MPs are still cavalier with our money despite expenses scandal

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No wonder some MPs are hell-bent on abolishing the Freedom of Information Act which allows the taxpaying public a glimpse of some of the questionable activities that go on behind the scenes in the Establishment.

This Act has just exposed the allegedly high living of Speaker John Bercow - at the taxpayers’ expense, of course. It demonstrates just why this legislation should remain where it is and why so many people at Westminster cannot wait to see it abolished.



It shows that the Speaker, who already lives in a palace, has spent thousands of pounds of our money on beeswax candles (for heaven’s sake!), piano tuning, photographs of the Speaker to be sent to his “fans” on request, and wining and dining on the grandest possible scale.

Would the man have purchased beeswax candles out of his own pocket? I simply pose the question.

Even the disgraceful expenses scandal of 2009 does not seem to have led to any abatement of the extravagant way in which some parliamentarians are so cavalier with our money.

Attempts to curb this greed since 2009 do not seem to have had the desired effect. The abolition of the Freedom of Information Act will make it all that much easier for MPs to continue abusing the system.

So one window which was opened to allow us to see what goes on, could well be smashed shut in our face.

So much for the concept of transparency.

• It gets more like Alice in Wonderland as each day passes. The latest barmy concession to the politically correct brigade is that half the police forces in Britain, apparently, are refusing to publish the identities of dangerous fugitives from the law, including some killers.

This, as you have probably guessed by now, is to protect their human rights to privacy.

Have you ever heard anything so lunatic?

The police are, rightly, forever appealing to the public to assist them in capturing these people who are evading justice. And often it is private citizens who can provide the vital information the police need.

But now, in the case of those forces which have adopted this policy, that will no longer be possible.

It simply beggars belief that such a policy should be adopted.

And, what is more, many of the people for whom human rights are claimed, are those who least deserve them .

• Is the National Health Service safe in anybody’s hands? Margaret Thatcher once famously promised that it was safe in her hands. And David Cameron has, in effect, echoed her words.

But the NHS, which should be Britain’s pride and joy, is now in a mess and it will take superhuman efforts to restore it to some kind of viable order.

The junior doctors’ strikes (with the threat of more to come) have delayed or even cancelled thousands of operations.

And some of the salaries and so-called golden handshakes at the highest echelons of the system, are an affront to the taxpaying public.

Throwing vast wads of cash at the system should work, but doesn’t seem to, as more and more demands are made upon it.

It is easier said than done to suggest that the NHS needs a complete overhaul.

However, many people remain full of praise for those doctors and nurses, and other front-line personnel, who respond so magnificently to the challenges they face.

• “I am not a tax expert”. That must rank as one of the most bizarre quotes of the year, since it was uttered by no less than Dame Lin Homer, chief executive of HM Revenue and Customs.

The mind boggles. I must say it doesn’t fill you full of confidence about the quality of the service.

Where do they find these people? I would imagine that even a third-rate firm of head-hunters would hesitate before recommending a person who makes a public admission like that to such a job.