Don’t put that piano wire away quite yet…

Only a total fucking moron would think that after the exposure by the Telegraph of UK MPs’ expenses abuse, everything in the garden was lovely.

Not so.

Like distant thunder after a storm, scandal still reverberates and the troughing that the disingenuous thought was a thing of the past is still very much of the present.

My own view is that we let a golden opportunity to finally nail the parliamentary troughers, and really stick it to the greedy motherfuckers, slip by – along with a real chance to introduce accountability and measures to insure that the people whom we voted into power were finally our servants and not our masters.

In short, we should have put the fear of God into our so-called ‘representatives’ and we fucking blew it.

 

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Not that there’s a shortage of opportunities for pig sticking – especially if you approach the sport from a European perspective.

The Telegraph has exposed yet another expenses and spending scandal but it’s focused on the European Parliament this time.

MEPs have access to a fund which pays for members of their parties to go on what are:

ostensibly “study visits” to the European Parliament buildings in Brussels or Strasbourg, but the holidaymakers need spend only a fraction of their time at the parliament to claim the full subsidy, which can be collected in cash without the need for receipts.

736 MEPs are each permitted to fund such trips for up to 110 people of their choice from a pot of some £25 million with no accountability.

One such trip is described thusly by the Telegraph:

One subsidised trip to Strasbourg last week, promoted by the Labour MEP Peter Skinner, lasted six days, with only a few hours spent at the parliament.

The rest of the visit, according to a programme seen by The Sunday Telegraph, included a river cruise, a tour of the cathedral, a visit to the city’s Christmas market, champagne tasting, a battlefield tour in Ypres and sightseeing in Reims. Like most MEPs, Mr Skinner did not join the party, but hosted a free dinner for the participants.

Just under 30 people went on the tour, according to Mr Skinner’s office, staying in £100-a-night hotels in Ypres, Reims and the German spa town of Baden-Baden, near Strasbourg.

“After a buffet breakfast in the sunny Great Room, take your coffee on to the terrace to enjoy views of the picturesque Black Forest,” the Baden-Baden hotel’s website says.

"Stroll beside the meandering River Oos and admire the Belle-Epoque mansions on Lichtentaler Allee. Play for high stakes at the glamorous Spielbank casino, and unwind in the soothing waters of Caracalla Spa.”

Nice ‘work’ if you can get it…

One of those who went on the trip, Juan Leahy, who works for Mr Skinner, declined to comment when asked if it was mostly a “holiday”.

I bet he fucking declined…

And what did a spokesman for the European Parliamentary Labour Party have to say about it?

“We believe the public should have the opportunity to see their elected officials at work, and we do not want this opportunity restricted to the rich who can afford travel.”

Well, party activists – who seem to be the lucky recipients of many of these junkets are not elected in the first place and, what’s more, they should not be given holidays on the taxpayer – although it’s not a surprising view for a socialist to hold…

 

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It seems that there’s still a general contempt for the mugs funding such profligate abuse of public money – especially when you hear this sort of self-justifying shite:

One BNP trip, in March last year, cost taxpayers €10,791 (£9,775) for 44 participants, an average of £220 a head. It was free for those who took part, according to the organiser, Mr Butler, and even made the BNP a profit.

“The subsidy is for a set amount,” said Mr Butler. “There is no provision to pay back what you don’t use. The organiser of the trip can use any residue for whatever he sees fit: this is quite legitimate.”

Mr Butler said he had donated the profits to the BNP.

Even more annoyingly, he continues:

Mr Butler defended the visits, saying: “Everyone had fun and it didn’t cost the party a penny. The trips are a good way of rewarding our activists for their hard work and dedication. Should we feel guilty for the Euro taxpayer? Certainly not.”

With no receipts required, such trips give carte blanche, to anyone with responsibility for organising them, to generate extra income for political parties, on top of allowing everybody to have ‘fun’:

In a report last month, the Court of Auditors, Europe’s spending watchdog, criticised this aspect of the scheme, warning that “the procedures in place do not require groups to provide evidence of travel costs, resulting in a risk of overpayment as most groups use cheaper collective transport”.

The subsidy for the journey from London to Brussels amounts to £85 a head, but Eurostar offers a return ticket for £69, and travelling in a privately hired coach can cost as little as £25.

From Edinburgh to Brussels the travel subsidy would be £225, but a return flight with Ryanair costs as little as £49.

The meal subsidy is set at £30 a person, but since no receipts are required visitors can buy cheaper meals and pocket the difference.

According to the Court of Auditors, 78 per cent of the payments to trip organisers last year were made in cash. This “limited the possibility of applying internal control procedures”, the watchdog warned.

Now, I wouldn’t give the BNP the drippings from my nose, but that’s not the point here.

What is at issue is the fact that taxpayers are funding not just a Euro jolly-up for a privileged few, but also contributing towards political parties’ funds – whether they want to or not – via a totally unaccountable system.

In its way, it’s worse than the UK MPs’ expenses scandal, in that it is even less regulated – ie not regulated at all – and wide open to the abuse by parasitical cocksuckers of allowing political parties to be funded by the back door.

This is one case where party affiliation should be disregarded totally and the essential corruption and abuse clearly exposed across pan-party lines.

OK, £25 million is small beer when compared to the billions wasted in other ways by the European Parliament.

However, when we have our elected representatives and their minions coming out with insulting and condescending platitudes about people having ‘fun’, such ‘fun’ not costing their party ‘a penny’, such junkets being made not just available to ‘the rich’ and then any surplus moolah being trousered for party funding, then it’s clearly high time that the poor fuckers who fund all this should say that enough is enough.  

 

pigs_trough

 

I was unaware that all this was going on and I don’t think that I’m alone in this.

Which begs the question…

…how else is taxpayers’ money being flagrantly abused?

Time to get out the piano wire that wasn’t used last time we had the chance, methinks…

4 Responses

  1. To the lampposts with them………….

  2. Hello,

    I’m the Politics editor at Before It’s News. Our site is a People Powered news platform with over 4,000,000 visits a month and growing fast.

    We would be honored if we could republish the rss feed of Hundreds and Thousands (On The Trifle of Life) in our European Union category. Our readers need to read what experts like you have to say.

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  3. There’s a lot of sturdy lampposts around Westminster if you get my drift

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