Friday, 8 May 2009

Expenses: The difference between "Should" and "Could"

As we see more revelations about expenses, the world's smallest violin is hired by MPs to plead their case, how it was "within the rules" or other such excuses. Some genuine mistakes will have happened, there is no doubt about that, but the issue here is not about those genuine mistakes if they were corrected before the universal publication process began. It is about the mindset of those who claimed.

A government can do many things - it can declare war, it can decide to detain for 42 days, it can take money discovered in a search without just cause, it can arrest people using badly drafted legislation intended - if one is charitable - for entirely different purposes.

That is not the point of Government. A Government is not about what it can or could do, but what it should do.

MPs claiming their expenses are expected to only claim what they should, not what they could. Being "within the rules" does not cut it just as a Government saying that such an arrest or fine is "within the rules". We are talking beyond statutes and mere legislation, back to what is lawful, what is just. Claiming expenses for fixtures to improve the value of private property is, lets face it, theft - for right now second homes are often the MP's private property. Juggling nominal residency to enable significant claims to be made to private property is something that could be done (and was), but it should NOT have been done. It is especially damning when the status of that property is not reflected in other declarations that would otherwise have a negative impact in terms of taxation.

We have a Cabinet and a House full of MPs who cannot tell the difference between what they could do and what they should do. And they think they are worthy and capable of representing us?

We need a Government that focuses on what it should be doing - upholding Rule of Law and defending our borders. It could take from the poor so it can hand it back to the poor, but what it should be doing is not taxing the poor in the first place. A Government could aim to monitor all our communications and movements, but what it should be doing is focusing on probable cause and using warrants gained by explaining their reasons to a judge, an historic limitation upon the power of the State. A Government could seize control of almost every Hospital and School in the land and force people to pay for their upkeep under threat of imprisonment, but then it should release them to be run themselves so people can choose and experts can advise those who wish to use them.

We need a Government that knows the difference between should and could. We need a Government that knows the difference between consent and coercion. That Government is a Libertarian Party Government, the Government of Consent.


marksany said...

Roger, I think you can now safely remove "borderline" from your blog's header.

Good post too.

Roger Thornhill said...

Strangely enough, I was thinking just that yesterday when this all broke.

And some time in the past I had a juvenile Trot bleat about how ridiculous such a term was.