from the blacktop --
Recently, we read the following:
New York Times: “In Britain, Scandal Flows From Modest Request” by John F Burns
“It began modestly enough back in 2005, when an American freelance writer and journalism teacher living in London, Heather Brooke, entered a request under Britain’s newly promulgated freedom of information act for details of the expense claims of British members of Parliament. Ms. Brooke’s initiative to expose the politicians’ greed, now led by one of the country’s principal newspapers, The Daily Telegraph, has led to the biggest scandal to hit the House of Commons in decades. On Tuesday, the affair claimed its biggest victim yet when the speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin, became the first man to be ousted from that job in more than 300 years.
“At one level, the scandal is a rich tale of politicians exploiting a lax system of expenses to claim a mind-boggling array of benefits. The claims have centered on so-called second-home allowances, which have allowed some members of Parliament to use nearly $40,000 a year in taxpayers’ money to renovate and even sell properties for profit, while others have claimed monthly payments for mortgages that had already been paid off. Still others claimed ‘necessities’ like the clearing of a country house moat, an electrical massage chair and even a Kit Kat bar….
“In response, they have made groveling apologies, waved reimbursement checks before television cameras and pledged to restore 'respect for Parliament'....
“For readers of The Telegraph, many of them staunch Conservatives, the revelations have carried an irony of their own. The day-by-day exposures have raised questions about the integrity of many Conservatives, as well as members of Labor and the Liberal Democrats, the third major party in the Commons, making for what some commentators have called an ‘equal opportunity’ scandal....”
And we thought:
…. In the face of such greed and arrogance, Ms. Brooke’s expose appears a proper public flogging of these so-called proper members of the British Parliament. These errant politicians -- representa-thieves -- brought this scandal upon themselves and deserve the heat they're getting from the public. Expense claims for "KitKat" bars?...