Thursday, March 13, 2008

£750 for a cd player?

The BBC seems rather excited, and rightly so, by the news that MPs full expenses will be published, and we're not just talking general terms but the infamous list on what the maximum that they can claim for things in their second homes. One thing that stuck out for me is £35 per square metre for flooring.

£35?!?! You can get a perfectly good floor for £15 to £20. Hell if this is your "second" home why do you need to spend that much money? It's effectively a crash pad for Christ's sake! It's not where they live, it's where they sleep. I'm not going to make a comment on who they might be sleeping with of course.

The so-called John Lewis List is based, presumably, upon the idea that John Lewis is "never knowingly undersold. Errr reality check, John Lewis is always undersold unless you tell them first. So £750 for a stereo is just taking the piss..... OK? Most of the "top" brands make all the "cheap" brands anyway. Take a look at Wharfdale televisions. They're just Toshiba's but cheaper.

It's like buying a car from GM Motors. You could buy the top-end badge, or you could buy the bottom-end badge but an identical car. I mean, £300 for a 'free standing mirror'? Come off it, I'm looking at a full length mirror on the wall right now, it was probably £50 from Ikea, maybe even less. And guess what.... it's a mirror. It mirrors things OK. It doesn't do anything special that justifies a £300 price tag.

Frankly, the list is absolutely absurd. Fifty quid for a shredder? You can get one in Argos for less than £8. 'Ahh' but they will say, 'it only does five sheets at a time!' Fine. Shop around. It's what normal people do. The fact there is a list at all is disgusting, Start submitting receipts and justify them.

Us proles live in the real world. If you want to represent us, then start living there with us too.
Note: Rant over
More: Nick Robinson


Anonymous said...

Why should we be kitting out their second homes at all? We make the super poor BORROW from the social fund in order to buy the cheapest of basic essentials to kit out their MAIN residences for god's sake. This is beyond outrageous. It's up with "let them eat cake".

Anonymous said...

NuLab has decided to neutralise sleaze (cash for peerages, Abrahams etc.) as an issue by making sure that all politicians are held in equal contempt.

And we are falling for it.


Anonymous said...

But why do they need second homes in London?

They have most of the Summer off, then go off on a party Jolly in the Autumn and Spring.

They have even have half term holidays plus all the public Holidays. They have already gone off for their L O N G Easter break.

Every week end is a long weekend.

FFS they are hardly ever there.

Wouldn't it make much more sense to just give them a state built accomodation block and canteen near the Houses of Parliament, where they can crash out on the rare occaisions that they are actually in London?

dreamingspire said...

They need a cross-cut shredder, which you can't get for much less than £50. I know, I tried.

Barnacle Bill said...

Don't forget these are "special" people and you couldn't expect them to shop anywhere else.
But look at the potential profit there is in these second homes when they come to sell them - all funded by us!
No the Sally Army should open a hostel near to Parliament, and let the bastards stop there when their in town.

Anonymous said...

But won't they have access to a myriad of shredders at their place of work? Or is Mr speaker and his boys using them 24/7 getting rid of the evidence?

Andy said...

I do see the BBC revelling in all of this though! I guess the more that they are able to diminish the respectability of parliament, the less people will focus on the shenanigans and genuine fraud at the European Parliament. Equally, by diminishing public opinion of parliament the Beeb are able to soften people up for further loss of powers to the Euro Parliament.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to do a line by line comparison between the MPs list and that used by the DWP for the community care grant. I think there would be a lot of blank space though. I had to completely furnish my council flat out of a grant far less than they can spend on a telly and I still don’t have a proper bed, cooker, floor coverings…….

Old BE said...

You can get cross-cut shredders from Rymans for about £20. I know, I did.

How many "ordinary" people can afford to spend £10k on a kitchen?

Anonymous said...

They shouldn't be getting money to buy second homes at all. All they need is an allowance to rent a modest furnished flat in London. When they stop being MPs they have to give up the flat. Expenses should be permitted only as allowed under Inland Revenue rules. Public transport to be used at all times: economy air fares, 2nd class rail tickets, buses if cheaper and taxis only after midnight. That's it. If that means they have to live life and pay the same costs the rest of us proles have to, so much the better.

Anonymous said...

As you say, MP's only really need a second home in London as a place to sleep at night, rather than returning to their constituency.

So the simple solution would be: build a 650 bed apartment block somewhere within tube-reach of Parliament, that has basic rooms (one per MP). The MP gets a room on election, pays a basic rent for upkeep, and gives the keys back on retirement from Parliament. Since most of our MP's seem to be of a Socialist persuasion this seems an eminently egalitarian way of doing things. They can then sell their second home and donate the money to help defray some of the initial costs in setting up their new lodgings.

Raymond Griffin

Not a sheep said...

I believe that such a "crash pad"/dormitory exists for Indian MPs staying in Delhi. What you must realise is that our MPs are far too grand for anything other than the best.

Anonymous said...

So the simple solution would be: build a 650 bed apartment block somewhere within tube-reach of Parliament, that has basic rooms (one per MP).

How the hell would they be able to shag their secretary??

Anonymous said...

I reckon Robin Hood Gardens, in tower Hamlets would make the ideal MP's barracks.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous 11:33

Why should MP's get the best housing in the borough too?

What about the rest of us living in shit TH council housing? Still, it is one up from where I was before - on the street.

Anonymous said...

Stuff I bought in John Lewis was always cheap for that exact same thing. Of course, as you say, you can get stuff made by the same people under different brands in other stores (and John Lewis not stock that stuff) but that's a manufacturer ploy, not a retail weakness of stores like John Lewis.

Personally, I don't think the problem with government is that its representatives are paid too much or that they have lives that are too luxurious. The problem with government is that they won't leave well enough alone and that'd be the same how ever much or little they were paid, because as long as voters bleat like lost lambs every time life hands them a swift rap to the testicles, there'll be some do-gooding busybody twat MP promising to protect them from the rigours of life, all at taxpayer expense.

Andrew said...

My MP is 571st on the 2006/7 additional expenses list…come and play expenses ‘top trumps’ if yours beats that…

Sad that an MP can deck out thier second home with more luxury than many of their constituents can manage on thier only home.

Nich Starling said...

I bought my TV from John Lewis. I fyou bundle in the cost of a 5 year warranty, it was cheaper than Currys.

Unsworth said...

Yes 'knowingly' is a very handy get out clause. I use it quite often myself. Of course John Lewis stores stock every brand of every item 'known' to man, don't they? No wonder the kitchen costs £10k and the bed costs £1k.

It seems that this wheeze was dreamed up by Andrew Walker, House of Commons Director General of Resources (apparently!).

I wonder where he does his shopping?