British Politics’s Blog

The ravings of an individual, UK voter frustrated with our politicians

Jacqui Smith, it time to resign

with 12 comments

I am not normally one for calling for an MP’s resignation, albeit I am sure I, like many others would consider that there are a good number that should do so voluntarily. That said, I am of the opinion that Jacqui Smith needs to go and soon, not because of a single misdemeanour, but a series.

The bottom line is Jacqui Smith is not very good at their job. She is the first to try and manipulate the press and public opinion with elements of “good” news from reports, whilst blatantly ignoring those aspects which are critical or not self-serving, either for her or the government. Fair play some might say, but ministers must be judged on what they add, not what they claim.  Further, Jacqui Smith is something of a puppet, if the police want something, she believes that by giving it to them, she is helping the public, because the police only want to fight crime etc., this is utter rubbish. The police want more powers to intrude, monitor and spy of ordinary citizens and Jacqui Smith is seen as a soft touch. As a consequence the people of this country have seen a massive erosion of their civil liberties, right to privacy and freedoms.

My issue with Jacqui Smith is the utter and barely concealed contempt she has for the public at large, not just in terms of her actions is respect of her ministerial responsibilities at the Home Office, but also, her actions in respect of maximising her personal finances via the public purse. Whilst Jacqui Smith may be able to claim that she has operated “within the rules“, to quote one of her colleagues, “in the court of public opinion“, her expense claims are not acceptable in the least.

First she claims up to £24,000 per year because she says that her main residence is the room at her sisters house in London, not Redditch where her husband lives and her children reside and go to school. There is little or no credibility in this explanation. Then she claims for electrical goods, which includes two washing machines, why does she need two washing machines? Why should she feel the need to claim for two flat screen TV’s, what is wrong with one, why do they have to be flat screen? £550 for a kitchen sink….£1,000 for an antique fireplace, are these truly essentials, I think not. In the old days, expenses were referred to as “out of pocket expenses“, for an MP, they are nothing of the sort, instead they are used as a method of supplementing salaries.

What I find difficult to believe is that Jacqui Smith seriously expects the public to believe that she did not know that her claim of £69 per month was only for the internet and nothing else. It would suggest that she is both out of touch with the real costs we face everyday and implies that her attention to detail is very badly and sadly lacking. For a Minister in charge of the Home Office and therefore our security this is a very real worry. Moreover, someone that claims to operate within the rules whilst ignoring the spirit of the arrangement is, at least in my opinion, lacking judgement and credibility. If Smith was doing a good job, perhaps the public would be more forgiving, but she is utterly useless. The only consolation is that most of her fellow ministers are as inept, therefore she fits in well, but that doesn’t make it any better. She will survive, but only because Gordon Brown know that the by supporting her he can benefit from undying loyalty and that having a cabinet full of incompetents makes him look better.

I am further angered at the way that Gordon Brown has insisted that there should be a review of MP’s expenses, yet it cannot start until the end of the summer recess and has no need to report until after the next election. Once again, we are all being taken for fools, it simply does not take that long to review MP’s expenses. The bottom line is expenses can and must only cover ‘out of pocket’ expenses, they can and should be based on those in the private sector and second home allowances must stop. MP’s can be provided with an overnight allowance for when they are in London on parliamentary business, but his should be weighted based on private sector allowances for accommodation and food.

The review of expenses ought to be carried out by a firm of accountants and the brief include a requirement that they revise them to fall in line with the private sector. I reckon it will take about 2 weeks, but of course, we know that these self-serving MP’s are going to insist that they receive a salary increase in place of any ‘sacrifice’ they make on expenses. They also know that they will then get a doubly whammy, because a higher salary means a better pension, all funded by us. For a government so focused on targets, why don’t they pay themselves performance and results based rewards? Simple, not one of them would earn the bonus, they know it and we know it!

If MP’s don’t like the terms or rewards of a parliamentary career, then they must resign and make way for others that do. One thing is for certain, based on the rank incompetence demonstrated by the majority of our MP’s we shall be no worse off and in all likelihood, we will end up with real people that represent the interests of the public at large, not just themselves. It is time for change.

Anyone that is angered by the information contained in this post may also like to be aware that there is a new Bill going through parliament which seeks to provide MP’s and all other public servants with what amounts to an immunity from prosecution (civil and criminal) with a legal definition of the term ‘reasonable discretion’. You can find out more here: Bill to Exercise Reasonable Discretion

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12 Responses

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  1. It’s amazing that luxury items such as flat screen TVs, luxury fireplaces and kitchen sinks can be added to parliamentary expense bills?!?! Where did you get this information – it sounds unbelievable.

    Learned Fool

    30 March, 2009 at 1:13 pm

  2. […] should be funding is now available for you to check out – or will be soon. And, thanks to the juicy revelations of poor Jacqui Smith’s records – and the huge amounts of dubious claims already being […]

  3. […] evidence, if any more was needed, that MP’s are completely removed from reality. We have Jacqui Smith claiming for two washing machines, whilst everyone else has to make do with one and now, Geoff Hoon […]

  4. I would like the media to go and film each of the constituencies of Smith, Hoon, Brown, Blears etc etc, and to do the same with the Tories. It should also be that the expenses etc of each MP lodged with their constituencies and should the same constituencies not agree with the ethics and integrity of said MPs, they should be told to ‘buck up, or resign forthwith’!
    THIS is what happens in the real!

