Saturday, 8 January 2011

Fiddles, Fat Cats or Felons?


I’ve been reading the comments in the blogosphere about the recent jailing of former Labour MP David Chaytor over his expense fiddles. This was passing me by until I read one particular blog from a Journalist I have long admired and will again admire when I’ve got over it. The blog “It’s not hard not feel a bit sorry for David Chaytor” (http://tinyurl.com/38snova) has absolutely missed the point. We have no obligation to feel even the slightest bit sorry for him and shouldn’t feel guilty for not doing. Like the rest of us we were horrified by some of the fiddles going on with the MP expense system. Most MP’s were whiter that white, a few were bending rules and a few more were breaking the rules – we got angry, the scandal exposed and MP’s learned from it. A very VERY few went beyond a fiddle and were downright criminal. A nose in the trough is wrong but David Chaytor didn’t just bend rules or exaggerate claims. He didn’t just accidentally claim for something which wasn’t a legitimate expense or flip a house to max out his allowances. He lied, he cheated and he stole money from the tax payer. There are no Party Politics here, he’s a criminal, convicted by the courts and he’s being punished just as Archer and Aitken have been before him.  The big difference here is that he is an MP and that does make a difference. He is not only a convicted fraudster but also an abuser of the trust his electorate placed in him and the court seemed to have reflected this in the stiff sentence and not giving him full credit for his belated guilty plea.

Three other Labour MP’s have opted for a trial and maintain their innocence. If they are found guilty they have better get used to the taste of porridge.

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