Saturday, 17 July 2010

Don't Kick A Man When He's the Last One Standing



Yesterday I was rightly reprimanded by one of my readers for not mentioning David Mundell and his current problems. My quick reply was that I'd always been told never to kick a man when he's the last one standing, but in Mr Mundell's case he's the only one standing, so I will make an exception.

Police have confirmed they are investigating a complaint of an alleged breach of election expenses rules by Scotland's only Tory MP. It follows a weekend report in the Sunday Herald that a bill for £799 had been omitted from Mr Mundell's campaign costs. Dumfries and Galloway constabulary said it had been asked to investigate.

Mr Mundell said a mistake had been made in completing expense forms but this was due "solely to human error" and was "not any attempt to mislead". He continued, "Such mistakes are not uncommon in election returns and there are established procedures for dealing with them".

Mr Mundell informed the electoral commission, who have an interest in such matters, as soon as it was drawn to his attention.

What is it with MPs that they can't fill in a form? They're very fortunate because they will possibly never have to apply for the likes of pension credit or any of these means-tested benefits which require the applicant to complete pages of personal detail.

As for the matter being brought to the attention of the electoral commission - this seems to be the standard defence from those found out. The electoral commission will slap him on the wrist and say, "naughty boy, don't do it again" and that will be that. Will his admission that he's committed this fraud cause him future problems? I doubt it even although this isn't the first time he's had problems with his expenses.


19 comments:

Witterings From Witney said...

SR, pedancy I know but....

"What is it with MPs that they can't fill in a form?"

Unless a candidate is acting as his own election agent, it is the latter who 'fills in the forms'. Agreed the candidate has to 'sign them off', however just for the record.........

If this is another 'Goldsmith' then yes it should be investigated and more than a slapped wrist administered.

subrosa said...

Ah WFW, I sit corrected. I should have said 'what is it with MPs who can't understand a completed form' in Mundell's case.

Mundell admits it happened, Goldsmith doesn't. That's the difference WFW.

Witterings From Witney said...

Your comment re Mundell vs Goldsmith accepted SR and no disagreement over that.

Is there no end to political incompetence? Obviously not!

Munguin said...

Poor old fluffy! But I agree with you S/R so give them no quarter.

On the Goldsmith issue (S/R I apologise for going off on a tangent) I see it is all over the Lib Dem blogosphere like they have won a major victory or something. The hectoring of Jon Snow apart I thought the man made a few good points. He claimed that a prominent Lib Dem blogger said that if he was guilty they all were. Funnily enough my troll through Lib Dem blogs this morning picked up nothing on this. He also said that if all expenses were factored in the election budget would be wiped out. That’s a fair point I think. And are no Lib Dems being investigated for similar creative accounting? And finally I’m sick of these political parties getting on their proverbial high horses over things like this when they have an equally bad skeleton in their own cupboards. Did the Lib Dems not accept a huge donation from a convicted fraudster and refuse to give it back to the people he stole it from? Was that not their largest private donation to date?

JRB said...

Honest officer I did not mean to speed in my car this was due “solely to human error”
There was "not any attempt to mislead" and "such mistakes are not uncommon in road traffic accidents”

Honest officer I did not mean to beat my wife this was due “solely to human error”
There was "not any attempt to mislead" and "such mistakes are not uncommon in domestic affairs”

Honest officer I did not mean to cheat on my expenses this was due “solely to human error”
There was "not any attempt to mislead" and "such mistakes are not uncommon in election returns”

Who do you think might get away with it?

Oldrightie said...

I suggest Mr Mundell's position compares favourably with that of Labours' bungs to the unions, Subrosa. Or possibly Blair's Gadaffi links.

subrosa said...

Aye Munguin that is a fair point. I know candidates become concerned about these election expenses. Someone somewhere will be investigating the libdems no doubt. Give them a few weeks. :)

It was their largest private donation to date as far as I recall.

Mundell's 'owned up' but that's purely because he's been found out to be rather incompetent. Surely, with his experience, he knew what mattered and what didn't in these expenses.

subrosa said...

Morning John. Auch, you do like to pose such difficult questions on a relaxing Saturday morning.

Let me take a guess. Maybe no 3?

subrosa said...

Oh OR, I don't think he's in that league at all. Union bungs are big boys stuff.

tris said...

I agree SR. Mundell must have signed these things off, or at least appointed the person who did.

The fact that it is common that there are errors in the expenses forms is a question that I'd like investigated across all the political parties. I wonder how often the error is on the other side.

How true too that a large number of MPs/their staff seem to be incapable of filling in a relatively simple form. It is indeed as well they will always be too rich to have to manage any government forms, and it's no wonder that people like Alistair Darling had to employ people to fill tax forms for him despite his being the Finance Minister.

As for the idea that oor Tory took photographs of himself... Eeeek! Why? Was that wise? Would his best plan not have been to have as few photos as possible of himself around?

OR: I take your point but a theft is a theft, a thief is a thief and a cheat is a cheat, whether it is £1,000 or a billion. And villains though Labour may be, their massive crimes should not preclude forever the pointing out of other, less awful errors (or if they do, can I confess here and now to all mine?)

:)

subrosa said...

You know Tris, I'd volunteer to scrutinise MPs' claims. Totally impartially of course and for no charge other than my expenses. Oh, of course I'd perhaps need a 4 bedroomed house to live in while I'm doing it, complete with cleaner and gardener. :)

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

They're politicians - by definition they can't get anything right - take responsibility for anything they promised to get right - nor be held accountable for any thing they reported as having gone right when in fact it hadn't.

subrosa said...

Yoohoo RA, you're spot on. Yet they make our laws and we're supposed to live in a democracy.

tris said...

Expect you'd need an assistant SR.

I's apply...

I'd only need a three-bedroomed house, with a cook and cleaner (I'd not expect to have heavy duties so I could do the gardening myself, to save the taxpayer money)

;)

subrosa said...

Oh Tris, you've misjudged me. You'd have very heavy duties. After all, who's going to organise my staff and my routine? I doubt if you'd have much time for gardening. Most politicians and their staff say they work 18 hours a day and seven days a week.

I wish.

tris said...

Oh dear. It appears I got the wrong end of the stick. I thought you'd sit around and not do much, except fill in your expenses forms and moan about the standards authority... and I'd be able to...well, no nothing much...as it were....

Erm... can I withdraw my application....? Please?

subrosa said...

Ok, ok, but I'm not paying you interview expenses. Yes I know I did say I'd given you £1000 but there's nothing in writing so I'll keep it for myself. Must be a form somewhere that I can doctor...

tris said...

You said £5,000... and I chartered a jet specially.

You'd make a good politician, going back on your word and doctoring forms...

I'll report you to the Parliamentary Standards Committee.... like that's gonna make a difference....

;)

subrosa said...

I'd better do some bowing and scraping then Tris. (Being polite because it's Sunday). :)

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