Hot from their barnstorming joint performance with Bishop Snow in the C4 News pulpit last evening, the TaxPayers' Alliance has joined forces with freedom of information champion - and BOM's old friend - Heather Brooke, to launch the following petition:
“We the people call on the House of Commons authorities to immediately publish the full receipts behind MPs’ expense claims – including the crucial second home addresses. The House has had four years to prepare for freedom of information and there is no excuse for the obstruction and continued delays that have prevented the people seeing directly how our MPs spend taxpayers’ money.
We also call on the Commons authorities to commit to publishing these full receipts in future on a quarterly basis, excluding from publication only that material allowed by the High Court ruling of May 16th 2008 (i.e.credit card and bank account numbers).There should be an independent person allowed access to the full record to ensure no MPs are deleting information to avoid criticism or embarrassment.”
The more signatures we get, the stronger we are, so may we urge you all to sign here. Now is the time.
PS Talking of the Bishop, he played a real blinder this evening. According to him, what this expenses scandal really exposes is that the Tories are still evil after all these years. He headlined the entire day's news as being about "the moat that still divides the Tories from the rest of us". He then set about Theresa May (one of the few, incidentally, who seems to have emerged from this scandal with her integrity intact), saying how the Tories are still nasty, and how welfare fraudsters up North are the innocent victims of two-faced Tory corruption and oppression. He seemed oblivious to the fact that this very afternoon, Cam stepped up to the plate as A Real Leader (and as you may possibly have gathered, I'm no starry-eyed fan). Oblivious too, to the fact that Cam showed the rest of us that he really is the Prime Minister in Waiting. As far as the Bish is concerned, the script says the Tories are evil. Simple as. How on earth is such an unworldly soul going to handle the forthcoming Tory landslide? Let alone the imminent demise of bankrupt C4.
Footnote I know what you're thinking..."to immediately publish" is surely not the Queen's English. But Heather hails from the colonies (well, strictly speaking, the ex-colonies), and they have a more relaxed view of these things. For was it not the great American novelist Raymond Chandler who wrote to his publisher "Would you convey my compliments to the purist who reads your proofs and tell him or her that I write in a sort of broken-down patois which is something like the way a Swiss waiter talks, and that when I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will stay split." And he was a man educated at Dulwich College when it was still old-skool, and who worked in the British civil service when we ruled half the globe merely with the force of our grammar.