Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Telegraph has done a Disservice to Democracy

Enough is enough. For every day that new revelations are dripped out to the media and electorate, I can see another 500 votes for UKIP (or worse) in the June elections.

The day this broke, I wrote to the Telegraph to tell them that they had done a disservice to democracy by releasing this information before the June elections. My letter, unsurprisingly, didn't get published.

County Council and European candidates are getting thrown to the wolves. I forget the number of times I've had to remind voters on the doorstep that these are local and European elections and not parliamentary.  

Not voting goes against everything I believe in a democracy but for once I'd prefer people not to vote than give a protest vote to a party whose MEPs are embroiled in their own scandals, or to the loathsome BNP.

The Telegraph have had this information for weeks and possibly months. They would have had to, given the time it would have taken them to go through the million or so receipts.

Publish the rest in one go then publish another 10 editions highlighting the vast majority of our MPs who work hard and don't have any "accounting errors that were within the rules".

It is not the fault of all the County Council and Euro candidates that parliament has got itself into this mess - so why does a national newspaper believe that it has the right to interfere with democracy at such a basic level? I'm not saying they shouldn't have published the information - only that they should have started it after the 4th June.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What a day this has been....

Some 26 years ago I had the fortune to marry a young man who was destined to be an MP. As it happens, just 6 weeks after our wedding he was an MP, and decisions for my callow 23 year self had to be made. Stay in my job (administrator in the racing industry) or follow my hobby into work - 8 years service as a volunteer in the Conservative Party had me well bitten by the bug, so heading after my man to become his PA seemed reasonable, sensible, and a good way to not blow this fresh young marriage. We worked hard, we rented a small flat on the allowances, and we lived sensibly. In that respect nothing has changed. 26 years on; we rent a small flat, we live sensibly, we only claim what is appropriate.

To say we were stunned by some of the revelations this week is an understatement. I wrote in a recent article that I believed 99% of MPs were doing it correctly and it would be 'the few' that muddied the waters. I was wrong.

So what do we do? David Cameron has shown true grit and leadership today. Clean up or get out is his message, and that is one all must follow.

What I really hope is that for the prospective young things out there who have been bitten by the bug will not be put off. The honour of representing people cannot be underestimated, and is worth fighting for.