    Jean

    7 April, 2009 at 3:44 pm

  5. @ Jean~ An excellent idea, lets hope one of them reads your suggestion.

    British Politics

    7 April, 2009 at 4:18 pm

  6. I feel very strongly that to vote at the next General Election we are ‘agreeing’ to more of what we are already despising! If lots and lots of people go to the Polling Station – MPs cannot say we are ‘apathetic’! – and write across the ballot papers ‘do not trust any of the political parties’ THEN they (MPs etc) can suffer a little as we are forced to! Why vote for THE BEST OF THE WORST! I did this in 1997! The betrayal of NULabour is stunning! What has happened I would have expected from the Tories! Only answer seems to be DO NOT VOTE FOR MORE OF THE GREEDY, MORALLY BANKRUPT POLITICIANS!

    Jean

    12 April, 2009 at 8:19 pm

  7. @ Jean: You make a good point. Personally I would like every MP that has had their nose in the trough to agree not to seek re-election, that way we get the opportunity to vote in new faces. Further, I would like to see the internet used more so that we can have a REAL say in what happens, not end up voting on a manifesto none of us agree with.

    I would also like to know where the public signed up to Big Brother Britain surveillance databases, cameras etc. Also, when did we agree that MP’s and other public servants could have immunity from prosecution (civil and criminal) for their actions.
    http://www.power-to-the-people.co.uk/2009/04/mps-seek-immunity-prosecution/

    British Politics

    13 April, 2009 at 2:55 pm

  8. I work in health in the community. I have not yet met ANYONE who even quite likes Gordon Brown! I have even tried to say he is really quite a nice decent chap and is caught up in this ‘global thing’ as he says….. none so far will have this baloney! I bet he will be given a ‘Blair-type’ job by the very bankers he has so-called berrated, after next year’s election! Underneath all the ‘NL speak’, he has not actually changed anything! We need more anger…. much more anger….. then both Houses will get the message!

    Jean

    15 April, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    • @ Jean: They all have their snouts in the trough and I agree, they will not volounteer to give up their right to seek re-election, but people power can work. I am not sure it is by not voting at all, even though I have suggested that myself in the past, but maybe we need to consider other forms of civil disobedience. There just has to be a way in which the people of this country can not just be heard, but be listened to!

      British Politics

      16 April, 2009 at 10:16 am

  9. Your suggestions on MPs in the trough not seeking re-election is just not going to happen! Would you with their life-style and mentality give up so much? No… the only way is to FORCE THEM OUT! They will tell us that reviews, white, green papers, and all the rest of their promises are exactly what they have been doing for years and years…. now, the people are ‘wising up’ but when the ‘speaker Michael Martin’ who has so much power, and GB defends the indefensible of his cabinet, and GB also has nose in trough, they will not give up their power nor their lifestyle so easily! DO NOT VOTE!

    Jean

    15 April, 2009 at 9:34 pm

  10. I really would like to agree with your sentiments but NL in 97 had already started to squat on people…. look at the pensions farce! Most CCTV cameras in Europe and yet this has not stopped crime has it? Thatcher won the police on her side with monies during the big strike….. NL have followed! I have never been in trouble with the police or authorities on any level….. yet I would not help the police in anyway! ONLY if someone was seriously harmed or killed! What an endictment of Britain today! There is little to no justice in the UK….. if you are lucky it is the ‘law of the land’ but in most cases there just is not justice.

    Police who are ‘caught’ be it driving carelessly usually are given a desk job or suspended on ‘garden leave’ until furore blows over! The same happens with doctors and GPs. When the media gets hold of a story….. these same folk complain about the media intrusion! As bad as the media may be, without them we, the people’ would know even less about the elite’s shennanigans! TV ads about benefit fraudsters will be caught and COULD go to prison! That is a laugh! The prison system is a revolving door system! Life sentences do not really exist…. 4 years if they are lucky for killing some poor innocent sod!

    The trouble is we the people are led to believe that there really is nothing we can do about our society….. logically….. to vote for any party is agreeing to more of what we throughly dislike. Not to vote people think they are not actually ‘doing anything to change the system’ but that is just not true! A government of some kind will get in to power but….. the majority will be so very low they will not be able to trounce the public with their spin and yarns. I do not like neither the idea of not voting…. after all women gave their lives for us to vote but what would these same women do today under the circumstances we find ourselves in? The idea that things can be changed once INSIDE an institution has been tried and does not work. Ask LibDem Norman Baker about this?

    These sleazy MPs actually got rid of Elizabeth Filkin, before John Lyon and another before him because she would not play ball with the MPs expenses etc! Try emailing some MPs and most do not even bother to reply! They have little else but contempt for the public. Their ‘speak’ is ‘white man speaks with false tongue!’ I have become quite cynical over the past 4-5 years and truly do not like what I feel about British politics today. If there is another way around all this, I would love to hear from others.

    Jean

    16 April, 2009 at 3:53 pm


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