comment42 Sorry, Big Sis. It's my age and failing eyesight! Thu 14 May 2009 13:58:21 GMT+1 U13928940 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=38#comment41 fJd(#34), TIH (#36); Hear Hear! Thu 14 May 2009 13:54:37 GMT+1 U13928940 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=37#comment40 fJd #38, I'm generally in agreement with you on this, I think. A second home, where appropriate, should allow for a person to perform the basic tasks of every-day life, such as cook a meal for themselves, do their washing, etc. There's no reason why such a scheme has to rely on the MP owning the property/furniture/white goods/TV, etc. If they're supplied from a central register of goods/properties, then we can increase the certainty that the taxpayer is getting value for money. It would reduce the paperwork burden on the MPs, as they would simply need to requisition what they need. Plus, if the property is rented by the MP (at a token rent of, say £50 pw) then they would not be liable for any upkeep costs. That would fall onto the Landlord (HMG) to fix, just as in the rest of the UK. If an MP wants to get something better than they can get from a central register, they're free to do so, of course, so those who want Satellite Sports coverage can pay for that if they so wish. Thu 14 May 2009 13:49:53 GMT+1 Big Sister http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=36#comment39 Um, Horse, [scratches head] I think you're confusing me with Joe. Thu 14 May 2009 13:47:51 GMT+1 U12196018 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=35#comment38 Big Sis - I don't think we need a law "that makes it a criminal offence for MPs to gain public funds fraudulently".It's there already. MPs are subject to the same laws as the rest of us. Thu 14 May 2009 13:42:41 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=34#comment37 THI (35)I agree with your assessment. I too believe that if a second home is needed, it should be somewhere a family can call home. Not a barracks. However, the need for a second home needs to be properly reviewed and only those who truly need them because of distance/disability get the allowance.I don't believe in raising MPs pay to compensate if the second home allowance is taken away. I don't see why MPs who do not need a second home should benefit from removing corruption from the system. No, I would like to see present systems completely overhauled, the rules completely tightened, so as to be no room for ambiguity and publicly transparent. I would perhaps like to see a law that makes it a criminal offence for MPs to gain public funds fraudulently, rather like fraudulent benefit claims. I would like one of the options if caught at fraud to be required to resign as an MP thus triggering a by-election. Thu 14 May 2009 13:38:45 GMT+1 Big Sister http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=33#comment36 Charlie: That figures. Good riddance to bad rubbish (or bad apple). Thu 14 May 2009 13:33:26 GMT+1 U12196018 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=33#comment35 TRW - If nobody has ever given a stuff about any of your driveling posts, what makes you think these latest ones are any different? Do you do it for therapy? Thu 14 May 2009 13:23:31 GMT+1 U12196018 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=32#comment34 fjd - Some of them undoubtedly are 'money grabbing expletives'. And some them are undoubtedly hypocrites. But I think there is a danger of over-reaction in some quarters. It would be a shame to label all politicians the same was just because some have been caught with their hands in the sweetie jar.Politicians in distant constituencies are of course entitled to some allowance to stay in London, to allow them to do their job. (And the idea that they should be housed in the Olympic village or some government owned bed-sit block is just so much fatuous nonsense).The real problem here is that successive governments, going back to Callaghan's and Thatcher's, have not had the guts to address MPs' pay properly, preferring instead to top-up their earnings by means of 'allowances'. Until a government is prepared to fully implement the recommendations of the review bodies that they set up, then the problem won't go away.And whilst I'm in mid-rant, I can't understand why Sir Christopher Kelly hasn't been turfed out of his position on the Committee on Standards in Public Life, and the job given to someone who can get the job done with a sense of urgency or at least issue interim guidance. Thu 14 May 2009 13:18:48 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=31#comment33 TRWtherealworldDear Mr World,Would like to come and visit K-Pax with me when