Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/806/18447
House of Thieves
Maria Miller resigns at last
Dave Nellist, National chair, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
With memories of duck-houses lingering in our minds, we didn't need another expenses scandal to remind us of the rottenness at the top of society.
But Maria Miller, MP and Cabinet member, provided one. With 'warm support' from prime minister David Cameron and some of the other Cabinet millionaires, she clung on to her position until forced to resign by widespread anger and opposition.
This followed revelations that she 'flipped' homes, claimed £90,000 for her mortgage, and made off with over a million quid on the house sale, potentially avoiding paying 28% capital gains tax.
In 2010 Cameron promised to 'clean up politics'. But no one will be that shocked that it was a committee of MPs who reduced the amount Miller was asked to repay by almost 90%. Even now, responding to Miller's resignation letter, Cameron wrote to her: "I hope that you will be able to return to serving the government on the frontbench in due course".
Little wonder that trust in parliament's pampered elite is at a historic low and almost 150,000 people signed a petition demanding her resignation.
The Con-Dems are well and truly the representatives of the mega-rich 1% - using their positions to ensure themselves a place among that select few, while casting thousands onto the streets via the bedroom tax, and into misery via their cold cruel array of austerity measures.
The Labour leadership were silent on Miller. Was that in the hope that we won't remember that Labour MPs were jailed for expenses transgressions in 2009? Neither do they have any alternative to austerity - pledging to maintain Tory spending plans if they win the 2015 general election - or to the economic crisis.
Greed and graft
Greed and graft are truly rampant in Westminster - but the fundamental problem is that the people who sit in its hallowed halls represent, not just the richest, but their system - capitalism.
Labour leader Ed Miliband has insisted that he is in favour of 'responsible capitalism'. But capitalism is a system built on exploitation for profit for the 1%.
It's 'irresponsible' to the needs of 99% of the world's population. That's why a socialist transformation that puts the wealth of society into the hands of the working class under a democratic plan is the only way to provide decent jobs, homes, services and living standards for all.
The Maria Miller scandal just adds to the case for a new mass workers' party. The Socialist Party is working in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, taking important steps towards building such a party.
If you agree we need an alternative to the cuts parties of the 1% and a socialist alternative to the misery of capitalism - join us!
For workers' MPs on a worker's wage
Reporting on the recent 11% pay increase for MPs, the BBC noted that:
"From his election in 1983 to his de-selection by Labour in 1992, Dave Nellist kept less than half his salary.
"Along with two other Labour politicians - Terry Fields, MP for Liverpool Broadgreen, and Pat Wall, MP for Bradford North - Mr Nellist chose to 'get by' on a wage closer to that of the people he represented."
Like Dave, Pat and Terry were supporters of Militant, the Socialist Party's predecessor.
For the Socialist Party this, a clear socialist programme and the involvement of the mass of the working class are vital ingredients for a new party.
- For more on TUSC see www.tusc.org.uk
In The Socialist 9 April 2014:
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