SINCE the summer it has been a consistent theme – elected members expenses. Headlines shout scandal; radio phone-in shows have callers incandescent with fury…but please remember that it was all within the rules.
Yes, the refrain that is almost consistent, from MPs through to MLAs is that the expenses they claim were approved by the ‘office’ and that they did not break any rules.
Of course, the bankers who reaped the massive bonuses weren’t breaking the rules. The super rich who use sophisticated tax avoidance schemes aren’t breaking any rules.
But, just because you can claim something doesn’t mean you should.
MLAs are, of course, elected to represent their constituents. They hear their constituents woes on an ongoing basis - mounting debt, struggling to claim benefits entitlements, not getting the public services they deserve...
And, they complete their expenses forms all within the rules.
Thankfully this is a cross-community effort. All shades of political hue are grabbing their expenses claims to the max.
In fact, one might surmise that this has the hallmark of a wonderful scheme by the Equality Commission…
Except for the fact family members don’t have to face the rigorous interviews the rest of the civil and public service must tackle, nor fill in the ‘what community…’ declaration.