Friday, 11 February 2011

Posers and Criminals



Yesterday was a good day for some politicians and not for others, as is perhaps usually the case.  While Westminster MPs boasted 'we stood up to Europe' by rejecting the European Court's ruling that prisoners must get the vote, one Labour MP was sentenced to a year's imprisonment for fraud and another found guilty of the same offence.  The only difference was they used slightly diverse styles in their efforts to steal public money.

We all know that yesterday's vote carries no weight and is mere posturing. Until the UK is willing to comply with ECHR's ruling, they will be delighted to relieve us of considerable sums of money, classed as fines.  There's the matter of compensation claims to consider too but that won't worry the believers in the Human Rights Act which David Cameron said he would revise.
  
Disgraced Labour MP, Eric Illsley, was jailed for a year yesterday for fiddling his parliamentary expenses.  The former Labour MP, Jim Devine, was found guilty of making false expense claims at the same court.  He will be sentenced in four weeks.  How the man managed to get anywhere near the House of Commons defeats me but he appears to have worked his way through the labour party system of being 'somebody' in the unions.

A question was posed to me this week.

'Bearing in mind in mind that charges and convictions generally represent only a fraction of criminal activity, it does seem that either:

1  A high proportion of the political class is drawn to crime
                                         or 
2  A high proportion of the criminal class is drawn to politics'

I've yet to give my answer but this blog may be some help for some of you.

31 comments:

William said...

Jim Devine looks like Lieutenant Worf from Star Trek in that picture.

Oldrightie said...

It's number one, no doubt in my mind. They have so little to do they get bored.

JRB said...

I must confess to being greatly taken by the new question you pose -

“it does seem that either:

1 A high proportion of the political class is drawn to crime
or
2 A high proportion of the criminal class is drawn to politics”


Such a ‘great imponderable’ could occupy the minds of prominent intellectuals, political commentators, media columnists and humble bloggers for years to come.

… but, like all things political – will we ever get an honest answer?

Woodsy42 said...

Subrose, maybe 1 AND 2 are correct, they are not exclusive!

Billy said...

I'm afraid as some people have already commented elsewhere if this had been in Scotland he would not have even been investigated, the media would not have bothered reporting it and he would have carried on being a corrupt politician.

That is how corrupt it is up here in Scotland as we have found out here in Renfrewshire trying to get these corrupt councillors, MPs ect into the courts - only one so far the Councillor Tommy Williams case. But we do not give up because the people covering up will be outed as well and hopefully join them.

subrosa said...

Is that a compliment William? I'm not a Trekkie.

subrosa said...

Good answer OR.

RMcGeddon said...

It hasn't been very good for the Lib Dems either SR. Apart from their problems nationally they had a very poor showing at a council election in Scotland. I just heard a snippet on the radio but it said the LibDem guy got 93 votes compared to SNP and Independent who got about 1200 votes each . I'm not sure which council it was but if that's reproduced at the May elections it could be wipeout for the LibDems.

subrosa said...

It's not my question John, it was posed to me by Edward. I'm thinking the answer is more along the lines of No 1 when you do the maths and read the blog I recommended.

subrosa said...

No they're certainly not Woodsy. It's a hard call isn't it.

subrosa said...

Very true Billy. So much goes on here and is covered up.

Keep at it Billy. They think they're protected in their little bubble but that's only because most of us are so disinterested and don't take note of what they're doing.

English Pensioner said...

I'm very old fashioned, but I believe it all started as soon as politicians started to get paid and draw expenses; no longer did they stand for election in the belief that they had something to offer to society but because it could be a career.
At the time of the expenses scandal, one of the papers quoted an MP in the 1920's writing to his local rag telling his constituents that he has unexpectedly received a sum of money from the authorities for his service and that as he had stood for parliament to try to help his constituents, and had not expected payment, he would be giving the cheque to the local hospital. I wonder how many think like that these days?

Strathturret said...

Carnousie election Angus Council Lib dems got 93 votes. Labour and Tories showed pretty poorly too.

How did anyone as stupid as Devine ever become an MP? Labour in Scotland should hang its head in shame at selecting this incompetent idiot.

Joe Public said...

My MP was a troughing thief, and submitted numerous, consecutive false claims.

A vigilant constituent examined every claim & complained to the authorities. He had to repay £3k because the large majority of monthly claims over a 4 year period were ineligible.

Local voters comprehensively rejected him last year.

Recent WikiLeaks have now shown he was a liar too.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Have you ever considered the puacity of information we're given as to the character of the people who offer themselves for public office?

From PM to parish councillors these people offer themselves or are proposed by institutions with no relevant check as to their character traits, competence or psychiatric assesment of their moral or social mores.

We are given none of this information to analyse prior to deciding whether to vote for or reject them.

Given that these people -certainly the ones reaching for the higher echelons - are able to yield great power legislatively and socially, isn't this a glaring gap beyond the normal parameters of trust.

