Monday, November 23, 2009

Not 'Getting it'.

You really have to laugh at the sheer cheek of it - the sheer brass neck. We have read in the Telegraph that many MPs dislike the plans to cut back on their expenses, but the Montgomeryshire Liberal Democrats and their MP, Lembit Opik have really taken the top prize for not 'getting it' - and for telling Sir Christopher Kelly where to go with his proposals. One of the main conclusions of the Kelly Report was that the Communications Allowance should be scrapped. And quite right too. It was a disgraceful tax, designed in my opinion only to help incumbent MPs retain their seats. This blog has campaigned for it's abolition for years. All party leaders have accepted this Kelly recommendation without reservation. They know there is no justification whatsoever. Mr Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader has been been able to talk of little else. He even wanted to scrap the Queen's Speech to talk about it.

So what do the Montgomeryshire Lib Dems and Mr Opik do? It takes your breath away. Just before the Communications Allowance is banned, they rush out a glossy leaflet, paid for by this very same allowance ( all taxpayer's money) and post it (the postage paid for by the taxpayer) to voters in Montgomeryshire. My copy was delivered to me by my postman this morning. Never seen a more cynical 'milking of the system' in my life - demonstrating a level of 'not getting it' that deserves wider attention.

And it gets worse. They've put a photograph which includes myself on the front of it. Now I'm not sure what the reason was for this, but it means that the Communications Allowance (which I have always said is so offensive to democracy that I would never touch it) has been used to promote me. On one level, I find this to be appalling, but on another, the sheer effrontery of it is quite funny. I wonder what Nick Clegg thinks of this. The poor man must be in despair.

13 comments:

JB said...

Glyn,

Amused or not you should report him. If he obtained prior approval he shouldn't have.

Remember the redacted letter in his expenses file.

Glyn Davies said...

JB - I don't think they have broken any rules. "It was approved by the Fees Office remember". But it is outrageous, and they feel that they can get away with it, because not enough people will realise what they have done.

alanindyfed said...

More political skulduggery - it's a dirty business you are in.

Anonymous said...

I thought you looked pretty miserable in that photo Glyn. Shame everyone else seemed pretty happy in it.

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - Ah, I was wondering why they used it. Generally I try not to grin for photographs.

JB said...

Glyn,

I haven't seen the pamphlet but they should not have used your photograph without your permission.

They know this and in this particular circumstance it is reprehensible.

Following the 'Pied Piper' photo in the Montgomery Mail this is becoming too common and needs to be nipped in the bud, publicly or privately.

Glyn Davies said...

JB - Not using photographs without permission is the policy of responsible politicians - but its not the policy of the Liberal Democrats in Montgomeryshire. They know its not proper, but they just do not care. There were many others who are committed to voting for me in the recent 'newspaper' and in this leaflet. The use of my photograph does not bother me at all. In fact, it made me laugh when I saw it. What concerns me is that they have rushed out a leaflet, utilising what's left of Lembit Opik's Communocation's Allowance before it becomes illegal to do so - despite the condemnation of this despicable allowance by Sir Christopher Kelly, and Nick Clegg's noisy endorsement of the Kelly Report. Reprehensible.

YBS customer said...

I live in Llani, and it was due to Lembit that the YBS came and took over the building society. Even in your own blog Glyn you mention that you wrote to Nationwide and felt you could do nothing and left it at that. So in all fairness, the fact that you're in that photo is a bit deceptive on your behalf. So you surely cannot blame them for using the photo when you tried to get a piece of the action...?

Anonymous said...

So Opik knows no shame, and gets one last free ride before his ticket gets clipped.
"Running to form", for Lembit, but then most voters were probably unaware that there even was an allowance for "communications", let alone that such cashflow was about to be discontinued.
Apparently, with perks and allowances, some MP`s earn nearly as much as the directors the BBC.

Anonymous said...

The Lib Dems have and always will play dirty. They are under increased pressure now because they know that Lembit Grope-it's seat is under pressure. You should take this further. To the County Times and to the Electoral Commission. People locally need to be told what's going on so they can understand these below the belt tactics and see for themselves just how ugly this behaviour is. Go tell them!

Anonymous said...

Goodness, at this rate they'll be using a photo of Sian Lloyd on their electioneering pamphlet! After all, she does more than her out of control ex for the area. What a shower of chancers.......

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - Don't know who took the decision amongst the Lib Dems to use the Communication's Allowance after the Kelly announcements, but I do agree that it was shameless - and that it was taken in the confidence that very few Montgomeryshire voters will appreciate the shamelessness of it..

YBS customer - My understanding was that Angela and her team secured the deal. I know that various people, including the MP put effort into finding a replacement for Nationwide. My issue over this is nothing to do with the use of this particular photograph, but that in our office we consider it proper to ask peopel before photographs of them are used for political purposes.

Anon 2 - I'm not sufficiently concerned to take it further. But I did think it worthy of a blog post to point out the sheer shamelessness of this to those who read my blog

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - Lets not become hung up about the photograph. It genuinely amused me, and I do not think it does anything other than demonstate their willingness to do anything. In fact the photograph of Vince Cable is much worse. Recently a Conservative MP had to repay money claimed on the Communocations Allowance (before Kelly condemned it) because he included a photograph of David Cameron. Th ereal issue here is the shamelessness of using what was left in his Communications Allowance - after Kelly had condemned it. Utter shamelessness.