Wednesday, 14 November 2012

cui bono?

yesterday's story about the trial of former MP Margaret Moran can be read here.  She did fiddle expenses, in a calculated and fraudulent manner.  Others have gone to prison, but she will not, as it appears she has had a mental and emotional collapse, and was absent because unfit to stand trial.  It is possible she will be discharged.  Whatever her state of health, it seems to me that if she is to be found guilty she should have a criminal conviction as the others did.  Otherwise justice is not served.  It will of course never be known how many MPs engaged in fraud over their expenses.  It can easily be discovered, and mostly has been since parts of the media got their claws into it, what irregularities took place - although when what was done was within the rules it seems wrong to punish people retrospectively.  I am referring to actual fraud here though.  Falsificaation of documents for financial gain at the taxpayers' expense.  All those who have stood trial and gone to prison have done so as a result of complaints to the police, nearly always made by former members of their staff or associates, within their own party.  As you might expect.  this is true of Margaret Moran too.  It follows that there must be quite a number of others.  Mr Salter, who was one of the few who committed fraud by claiming GBP 1000 a month for four years, from 1997 to 2001, for a London property he did not have, has had no complaint made, and so has not been prosecuted.  I suppose I should have made the complaint myself.  I may still do so.  What do readers think? To commit fraud in this way you need to represent a constituency which is reachable on a daily commuting basis.  Of that ring of constituencies around London, the MPs I knew all, with the exception of Mr Salter and Michael Trend, the then MP for Windsor, had places in London.  Mr Trend was found out - a disgruntled former member of his staff had him followed and saw that he drove back to Windsor every evening - and he had to stand down from parliament.  No need to have Mr Salter followed, he boasted that he went back to Reading every night, but I saw him fill in the claim forms for a thousand a month.  It was the Michael Trend affair which obliged MPs from 2001 on to provide their mortgage documents or rent agreement before claims for London property could be reimbursed.

Here in France things are rather different.  MPs do not have much scrutiny of their expenses.  They also do not have the media snapping at their heels every five minutes.

It's a sad business.  I'm sorry for those who went to prison, and I'm sorry for Margaret Moran.  They are all paying the price for what they have done, as they must.  I hope they all, including Margaret, come out the other side of this.  Paying  your debt to society means just that - once you have had your punishment the debt is settled and you are clean.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please complain now about Martin Salter. Why should he escape scott free while Margaret Moran does not? Yes, I agree, Jane about the criminal conviction - she should have one. But there are others who should have one and have not even been prosecuted. It is a sad indictment that whether or not you aer called to book depends on whether or not you have political friends in high places. Margaret Moran did not.

I also feel that the book should be thrown at Denis McShane. He rants on about his 'beloved' Labour Party. His wowrd and there are strong hints that he will not be prosecuted. Why not - boys in blue? Do your job without fear ro favour. BUT YOU DON'T DO YOU, POLICE?!!! Yes, Jane - make that complaint. And let us know that you have made it.

Anonymous said...

Can't say I agree with your last sentence Jane.
A thief may have paid his fine or served time, but he will always be thief.
L9

Anonymous said...

Hmm, who to believe? Martin Salter, declared by the Tory-supporting Telegraph to have been an expenses 'saint'...or Jane Griffiths, kicked out by her own party? That's a tough one...

Jane Griffiths said...

should not be tough. Only the naive believe what they read in the newspapers. He is a liar and a fraudster. But hey, you read something different in the Torygraph, so it must be true. Gullible or malicious. What was I "kicked out" of, pray tell?

Anonymous said...

Jane has never committed a criminal offence - or any offence whatsoever - apart from the 'offence' if it can be so-called, of trying to work with someone as a neighbouring MP who was hell bent on stabbing her in the back ,the front and in any inch of available flesh from the day she was elected until the day she declined to take up the offer of standing as the Labour candidate for another constituency in 2005.

David Akroyd said...

A very interesting piece. With regard to Margaret "dry rot" Moran her lenient treatment because of her supposed fragile mental state does stick in the gullet compared to the rigours faced by sick and disabled benefit claimants.

Now the case of the bisexual former Reading West MP. Whichever way you look at it the present state of limbo is very unsatisfactory. A serious allegation of criminal fraud has been made which has not been tested either by being investigated or by Mr Salter himself taking any action to clear his name. If Martin is guilty then he is getting away with it. If he is innocent, then he has been libelled. Mr Salter, while Deputy Reading Borough Council Leader in the 90s fronted a campaign against benefit fraud. Remember the slogan "For the needy, not the greedy"? If the accusation is true, Martin has compunded criminal fraud with an amazing degree of hypocrisy.

So make the complaint and get it into the open. Wrong doing is like mushrooms, both flourish in the dark.

Anonymous said...

Yep. Go for it.