Not long after I introduced Victor Meldrew's Brother to the blogosphere I accepted an invitation by the Guido Fawkes Blog to visit 'They Work for You' a site which details MPs expenses. As a bit of fun I extracted the worst of the 'troughers' and by calculating the expense claims against the distance from their constituency I came up with some of the worst excesses. This is an extract of what I wrote on 21 March 2008:-
Obviously the most expensive MPs generally lived in the wilds of northern Scotland and bearing in mind that they already have their own parliament in Edinburgh it does seem to be an expensive indulgence. One name did appear in the top ten however, who did not represent a constituency north of Glasgow. Phil Woollas (Lab) (218 miles from London)was claiming as if he represented a Highland constituency. Over £10000 for railfare, almost £6000 for car travel and over £7000 for air travel all this to get to Oldham for heaven's sake! His trips according to my little calculation worked out at £1.07 per mile. He stands out like a sore thumb at the top of the heap and I didn't expect to find anyone worse but hang on a mo.
Over at Doncaster (181 miles) I came across Rosie Winterton (Lab) who worked out at £1.28 per mile. She claimed almost a grand more than Charlie Kennedy and he represents Skye! There were other rather expensive MPs like Angela Browning a Tory from (Tiverton and Honiton), John Grogan Lab (Selby) and Alan Meale (Mansfield) but they paled into insignificance when I tumbled across Robert Wilson Con from Reading East (41 miles)who claimed £16900 and became the first MP to cost us over £4 a mile!
Surely he had to be the limit but my goodness no he wasn't because down at Croydon(11 miles)resides Richard Ottaway (Con) and it cost the public purse £13270 to transport him to and fro from Croydon which works out at £6.03 per mile. Now just possibly he travels every day but most of us pay for that ourselves. I have never been able to claim my fares to get to and from work on a daily basis.
I can already hear you thinking that nobody could get worse than that but then I nearly fell off my chair! The MP from Hampstead (5 miles) claimed travel expenses of...wait for it...£12266 which works out at £24.53 per mile!! So I award the title of SOW OF THE YEAR to Glenda Jackson (Lab). Nice one Glenda!
It would not be fair to ignore some of the better snouts like David Taylor Con (NW Leics)£1.45, Malcolm Moss Con (NE Cambs) £2.18, Mike O'Brien Lab (N Warwicks) £1.47and Paul Clarke Lab (Gillingham) the PPS to Ed Balls who clocked up a whopping £4.10 per mile!
Bearing in mind the revelations in the press this morning about the huge and monstrously extravagant claims by many MPs there will have to be a major investigation into the mass fraud that these parliamentarians have committed. If we are to ever again hold our heads up high to the world at large then this must be done.
The unacceptable truthis that it was there for all to see and yet the mainstream media (with a few individual exceptions) refused to expose it. It appears that we now have a country that is endemically mired in corruption. We desperately need to find decent and honest men and women so it will be just as important to name those who have not been corrupted by the system.