Parliament's Climate of Fraud

Years ago I worked for several well known businesses. Before that I worked for a large Government Department on contract. I submitted expense claims that probably amounted to well over a hundred contracts. Not once did I cheat. Read that again. Not once did I cheat. The majority of the claims were for black cabs, for which, in those days, we did not have to produce receipts. You simply sent in your bill and your cab fare. As far as I know, nobody else cheated either. I guess you might say I was old-fashioned, but the idea of cheating the tax-payer was well off the agenda. I could have doubled my income had I done so, and believe me, I had plenty of reason to do it.

What did not exist, in that department, in those days, was an ethos of fraud.

A couple of decades later I was unfortunate enough to work for a railway company. The situation was quite the reverse. Almost everybody stole from the company, including my boss, who departed, with a clean sheet, when he was eventually found out. Almost on day one I was advised on how to steal from the system.

So, there does not have to be a climate of fraud in any corporation. The extent to which it occurs is premised on whether those in charge will do anything about it, and of course, if everybody is at it, those who choose to be honest can get a rough ride. I reported a colleague who tried to get me to steal, during my first week there. He was "questioned" by my corrupt boss and eventually moved with a promotion. I would probably have kept quiet, but I was pressured to defraud and that was a bridge too far.

Well, if I can do it, how come our MPs cannot? It is clear there was a climate of laxity at best, and at worst, an encouragement to steal. Theft is for people who are weak, for people who are essentially sociopathic. So it is all the more worrying that our Parliament was complicit in mass fraud, and it took a newspaper to reveal it and get something done.

Today we see the jailing of a former Labour Minister. The judge's summing up is damning:

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Saunders said Morley was guilty of "blatant dishonesty" and had "thrown away his good name and character."

He said: "I am satisfied from the nature of the mortgage transactions and the correspondence that the excessive claims were made deliberately and are not explicable even in part by oversight."(Telegraph)

Elliot Morley simply failed to apply normal standards of morality to his job. What is much worse is that there are still many who, for reasons that are inexplicable, have not been arrested and charged, most of them are Labour. It is clear that the Labour goverment had 13 years to address this issue and ignored it right up until election time, making sure that any prosecutions would arise after the vote.

I am aware of some Labour politicians who were never involved. Sadly, they have chosen to stay very quiet over the issue, probably because of party loyalty. It makes you wonder if there was ever one man or woman among them who had the guts to speak out. Apparently not.

Elliot Morley
Today there are one or two more cases pending, though not necessarily over expenses. The ground swell of public opinion is anger, not disbelief. But the public wants blood. A jail sentence, in these cases seems to me mis-placed. Those found guilty have terminated their political aspirations with extreme prejudice. They should of course be made to pay back every penny, and they should be made to do community work, out of doors, in a high vis jacket, with the words "thief" on them. These people need to be taught a lesson, not accommodated in a cushy open nick for a few months.

Will anything like this ever happen again in our Government? Evil shape-shifts. Wickedness is a rat run. The authorities have plugged one hole, but there will be many others. I behoves the Government to be vigilant, swift and moral.


Anonymous said...

Considering that the majority of those involved are not short of a few bob I simply can't understand why they would risk everything for a few thousand pounds. Desperate men do desperate things but the elite appear to have a conceit and contempt for the little people that is all consuming. Take the ex IMF fool for example, disregarding his sexual assault look at his abuse of expenses, £3000 per night hotel, first class flights at £11000 each way, both far in excess of the "rules" of the IMF. Their moral compass is well busted, their moral banks are bankrupt.

I am afraid that our political and business elite are beyond redemption. Crocodile tears and lies do not wash any more. The system needs to be destroyed and them with it.

prziloczek said...

Well, I have had a different life. In teaching, we made our own materials on condition that we were allowed to use school materials to do it. In the 1970s, I was reduced to stealing uneaten and untouched food from the Staff Common Room for my family.
I suppose that is why I feel very sorry for the MPs who have been made scapegoats of. The whole lot of them were encouraged to supplement their incomes by the Whips weren't they?
The Blair government accelerated the process of politicisation and corruption quite deliberately. So did Mr Brown (the Aircraft Carriers?)
Just by sacrificing four MPs when Mr Cameron himself was at it stinks.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I understand that people sometimes get so low that they must do desperate things. "Stealing" food to live does not in my opinion, constitute a crime, but a terrible indictment of our social infrastructure and our lack of concern and care for people.

An MP is legitimately entitled to an income way above the national average. There is a vast difference between greed and need. Thank you for taking the time to comment, przil.

Anon is right. The ruling elites are quite corrupt, but what makes it worse is that they are happy to help each other when it is to their advantage, which is why you see mass murderers courted by the US and why pedophile rapists are protected by the Swiss and the French.

Anonymous said...

"I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none"

Ezekiel 22:30.

Time to stand in the gap WW
Dave C