Back at home again after another day getting leaflets out. Interestingly in strong Labour areas that I last did when I was PPC in the constituency there is much less hostility (in fact none to speak of) towards the Conservatives.
Having said that I have no doubt that turnout will be extremely low, apart from in divisions or in the Euros where a candidate can say they are not from the established parties. Why is that? Its because now everyone who has just a passing interest in politics believes anyone who is invovled, or indeed wants to be invovled is crooked. That includes Councillors, County councillors and mere candidates.
I have never been elected – so I guess that means I’ve never even been able to claim political expenses. I think when I worked for Boots we were allowed say £20 for a meal if there was an overnight stay, and once I made sure I spent the full £20 in M and S… though regretted it after stuffing my face on mini chocolate rolls if memory serves me correctly.
What politicians have done is the same, but on a huge huge scale. They have claimed for anything they can possibly get signed off, and they have claimed up the limit. Are they wrong. Morally yes. But what is worse is the system that allows for those expenses to be signed off. Who thought it was OK to sign off an expense to have a moat cleared? Who can honestly say they forgot their mortgage was paid off? Come on.. where are the checks and balances?
I really feel sorry for those MPs – and there are hundreds of them – who have done nothing wrong, but will get the same scorn from their local electorate.
I feel worse for colleagues who at the moment are pounding the streets in the county elections, and dare I say it even opponents, who are having their knuckles scratched by letter boxes, and having to avoid dogs sliding towards their fingers due to laminate flooring all because they may just believe in democracy. Will some be in it fto milk the system. Yes. Just like in any profession. But are they all bad. No.
So a big thank you to all those MPs who have given us a bad name. You have made my efforts over the next few weeks so much harder!