I return. It won't be long now. Thu 14 May 2009 13:12:24 GMT+1 Charlie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=30#comment32 Big Sister 22 I met this now disgraced senior Tory MP on more than one occassion. When I lived in Ascot some years ago, this fellow (he then had a different wife) was "my" MP - Mrs Thatcher was PM. He was, and remains, in my opinion - and I told him this to his face - a sycophantic, ineffective, prissy, over-confident, conceited buffoon. I also added that I considered those to be his better attributes... He avoided me for some reason thereafter.To think this "Poltician" has held the posts of:Deputy Chief Whip; Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; Conservative Deputy Chairman with responsibility for candidates, and upon the election of David Cameron in November 2005 became a Senior Parliamentary & Political Adviser to the new Conservative leader.I wonder who the "original" rotten-apple in the Commons expenses barrel was..? Thu 14 May 2009 13:11:39 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=29#comment31 TRW, do belt up. Your posts have become so long they are a nuisance to scroll past. Thu 14 May 2009 13:01:15 GMT+1 U13879388 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=28#comment30 20, 21, 22,23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29.THIS ANGER ON THE PROGRAMME, PLEASE.ANGER. Thu 14 May 2009 12:58:55 GMT+1 U13879388 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=27#comment29 NOT suggestions.Not Stephanie Fly, on how its ok for MPs to be crooks 'cos he served time for credit card theft.How does that work, by the way?And really we should be talking about war and stuff.Ah, yes, his ringing call for Israel to withdraw from Gaza immediately.http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/yasmin-alibhai-brown/yasmin-alibhaibrown-where-is-the-media-outrage-over-gaza-1032227.htmlhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/06/israel-gaza-mediaVery useful letter, April 2008, though.http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/30/israelandthepalestiniansBut the terror war on Gaza later that year?Probably me. I'd like to see it. (I use a Linnux system after all)Dare not suggest which regular to this blog might know where it is.As for the barbaric Brutish wars in Iraq and Afghanistan do we really need him to tell us they are a total shameful disgrace. But Gaza, in which case Jewish ancestry (murdered in Auschwitz) may have special effect on Israel?What about EQUALITY Stephen, proper jobs for toff sixteen year olds (please write them a letter)?Can't find a word on that either.The link is that the MPs aren't taking any notice of the voters over the war or the need for equality. This one sticks it to THEM. Wars and Inequality, the destruction of socialism, they can do, no come back whatsover.The trick is to mix the attacks on the establishment. What we rely on Edgie for. That way this issue sparks the huge changes necessary. And Not Howard Davies.Modern History and Languages, a 10 month MS in Management at Stanford (including 'basic macroeconomics', but the rest management speak stuff (but one weedy probit model on decision making in the middle to factor in 'mathematical sophistication' for public cred purposes.))Then from PR front man to PR front man jobNon-exec directorships. CBI honcho.A Tory appointment at the BoE then a Blair (big on big business) appointment to the FSA.Now the LSE (No, the real LSE as director, a notorious conservative role - Dahrendorf, e.g.)And you ask him about the economy???What is the Bank's prediction for unemployment by April next year given its 4.5 percent SLUMP in output year on year by them?Does the 4.5 SLUMP include months even worse?A world without toffs (traditional and nouveau toff, both) and Tories? (Background is not enough, note David Davies)There, you're not short of topics tonite, are you, even with the NOTS.Do you want any more?If PoshMissusMac blogs in an idea (like hostels for MP which she did yonks ago) I'll repeat it for you. 