Friday, March 27, 2009

Did you see Eric in a Pickle?

I didn't get back to the flat last night until 11.15 pm and then I broke a rule by watching politics on tv - I get enough through the day so I try to avoid it in the evening. But somehow I managed to catch the last few minutes of Question Time and the remarkable grave digging demonstration by Eric Pickles. For someone touted by the Tories as the "Great Organiser", his performance seemed to fall well short of what would be expected of one normally used to Conservative adoration. He argued that somehow the situation had degenerated into "hang an MP week." With Eric Pickles I think it was a case of give him enough rope and he'll hang himself.

The defence so far offered by the likes of Pickles, Smith and McNulty is rather Nurembergesque - "I was only following the rules."

Hopefully the review will do something to tighten up all of this, especially when the tax payer is currently subsidising what is the home of relatives of MPs. But I guess we had better not hold our breathe on that. The last time there were demands for reform, led by Nick Clegg, the proposals were torpedoed.

And finally, speaking as someone who has to live in two different places because of my job - Gateshead and London - I can speak from experience on running two homes (and I don't get a taxpayers' subsidy either!). I find the idea of monthly housing costs running at £2000, the maximum that can be claimed, rather challenging. Whilst there are clearly extra costs in the early years of owning a house (and a second one), £24000 a year seems way in excess of anything that is reasonable. If the additional cost allowance is to continue, perhaps there is a need for it to be tappered. London may be expensive, but it is certainly not that expensive.

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1 comment:

Andrea Cave said...

And the internet site Wikipedia wasted no time in getting Pickled Onion's Quesion Time embarrassment onto their site under his name.