Especially when these are the same people who legislate that anybody caring for the old or young must submit to a criminal records check?

Hypocricy or oxymoron; I'll leave that conclusion up to you.

subrosa said...

I must be old fashioned too EP because I agree with you. It's particularly evident here since councillors were paid. The quality of interest in their electorate has been lost.

None would think like that these days. Not one.

subrosa said...

He's labour and came through the union ranks Strathturret. Was obviously a yes man and could be easily manipulated by the chiefs.

subrosa said...

Every one of them should have been investigated by the police Joe. Just charging a few isn't enough for me.

subrosa said...

RA, I've thought that often and voiced it often when I was involved in politics years ago. I was often told 'ask them then' but many people never actually meet politicians to ask them such questions.

They should provide a CV. It's only another job these days anyway isn't it. A very well paid one right enough.

subrosa said...

Oh I should have added RA, well paid and perhaps the only job in the land which doesn't require any qualifications of any kind.

No wonder the likes of Devine saw his opportunity.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Not quite Rosa; it could be argued they do have qualities.

Unfortunately they are qualities most of us would be ashamed to possess.

Jo G said...

Devine has paid the price of dishonesty.

I knew him a long time ago when he was with UNISON and I have to say that in those days there was no sign of worrying traits like those that have emerged since he embraced full on politics as an MP. He was also a lot slimmer. I don't know what shocked me more when I saw him in later years because the transformation was incredible.

In the days when I knew him I was involved in working with others for the benefit of people with Learning Disabilities who were leaving long-stay hospitals to live in the community. Jim Devine was enormously supportive in providing lots of background information and advice on the whole issue of Community Care. He gave his time freely to us, who were not members of UNISON, in order to make sure we were informed. I remember being really grateful at the time.

It is really sad to see what happened to him later.

I also think that a few MPs escaped very lightly who should have been in court too. Those who attempted to evade Capital Gains Taxes by flipping second homes and then selling them without declaring the profit to the taxman are equally guilty of fraud. Some were allowed to wave cheques about once they were rumbled. They were guilty of fraud however and they should have been charged too.

subrosa said...

As always you're right RA. I should have remembered the true definition of quality.

subrosa said...

Jo, that's the first positive comment I've heard about Jim Devine and the first insight I had of him was his Channel 4 interview in which he seemed like a badly educated fool.

Others call him a heavy drinker, a womaniser and a spendthrift. It seems he's recently divorced if he paid off his divorce lawyers. That's possibly the worst thing that could have happened to him in recent years as he just appears to be a child in adult clothing now.

Entirely agree. Anyone who broke the Green Book rules (and I understand they're very specific) should be charged. Makes a mockery of the English justice system charging just a few.

Jo G said...

Yes, Subrosa, when I heard him interviewed I actually found it painful to listen as he seemed to me a completely different man to the one I knew round about 1995-ish.

His appearance now has altered as I said earlier and I think it tells its own story really. My mum would have said "The debauchery is looking right out of him." but I think if there is a serious drink problem in there then that tells its own story too.

I'm sad for him, I'm disappointed in him and there are no excuses that can be made. What I find unacceptable tho are his former "colleagues" in his Party who are all holier than thou. Hundreds of MPs were referred on the expenses business. They were all at it and that is a fact. I bet many breathed sighs of relief that they escaped charges. I think many shouldn't have.

Devine is guilty and is obviously in the wrong and he'll now do time. I hope he gets to serve his time and maybe spend the time recovering from a lot of stuff. I hope he gets peace to pay his dues. His political life is over but I knew a Jim Devine who had genuine concerns for the vulnerable. Maybe he will find that person again. I will always be grateful to him for the help he gave me at the time.

Jo G said...

I'm just thinking of the many Labour people who went to Westminster to gain many things but did so many intend the gains to include stones and stones of flab?

subrosa said...

It was excruciating wasn't it Jo. Perhaps he's well out of politics. He doesn't seem to have the guile it would appear. Maybe his time in prison will give him time to reflect on better things he can do with his life.

Entirely agree. Each and every one of them were at it. He was the sacrifice and his 'pals' even let him down in court. No surprises there of course for us who see the behaviour of labour every week.

Jo G said...

Sad then Subrosa to see the female at the centre of another case involving Devine selling her story to a newspaper this weekend. In my view she is beneath contempt. She had her hearing and verdict already. To sell her story to the press makes her every bit as disgusting as some people say Devine is. In fact, I would say she is worse and I would also say there should be laws preventing her to selling her sordid stories to the press.

subrosa said...

I missed her story Jo. Have you a link? I could tell you many stories about people connected with politics and bore you silly.

Strathturret said...

An employment tribunal ordered Devine to pay his ex-employee £35,000 I think. He's not paid and she has got a legal order on him to prevent him disposing of his house.

If she sold her story to the press-so what. She is in the right I think.

subrosa said...

Aye, I'd agree she was in the right. She seems to have run the whole show for him while he did his work in the Stranger's Bar.

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