Friday, June 19, 2009

Blueberry Hill

The recent mainly blacked out release of MPs expenses claims has done nothing to abate the public’s disbelief at their spending of our money.
In recent weeks our local MP Danny Alexander put some detail of his expenses on his web site. Although this gave information of his bulk expenses, more detail is now released.

The Scotsman found the following
DANNY Alexander, the Lib Dem MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, claimed £1,140 for shelves and a cupboard in two alcoves in his house. Then in 2007 he claimed £175 for roof repairs before moving in June that year. He got back £750 for survey and £1,000 for removal costs, but it also meant that the taxpayer had to fork out for a much higher mortgage of £1,138, up from £550.
He removed his wife Rebecca's first name from bills lodged. In 2007/08, he claimed a total of £168,478.

A journalist at the Press and Journal has also trawled through Danny’s receipts and come up with the following observation.
You might be intrigued by the fact that Danny Alexander, Lib Dem MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, bought a Cox’s apple in the Commons, according to his receipts, but why did the authorities black out the item just above it on the bill? Was this a clumsy clerical error or something else? As the bill only came to £1.50 it hardly seems that it has the makings of a national crisis. Splashing out £1.29 on Wet Ones tissues might seem extravagant, but he would need them to clean up after the crisps he bought as well, obviously.
But the 64,000 dollar question is, why did he start buying blueberry muffins when this seemed so out of character as his receipts show a clear liking for Kettle chips? You start to notice things like that after being fed scraps by the censors.

The BBC gives a link to Danny plus all his expense claims (Many blacked out). Apart from the actual cost of the items there is also the huge administrative overhead for processing the receipts, and also the work to copy, censure, and release the details into the public domain. I reckon The Daily Telegraph did a much better job at publishing the details and it was mush cheaper on the public purse.
Will the revelations with regard Mr. Alexander’s spending cause him enough embarrassment to stand down? There are no moats or duck islands but clearly the odd apple or two, and now the blueberry muffin scandal.


Anonymous said...

Give him a muffin for nuthin!

Leafing through some of Danny’s receipts you can clearly see some for the House of Commons canteen.
I just love the highlighted waste of money here.
The canteen is stocked (Using public money); items are then sold to MPs who then claim it back on expenses.
Would it not just be so much cheaper to give them the food without payment? A list of their consumption could be published each year to name and shame anyone who consumed too much, and we (The country) would save money on all the paperwork and time currently spent processing MPs food bills.
Alternatively, they could of course buy their meals out of their own pocket as the great majority of us do?

Graisg said...

Compared with some of them he is an angel. Doesn't look as though he has taken the piss out of us one little bit.
About time he wrote something on that by-pass blog however :-)