Friday, May 22, 2009

In Defence of Nadine Dorries MP - or Let's Take this Slowly

Politically I have little in common with Nadine Dorries MP, and I do think she sometimes misses logical connections, but I am also much less hostile to her than a lot of condescending commentators on the left (who seem shocked a mere *nurse* should be in parliament).

Nadine's comments that seem true to me are:

1. At least until 2005 ACA (Additional Costs Allowance) was regarded as part of salary and its primary purpose was to increase MP's compensation. Turning this into an "expenses" scandal is not an accurate account of the system's history.

2. There continued to be that perception even after 2005, and new MPs such as her (and Malik come to that) asked how to interact with the system and were mislead by the Fees office. I don't think that Fees office officials can be attacked for being deferential to MPs, and what we see here is the persistence and evolution of a never intended system.

3. (What no one will say but Nadine implies) Many MPs would never dream of voluntarily living in their constituency, so any home rented their constitutes an "additional" cost *whatever the other housing arrangements.

4. She is correct about the Daily Telegraph deliberately causing political damage by slowly dripping this story

Question Time last night, and The Guardian over the past two days have been calling for a "change everything now" agenda.

I think many things do need to change in this country, but the change needs to come through some consideration, not through newspaper rabble-rousing, and not through some ludicrous effort to emulate the United States.

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