"WE HANG the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office" - Aesop.
Despite the protestations of MPs caught with their hands in the till that it's the 'system' to blame, "thieves" will be the judgement of most people on MPs who fiddle their expenses.
Young people show their anger at the system, photo Paul Mattsson
These politicians make you sick. They publicly attack people claiming unemployment and disability benefits - the poorest in society, while enriching themselves at our expense. And when they're caught red-handed they squeal that it is the 'system' that's to blame.
Immigration minister Phil Woolas called the media allegations 'disgusting' but what is really disgusting is that these revelations are emerging at the same time as the Department for Work and Pensions reported that deprivation and inequality has risen for a third successive year. Income inequality is now higher than at any time during the Thatcher years of the 1980s and since records began in the 1960s.
So it's official - when Tony Blair talked about making Britain a fairer place, what he actually meant was, for the richest 10%. Obviously Labour MPs have had to work particularly hard on their expenses claims to make sure that they boosted this 10%!
Apparently the favoured method is by 'flipping' - changing the designation of their second home in order to claim for expensive repairs, redecoration and mortgage interest payments.
Step forward any number of MPs, including Jacqui Smith, Hazel Blears (who would then flip back in order to avoid paying tax when she sold the property) and multi-millionaire Tory grandee, Francis Maude.
MPs can use this method to claim up to £24,000 a year while avoiding paying tax on any profits from sales of these houses.
Another method is by submitting claims for less than £250 - receipts don't have to be provided for these so MPs put in multiple claims for £249. Even where receipts have to be provided there seems to be no claim too preposterous that someone hasn't had the brass neck to make it - millionaire Tory shadow cabinet member David Willetts claimed £115 for the replacement of 25 light bulbs in his second home! How many rich Tory MPs does it take exactly to screw in a light bulb? None, just claim it on expenses!
Contrast these greedy MPs with Dave Nellist (now a Socialist Party councillor) who, as a socialist MP from 1983 to 1992, took only the average wage of a skilled worker and the rest of his salary was donated back to the labour movement.
Dave was expelled from the Labour Party by the likes of fat cat Tony Blair (who claimed remortgage payments on his home shortly before buying a £3.65 million house), Peter Mandelson (£3,000 for decorating and gardening) and John Prescott (two toilet seats in two years). Dave's crime? Being a socialist and daring to fight for the working class.
It's time to kick all these criminals out - we need a workers' party in government with accountable representatives who will fight for our interests as hard as these corrupt politicians fight for the rich.