Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Barcelona Win - At Least MPs Are Out of the Headlines

I am sure many will be sorry to see Manchester United beaten tonight. In fairness, I think even the most rabid supporter would agree that Barcelona were by some distance the better of the two teams tonight, although it would be fair to suggest that United played nowhere near their best. Still, credit where it's due.

Sadly, the monotonous drip of revelations about MP expenses are here to detract our disappointment. Latest to exploit the system is 'Sir' John Butterfill, Tory big man. Like diminutive and scheming Hazel Blears, he used the fact that the Parliamentary system is independent of the the tax system to claim that his tiny flat in London was his main residence for purposes of creaming the tax payer for outrageous amounts for his valuable Bournemouth 'second' home and then cynically, knowingly and fraudulently claiming that the home he had designated his secondary one was his primary residence when he sold it, so netting himself a 'CGT' tax free £600,000.

Under current rulings, the systems are independent so theoretically what he did was allowable. In practice, it was not. This was a blatant, well researched scam to make a lot of money, tax free, at the expense of taxpayers. While it may not overtly breach law, it was unquestionably illegal gain.

Butterfill claims he put £500,000 into the home so his profit was only £100,000 - but he forgets that is only the same principle to which all of us have to adhere. The taxman cares not one jot on how much you put in, that was your risk. Again, it is an example of fat cats trying to make up their own rules to benefit themselves. If only we all had the same rules.

In this case, if the law does not take an interest, the taxpayer should. If we have been funding the mortgage and upkeep on what we thought was his second home but turned out to be his primary one, then we are owed at least all the mortgage payments back and in reality we should have the entire profit he made.

I am sure MPs will guffaw at such a suggestion but it really is time we took control of the situation. We have sat back and watched an elite group of people who we granted a mandate to milk us. If the law and the taxman have no jurisdiction, then we do. It's our money.

I am fed up of listening to preening big heads who claim they have done nothing wrong or that the claims office passed it - I am fed up of the police remaining on the sidelines - I am fed up of the taxman chasing the rest of us and not the fat cats. It really is time we all reacted. It is our money and we do not want people to profit from it where we can't like 'flipping' residences, we do not want to pay for the PM's cleaning, we don't want to pay for Cameron's wisteria thinning, Hogg's moat, Viggers's duck house, Steen's gardening, Blears' scams, Mandelson's profit when he wasn't an MP, Mackay's scheming or bags of dung.

How about this? We each threaten to withhold £10 per month of tax until the MPs who have abused the system in any way are sacked and not allowed to stand for public office again at minimum but are prosecuted where required. Our votes are too cheap to make a difference - as we have seen in the bank bail outs, only money talks and when they don't have it the whole matter becomes a different story.

The fact is that we have the power to stop this right now. We have the power to force every MP who has 'sinned' in our eyes out of office. Regardless of the taxman, the lawmakers and the MPs themselves, ultimately we are the most powerful people in the land because it is our money they waste and we have a say.

It's pointless Esther Rantzen, Simon Heffer, Martin Bell et al standing against these people - it isn't the point anyway. The system failed us completely and it is answerable to us. We don't want new candidates to dip their beaks, we want our money back and the profits people made with it.

It is time we realised that if the law and HMRC fail us then it is beholden upon us to ensure fairness ensues. £10 per month per taxpayer withheld is around £3.6bn a year of tax shortfall. That's a fair proportion of our interest payments on the debts we have 'agreed' to build up to pay for the bank bailouts. Sovereign debt is about to be downgraded, the last thing the Government needs is a further increase in debt to cover the shortfall from us.

Like Simon Heffer, I am being perfectly serious. It is time to vote with our wallets - it's the only language they have been proven to understand.

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