We are all loving our politicians here in Britain at the moment.
Politics has been really boring in the newspapers with all that financial stuff and, let’s be honest, we just don’t understand it but that has all been changed by our Members of Parliament who have taken serious things out of the news again.
They are filling the papers with what they do best – scandals, fiddles and vanity.
They are such good value when we are all getting fed up with politics; they take our minds off it with their outrageous, self-centred behaviour.
The amazing thing is that they can manage to get up to all these tricks and yet remain such overwhelmingly dull people.
You would never believe that they were capable of any double dealing if you met one of them. In fact, after less than a minute, you are left looking at your watch and hoping that something more interesting would happen or someone exciting might come into the room, you know, someone like the man from the Inland Revenue.
It shows you how dull politicians are when their expense forms make headline news.
We have all loved those claims for clearing moats, renovating tennis courts, swimming pool maintenance and the infamous so-called “Second Home flipping” where they change the definition of whether their second home is the country estate or the Westminster flat, depending on whether it is up for redecoration or capital gains tax.
It has been a perfect opportunity to see just what “goodie-two-shoes” our party leaders are too.
I suppose we have always known that Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg (who he? – the Liberal Democrat leader, silly) are dull but now we know that they are just as we thought: those boys at school who always did their homework on time, never joined in things ‘cos it was naughty and who always polished their shoes and had hobbies like stamp collecting.
This week, all three of them have been in top form. Apparently, they have done very little wrong. Some house cleaning bills Gordon shared with his brother, a PR man, some Wisteria pruning that David got done on the quiet at his stately home, and I don’t remember what Nick did, if anything. Who is Nick Clegg again?
They have been telling off their party MPs.
Not only have they said they mustn’t do things that are naughty but if they do and don’t say they are sorry, Gordon, David and Nick wont talk to them any more.
All of this trouble comes back to money of course.
Don’t we just love that too? We just can’t get enough of it.
Well, David Cameron doesn’t need to worry about it. Like many of his fellow Conservatives he is already stinky rich and Gordon Brown gets more than a fair whack in his job as our Prime Minister. I don’t know what Nick Clegg gets – and, if I did, I have forgotten.
There are loads of arguments about how much they should be paid, these MPs. It is a tough life apparently with very long hours sitting at their desks answering letters, chatting on the phone, the odd visit into the “Chamber” to cast their vote, usually the way they have been told to, and then all those hours in the “tea rooms” bitching about each other.
Every now and then, they have to slum it in their constituencies meeting illegal immigrants and local obsessives but not really doing anything to help. Local councils do that. They are really there, like mini members of the Royal Family, to open a few fetes and share a few drinks but then they can’t wait to get back to “the club” in Westminster.
To do all this they need two homes and with two houses, they need two mortgages, two lots of mortgage interest rates, which we pay for, and lots of extra furniture, which we pay for too. So it goes on but I am not sure where the swimming pools and tennis courts fit in, or the wisteria for that matter. They claim back everything they can and when they “retire” from politics, they sell one of the properties and make a big profit.
So David Cameron, for example, who is very rich remember, can buy a very big and expensive second home, as opposed to renting a small flat, and then claim back loads of money for his mortgage interest. If he ever “retires” he will pocket the profit but not pay back the taxpayers’ money.
Apparently politicians need a lot of money otherwise we wouldn’t be able to attract people of such high calibre into politics. They would all end up in business like such high calibre folk as (Sir) Fred Goodwin, the failed head of the Royal Bank of Scotland. I think we know what loads of money does for people, well if they weren’t bastards in the first place.
How much money do people need? These men and women of high principle who are only working for the public good and who are struggling, on our behalf, to make a better World? More than you would think and more than they want us to know.
I had reason to visit a recently retired Anglican bishop some time ago. I won’t name him but let’s just say that he was one of the most senior bishops in the country, a regular name in all the newspapers for his controversial views and influence.
I had previously seen this man, in one of our grandest Cathedrals, dressed magnificently as a Prince of the Church, addressing a congregation of thousands. It was a surprize to me, in my naivety no doubt, that, in retirement he lived in a small bungalow in an ordinary suburb. It was all he owned and, by the look of him, all he desired.
I know that the Church of England is no longer a power in the land but, just as an example, surely, this bishop showed what politicians should believe. Their “calling” should be their reason for seeking election, not just because they can make a good living, just as good as any other job in industry.
They don’t have to be St. Francis of Assisi, who stripped off his clothes to give to a beggar – too many of our MPs strip off for other reasons, but they should either practise what they preach or, impossibly, I know, just tell us the truth: we are only in politics for what we can get out of it.
By that they mean money, power, status and an easy time.
Maybe the loathsome Italian Prime Minister has a point. If MPs are just dull money grabbing self-seekers, then we should go for candidates who are at the very least “eye candy.”
Silvio Berlusconi, allegedly, wants to fill the European Parliament with showgirls and models. Now their expenses would make exciting reading and they would be so much easier to vote for.A good idea for a new reality TV show: Second Home Flippers….mmmm sexy!