Jacqui Smith’s puzzling response to her critics

Is it me, or does the Two Homes Secretary’s recent response to her critics raise more questions than it answers?

“What I claim is what I think are fair and reasonable expenses for that fact I have to live in two houses… it’s the nature of the job of being an MP that they have to live in two houses.” She added: “The priority for me is not to let that [controversy] distract me from my job as home secretary and MP for Redditch.” Ms Smith’s remarks follow leaks of expenses details at the weekend, which suggested she had bought a barbecue, patio heater and toothbrush holder with taxpayer funds. She was asked on GMTV whether it was fair for tax payers to fund the cost of a flat screen TV, scatter cushions at her Redditch home, a toothbrush holder and a bath plug. Ms Smith said: “One of the reasons why people know a lot of the details about me is that people have chosen to focus on the details of my expenses. All of the receipts that I have put in are out there. “When you put in a claim and you put in a receipt on which there are a number of items, obviously people can pick out one of them and say ‘why did you claim for that?’ but that is because you put in the whole of the receipt.”

Being self-employed, I claim expenses against tax.

Just like Smith is supposed to do, I only claim for those things that actually help me in my self-employment and help me to carry out my work.

So, I claim for computer supplies, home office stationery, anything related to guitars and their upkeep, the occasional magazine if I think it’s going to provide useful information, but not something like a barbecue set.

However, what puzzles me about all this is not what she actually claims for but how she submits her receipts.

Doesn’t the manner in which she does this have the potential to be terribly confusing?

Sure, I occasionally buy items I can claim for at the same time as I buy something I can’t. For example, I might be in Tesco and along with a ream of paper (a legitimate business expense) I stick a loaf of bread (not a legitimate business expense) in my basket. I submit the receipt to my accountant but I circle the business expense item.

Maybe Jacqui Smith does the same thing.

But I’m still puzzled.

However this information has reached the press it must be – very broadly speaking – in one of two forms.

1) Raw data in the form of either a stack of receipts and/or a list of items purchased – I submit the receipts and the items are also listed in my accounts. Some of these receipts will have items on that I’m not expecting to claim for but the legitimate items will be clearly marked.

or

2) A completed list of claims – but then wouldn’t the items that are non-essential to her duties as an MP not appear? Why are these items appearing along with legitimate claims?

As for an explanation of all this, there are several:

  • She’s a thieving whore.
  • Her accounting procedures are fucking terrible – maybe Richard Timney should stop leaving new stains on the sofa bed she claimed for and start running her office properly with both fucking hands available for use.
  • Whoever grants the expenses is allowing non-essential items without checking the claim.
  • Whoever grants the expenses doesn’t know what they’re doing.
  • Whoever grants the expenses is knowingly allowing non-claimable items through.
  • The information given to the Press about her expenses isn’t accurate.

Of course, it could be the last explanation but if it isn’t then someone, somewhere is fucking up – it could be some lowly clerk deep in Whitehall or it could be the Two Homes Secretary herself – and that someone somewhere is really not doing their job properly and ought to be sacked.

I can only hope it’s Jackboot Smith.

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