Have just watched the bit of Question Time last night where Tory chairman Eric Pickles got a deserved roasting over his expense claims:
Audience Member: “Do you think Fred Goodwin should give some of his pension back Eric?”
Eric Pickles: “Yeah, I do.”
Audience Member: “Right – that’s because he’s behaved immorally, unreasonably perhaps. But he’s played within the rules! Don’t you think that’s a bit hypocritical?”
Eric Pickles: “I had my flat – I bought my flat when we regularly sitting until two in the morning. I bought my flat when we did that. I bought that flat because it turned out –“
[Audience member: “sell it!”]
Eric Pickles: “OK well I’ll sell it. Of course I could sell it. I am never going to be able to satisfy you folks, at all, because I am an MP and therefore guilty.”
Pickles is right about MPs being guilty – they are almost all at it. Why should taxpayers pay him tens of thousands extra just because he doesn’t want a 37 mile commute? He claims he has to get up at 5.30 a.m. to be in the office for 9.30 a.m. – anyone would think he was cycling from Brentwood to Westminster it took him so long. It takes 80 minutes according to National Rail, less by car.
Many years ago when Guido slaved away in a City bond dealing room he used to be in the office for 6 a.m., often leaving after the close of the U.S. markets at 9 p.m. at night. Many of Guido’s co-workers were Essex boys who lived in the far wilds in places like Brentwood and had to commute further than 37 miles every day. It is just not on to expect the taxpayers to subsidise MP’s lazy piggy ways.