Simon Carr:

The Sketch: All he wanted was proper advice...

Share
Related Topics

In Parliamentary terms Tony McNulty is an overweight bully with the mentality of a thug. Yes, yes, it takes one to know one.

He came to the House to apologise for his expenses. For the life of me, I couldn't see why. Clearly he had done nothing wrong. There were some problems with "perception", he admitted, and the "appearance of benefit". But that didn't seem to be his fault. Far from it. If we are going to play the blame game, it was to the discredit of obervers who jumped to the wrong conclusion.

All he'd asked for was proper advice, the poor fellow.

There was some reference to the committe's decision that his, "mortgage as a fixed cost that didn't need to be abated". We didn't understand that. It's some sort of accounting mish-mash of jargon that just confused the issue. Bureaucrats! It was over this that the Commission were disagreeing with the Resources Office – so one of them was obviously wrong. The only blameless party was poor Tony McNulty who had come to the House to apologise for their faulty advice, delinquent oversight and perverse interpretations.

A boot-faced Jackie Smith looked down from the row behind. Her apology for marital porn on the public purse hadn't gone nearly as well, although she had been saying much the same.

The newspapers suggest Tony had been living with his parents in Harrow although he was actually living with his wife in Hammersmith so why he should be repaying £13,000 of the £60,000 he had claimed was the product of a selflessness we rarely see in public life? It's hard not to blame the Prime Minister. Habit is a powerful master. His solution to the expenses problem has been to appoint three competing investigators or authorities who have struggled to out-perform each other. One lot was so incompetent they wouldn't survive a professional audit and another has recommended a set of regulations that won't survive an employment tribunal ruling.

Prohibiting MPs from employing their wives is illegal. Employment law being what it is, these employees will be entitled to claim for wrongful dismissal and will get five years' pay. Multiply £25,000 by five years and 250 employees and you'll get enough to run any amount of TA training.

The third lot, the new overseeing body is the final indignity. Parliamentary supremacy is further confined by these civil servants – who are in turn constrained by the decisions of an employment tribunal. It's hard to imagine how much lower our sovereign body can sink.

There are democratic solutions to their problems, especially with the internet. But the instincts of our rulers go quite the other way, into the warren of commissions, authorities and tribunals.

The worse for them, in the end, I bet.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Newspaper stands have been criticised by the Child Eyes campaign  

There were more reader complaints this year – but, then again, there were more readers

Will Gore
 

People drink to shut out pain and stress. Arresting them won’t help

Deborah Coughlin
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?