“Everybody’s on the make,” as a man once known as Slade the Leveller sarcastically pointed out in ‘Great Expectations’, “that’s what made this country great”. Do the revelations about MPs expenses, while no great surprise to the cynics amongst us, mark the death throes of the political class? And do we care?
I couldn’t help but feel the season of shame should have its own playlist, though.
1. Girls Have Expenses – Stephanie White
And we’ll be dedicating our first song tonight to … Hapless Hazel Blears.
2. Pay to Cum – Bad Brains
Jacqui Smith is another girl with expenses. In this case, her hubby’s porn. Priceless. Only, of course, nothing that you can get a receipt for is ultimately priceless.
3. Flipping Quarters – Last Train Home
Cut those CGT blues at a stroke! It’s one thing forgetting where your house keys are. Forgetting where you actually live several times a year prompts the merest frisson of suspicion. Various (Con) Artists.
4. Persian Rug – Fats Waller
As Lynne Jones of Selly Oak will tell you, an MP cannot live by linoleum or shagpile alone.
5. Dead Duck – Badly Drawn Boy
The exact fate of Sir Peter Viggers, who used the public purse to fund his island duck house. Presumably this was a second residence and we may have to stump up for Donald’s fixtures and fittings in due course.
6. Beautiful Moat – The Lakes
Douglas Hogg clearly believes that an Englishman’s home is his castle (and Kettleburgh Hall very nearly is a castle), and he has every right to ensure the serfs cough up to keep the lower orders at arm’s length. On a musical note, we also paid to have his piano tuned.
7. Helicopter – Bloc Party
Trimming the hedges around his Helipad was a snip for Michael Spicer at a mere £609. The shear cheek of it? I’ll secateur that motion.
8. Eyeliner – Sonic Youth
A bargain at just a fiver, thought MP Jo Swinson. Unfortunately it wasn’t her fiver.
9. The Lamp Is Low – Dave Brubeck
Michael Gove’s elegant ‘Elephant Lamp’ is admittedly a thing of beauty. I just wish I wasn’t fucking paying for it.
10. More Manure – Digital Underground
David Heathcott-Amory is comfortable, it would appear, with the proles not only shovelling the brown stuff on his behalf, but paying for it too.
11. Chocolate Girl – Deacon Blue
Christmas is an expensive time of year. So if you could screw another 59p out of the taxpayer for a Chocolate Santa, Sian James decided, it would seem rude not to.
12. Imported Toilet Seat – Architects Of Sound
One is not surprised to spy John Prescott’s considerable snout in the trough. Said gentleman’s throne was replaced, again at taxpayers’ expense, within two years – presumably due to ballast-related splintering. A pertinent item of declared income with which to hallmark the man’s political career.
13. Four Mirrors – Loudon Wainwright
As well as a Don Juan bookcase, nice touch that, £1,235 was charged to the public purse by Richard Younger-Ross for – yup, four mirrors. Clearly this joker’s as vain as his compatriots are bent.
14. Lucifer’s Rocking Chair – Cancer Bats
Julia Goldsworthy – a great name for this whole affair, you must agree – invoiced us for, among other things, a leather rocking chair. And Laura Ashley curtains. Can’t you fund your own fashion crimes?
15. Man Enough To Be A Woman – Wayne County
Immigration minister Phil Woolas stung us for a woman’s blouse – as well as panty liners, nappies and comics. Clearly the sort to leave IOU’s in church collection plates.
16. Painting By Numbers – Television Personalities
John Redwood managed to get paid double for his painting and decorating after submitting the same receipt twice. Tsk! No doubt he was mortified at the oversight.
17. The Gentlemen’s Club – Brendan Murphy
John Maples hit on the genius idea of being able to claim for a second home by listing the RAC Club as his main residence. Is that cheek or ingenuity?
18. The Moles Are Coming – The Residents
John Gummer, that nice man who fed his own child a burger to prove BSE was harmless, invites us to sympathise – financially – with the mole problem on his Suffolk spread. The weasel infestation in Westminster has sadly not similarly been addressed.
19. Anyone For Tennis? – Cream
Oliver Letwin’s tennis court repairs. From the man who brought you the poll tax and the Tories’ leading spokesman on Labour excess and over-spending.
20. She Drove Me To Daytime Television – Funeral For A Friend
Gerald Kaufmann must have been gutted when he got knocked back after submitting a claim of £8,865 for a television. That’s not a television, Gerald. That’s a cinema.