'Cos she appears to get no cred. here or on the prog for her ideas.My posts get lots of attention, if a trifle repetitiously. Never mind.Keep 'em coming. Thu 14 May 2009 12:52:24 GMT+1 BLOGMAN58 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=26#comment28 We shouldn't forget that MP's expenses are tax free. Why don't we abolish expenses altogether and increase their salaries by £20-30,000. They would have to pay 40% tax on this plus increased NI contributions. I believe this would have 2 effects, 1, the tax system of this country would have a bigger impact on their income and 2, they would be much more careful how they spent our money. Thu 14 May 2009 12:40:13 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=25#comment27 The thing that makes me so angry, to the point of coming to despise the political system of MY country is;Day after day I'm seeing these people's faces on my TV/computer screen, their corruption laid bare, not one of them resigning out of shame or just because it might be the right thing to do. And all I can see in my mind is these same people being interviewed over benefits and welfare reform and how they deliberately advantaged themselves by plying up the stereotypical images of benefit cheats. (Single parents, we're closing in. You know somebody whose cheating there is a hot-line adds). Adverts deliberately designed to put the fear of God in you before your thought about that few bob on the side to make ends meet. I don't want to justify benefit cheating but, you know what, I'd be more willing to give the doubt to someone on welfare than this bunch of out of touch, cheesy grinned, greedy, money grabbing expletives. Because they are worse than benefit cheats in my opinion. They are Hypocrites! Thu 14 May 2009 12:16:11 GMT+1 Big Sister http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=24#comment26 Listening to Mr. MacKay's weak response just now. Can somebody please give me a basket of rotten tomatoes? Thu 14 May 2009 12:13:33 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=23#comment25 TIH (24)Because they afford themselves privileges the rest of us only dream about. Thu 14 May 2009 11:48:38 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=22#comment24 Big Sis (22+23)Come on, be reasonable. How on earth is an MP and MP with a combined basic income of 127,800 quid ever going to be able to pay for the kids private education and then university if this carries on?!Two Lords a leaping!Why on earth are they only looking into suspension?!?! Nothing decided yet?!They should be shamelessly thrown out and banned form holding public office for life. They accepted wadges of money for political influence. In any bodies book this is political corruption! Or was it within the rules? Thu 14 May 2009 11:45:22 GMT+1 U12196018 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=21#comment23 So Andrew Mackay has resigned as Cameron's parliamentary aide because of "an unacceptable situation that would not stand up to reasonable public scrutiny"But apparently it's still OK to be an MP though.I'll need that explained to me Thu 14 May 2009 11:42:29 GMT+1 Big Sister http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=20#comment22 Here's the linkhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5322961/Andrew-MacKay-resigns-over-unacceptable-claims-MPs-expenses.html Thu 14 May 2009 11:22:04 GMT+1 Big Sister http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=19#comment21 How can Andrew MacKay and Julie Kilbride have possibly thought it was okay for them both to make second home claims when they are married to each other?Unless they are legally separated, and whether or not this was 'within the rules', they were clearly operating in a manner that was designed to make a lot of money at the taxpayer's expense.From the Telegraph website:"Mr Mackay told his local newspaper as recently as Wednesday that he was confident there was "nothing unreasonable" in his claims"and I gather this has been their arrangement for 8 or 9 years. This means that they (he and his wife) have gained over 100k from mortgage interest payments through this contortion of the second homes allowance - and this without all the other expenses he and his wife may have claimed. His wife, meanwhile, has been claiming over 900 pounds per month on their main home.Excuse me while i throw up. Thu 14 May 2009 11:20:58 GMT+1 Big Sister http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=18#comment20 Can you suggest somewhere, Sid? Thu 14 May 2009 11:09:57 GMT+1 Sindy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=17#comment19 I see two Labour peers are to be suspended from the House of Lords. It doesn't say which bit they're to be suspended from ... Thu 14 May 2009 11:09:27 GMT+1 Big Sister http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=16#comment18 Five in a row = Nul points? Thu 14 May 2009 11:09:21 GMT+1 Big Sister http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=16#comment17 BINGO! Thu 14 May 2009 11:08:49 GMT+1 Lady_Sue http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=15#comment16 Chris and Horse: I don't think he can be entirely well. Thu 14 May 2009 10:45:13 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=14#comment15 It goes,A DA DA DA A DO DO DOTHATS ALL IVE GOT TO SAY TO YOU. Thu 14 May 2009 