Monday, 3 April 2017

Parliamentary watchdogs?As if

The news that the chairman of the committee of standards in public life reacted to Osborne`s shameless greed by saying ," We have not ruled out MPs having second jobs up until now, but we now have to look again at our rules", is only slightly encouraging (Morning Star,20/03/17). With far too many MPs having lucrative second jobs, major changes are unlikely: Lord Bew`s response should be seen as rhetoric rather than serious policy.
     The fact is that the breed, previously known as "parliamentary watchdogs" is now extinct, with the much more obedient cockapoo taking over. Of course, editing the London Evening Standard and being a worthwhile MP is impossible, and Osborne might get a reprimand, but only because the Tory brand is being brought into disrepute.
       Osborne accepted the editorship without first receiving official permission from the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, which apparently scrutinises commercial positions for former ministers. Doesn`t this reveal the irrelevance of this toothless committee? "Watchdog" indeed!

       The idea that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority is actually the MPs` "expenses watchdog" is equally misleading, especially judging by its recent decision regarding MPs employing family members. Members of MPs` families who are already employed  will be allowed to continue to work after 2020, so the widespread practice, despite receiving widespread criticism from the public, will continue; the ban only applies after 2020 to "new connected parties"!
   That it`s acceptable for over one hundred MPs to continue to employ relatives at the taxpayers` expense, even though Ipsa admitted that it`s "out of step with modern employment practice", beggars belief. Yet more cockapoo poo!

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