Tuesday, 28 July 2009

There Are Two Sides To Every Story

Now that the MP Expenses furore has faded, it was safe to think that we had seen the last of the story. Not so.

Recently, the likes of Harriet 'I'm not the problem, I'm the solution' Harman voted through a minor change to the Green Book that allows MPs to claim a flat rate every day for subsistence, without having to submit any receipts, as an additional allowance. That's £9,125 under the new rules that no MP has to justify, just submit a claim and get it - for doing nothing other than turn up for work. Mere mortals like us have to buy our daily meals out of our taxed pay but MPs get a full £9,125 per year as additional, tax free salary that they do not have to justify to us in any way, just for having the title of MP.

£9,125 is an interesting number in a year when numbers have been so big we can hardly imagine what you could buy for the sums - it's one small enough for us to understand, at last. But it's an interesting number in that £9,250 was the amount of money awarded to Cpl Duncan initially after being shot in Afghanistan while another war wounded soldier was originally awarded £8,250 for fracturing a thigh on a training exercise. After taking their cases to a tribunal, they were awarded £46,000 and £28,750 respectively after it was found that both had suffered significant complications after 'recovering'. Still numbers small enough for us to understand.
The MoD is now appealing against those higher awards and is insisting that it should only have to pay the original amounts for the original injuries only - to hell with the complications.

The original amounts - £9,250 and £8,250 - not even two MPs annual tax free subsistence allowance that they do not have to justify with a single receipt.

Campaigners like Falkland hero Simon Weston, who knows a thing or two about wounds, thinks that the MoD are out of touch. I don't think so. I think the whole body of MPs - every single one of them - is out of touch with all reality as well as the goons at the MoD. These smug cowards are more concerned about getting their daily meals paid for than making sure our loyal troops are looked after before, during and after front line service.

This new allowance was voted through by small committees manned by the likes of Harman, Alan Duncan and Nick Harvey who piously told us that the MP expenses system would never again get abused - no announcement was given, no publicity and no debate. Done deal - life goes on, just as it does in the banks.

In a year when we have spent more money on saving the careers of greedy bankers than we can comprehend, we cannot find the the heart and sense to look after our wounded heroes for the want of a few pounds in comparison to the astronomic sums we have wasted on people not worthy of walking on the same ground as our heroes.

This is not just a Government thing - this is every damn Politician who rides the gravy train. They have zero conscience, no principles, no scruples and no guts. We may laugh that the likes of Esther Rantzen is contesting Luton South but at least it will stop the likes of Moran ever getting elected again - let's hope someone with similar morals stands against Julie Kirkbride who just seems to have lost all touch with reality. She lied, cheated and fiddled us out of money for years and she thinks that on the say so of a few deluded locals she should not stand down.

It's a sad day. If the public had a vote, I am sure everyone would vote against MPs having their subsistence allowance of £9,125 and make sure every penny of that money and much more goes into a fund to properly care for the troops who are getting wounded on our behalf and looking after the families of the fallen.

Diane Dernie, mother of Bombardier Ben Parkinson who lost both legs and suffered brain damage after being injured by a bomb in Helmand Province, perhaps summed it all up, given the lifetime of care her son will have to receive after doing his duty. "It is very, very sad that on a day like today, when all the news is as bad as it is, and has been recently, that the MoD can still think to cut what are not overly generous payments," she told the BBC. "It just beggars belief really and proves that yet again they don't understand how people feel about our troops."

MPs are claiming that the appeal is seeking 'clarity about earlier judgements' so that more money can go to the more seriously injured. Given Cpl Duncan is only now serving his first tour of duty since is injury in 2005, it seems to be irrational to use this as such a test case. Further the amount of money spent on legal bills just to get this appealed and heard will be far more than the extra compensation paid out. It would look slightly better if Cpl Duncan had been some 'Sgt Bilko' figure keeping himself away from the front lines and slacking. The fact he is serving another tour of duty, to my mind, renders the argument defunct.

The simple fact is that we are arguing about giving the kid a sum of money just a fraction over what is given to MPs for daily meals each year - every year without question or justification.
How the likes of Harman can simper her rubbish at us and sleep at night is beyond me.

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