10:38:42 GMT+1 U12196018 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=13#comment14 TRW (11) - Why are you sitting there with your head in a bag mumbling to yourself? Thu 14 May 2009 10:28:39 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=12#comment13 TRW @ 11, perhaps they hid the AM glass box in the hope that if it were slightly harder to find, it wouldn't get filled upp with irrelevant garbage too quickly.Pity they were wrong, but I give them marks for trying. Thu 14 May 2009 10:21:51 GMT+1 darkdesign http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=11#comment12 I fear these continual revelations about MP's 'expenses' claims are affecting my blood pressure. Do I have a good case for compensation for damage to my health?I try to achieve emotional release by shouting at the telly or radio, but the human voice can only scream so much before the gain starts to diminish. Thu 14 May 2009 10:12:50 GMT+1 craigalexanderbanker http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=10#comment11 This post has been Removed Thu 14 May 2009 10:03:44 GMT+1 U13879388 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=9#comment10 Ah, the AM Glass Box hidden behind two trivia threads.Suggestion. Save the trivia till after 10 am. So AM-GB is top thread till then.Hope. That this burying isn't the usual pattern at PM-iPm and associated blogs. Eventually the only thing taken seriously is Mare's edgie sense of ...thingy..'Course there IS a problem. The MPs come on as idiots and liars. The economic 'analysis' is garbage, What do we DO about it?****Cleggy made a good suggestion yesterday. Keep MPs out of the buying and selling of houses.Why not the rest of us?Universities, public schools etc, give tied accommodation (some of it very pleasant. Check out the housing estates for a few such places)The police lived in police houses. Why not staff estates at hospitals, the BBC etc (I don't mean hostels)Why have a private sector in housing at all? At 100 per cent public, mobility would be at least what the private sector could ever offer. Certainly from now on.There'd be a huge volume of spare accommodation released and re-allocations, on a need the place, basis.Port Sunlight, the one on the left, just north of Ealing on the North Circular, going out of London (just over the little bridge bottleneck, opposite the garage), Cadburies estates, the one something like it at Longbridge (?), etc, etc Why ever not?Local authority developments on the coast for retirees would be good. With support-worker villages.Anyway, the public school educated toffs would enjoy the community atmosphere on the estates tied to factories and big infrastructure installations. (Don't they at their nuclear power stations or in their officer quarters in the better regiments? Try buying a house there - even for real money). They wouldn't lose the countryside where their hideaways are now. There'd be coach trips for them to see thatch. Every week if they want. **** Its not Lenin's question, What is to be done? The tasks have never been clearer. HOW?!?!?! is the quessie. Well, there's a General Election coming up (a year or so away) and some serious horse trading on the left might help a little.PS Cleggy a crypto-socialist? I know sid snot. But the Leader?!?! Thu 14 May 2009 09:47:20 GMT+1 Lady_Sue http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=8#comment9 I know I've missed the 10am target but may I request Becky's report on peat bogs? Thu 14 May 2009 09:43:16 GMT+1 Big Sister http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=7#comment8 Eddie: I'm finding all the Paddy threads confusing now and completely overlooked today's Glass Box as a result. Is there a way of overcoming this?What do others think?And, of course, I wouldn't want to do away with Paddy (though, possibly, could live without Eurovision). Thu 14 May 2009 09:22:38 GMT+1 Richard_SM http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=6#comment7 That's probably a 'Freudian' typo in my last post. Gary does such a good job presenting the football - he should receive some sort of honour! Thu 14 May 2009 09:17:04 GMT+1 Richard_SM http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/05/the_am_glass_box_8.shtml?page=5#comment6 Decisions. Decisions.Do I go to the Palestine Demonstration in London on Saturday?Or go to protest about the slaughter in Sri Lanaka?Or spend the day writing letters to MP's pointing out other people who've 'over-claimed' don't get the opportunity to decide which parts they'll pay back. They get prosecuted or dismissed - or both.Would it make a difference which party I vote for on these issues???Choices. Choices. Thu 14 May 2009 09:01:44 GMT+1