British MP's have done their fair share of looting in the past...

I watched some of the House of Commons debate on the British riots last night. It wasn't so much a debate though but a chance for the representatives of the British establishment to go 'Garumph!' while blowing smoke out of their ears.

The response of the capitalist state has been thoroughly predictable - there will be wider and tougher police powers available. including the use of water cannon.

It also includes a possible huge violation of democratic rights with the Tory Government planning to block and curtail use of various social network sites including Twitter and Facebook. It's been claimed, without any real evidence being produced, that the rioters used the social networking sites to keep one step ahead of the police.

Said Cameron: 'So we are working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality. I have also asked the police if they need any other new powers.'

Cameron wants to have it both ways: the rioters were a disorganised mob of criminals and a organised army of criminals.

Across the Middle East, brutal, authoritarian regimes took similar action against communications in the face of unprecedented unrest, blocking Facebook, Twitter, and in many cases cutting off Internet and mobile phone access altogether, but all this did was make the regimes’ problems even worse - until they eventually collapsed.

The crackdown, of course, will fail. It will fail because the Tory Government - and the Labour Party - will not accept that the riots nave erupted out of many years of poverty and social distress. The austerity policies introduced last year have been the spark that lit the bonfire of pent-up anger and frustration.

West Indian broadcaster and journalist Darcus Howe told the BBC that the politicians didn't know what was going on and Cameron amply confirmed Howe's observation in Parliament.

With both eyes firmly focused on the polls, he tubthumped that the riots were the result of bad parenting, no discipline, no respect for authority, a 'indulgent' welfare system, blah blah blah. We've all heard this kind of moralistic claptrap before from the likes of John Key, Paula Bennett, Michael Laws and John Tamihere.

According to Cameron, the problems are not rooted in the dismal economic conditions. Joe decided to nick that pair of Nike trainers not because he hasn't had a job in years and because the Minister of Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan-Smith has further cut his benefit. No, its because he's just a rotten kid with even worse parents - and he will be appearing on the Jeremy Kyle Show next week.

Labour had a chance to attack this bigotry but it didn't. Remember - we're talking a Labour Party that agrees with the austerity cuts. It just thinks they should be introduced more slowly.

So Labour's only 'complaint' was that police numbers were being cut. Nothing was said about the savage cuts in welfare, education or health. In many ways, Labour leader Ed Miliband's dismal performance annoyed me more than Cameron's. To think that his father was a proud revolutionary socialist.

But what inflamed me more late on a Thursday night was the sheer hypocrisy of it all.

There was David Cameron and his Parliamentary Gang setting themselves up as the arbiters of all that is good and decent.

The Education Secretary Michael Gove could be seen cheering on Cameron. This is the same Michael Gove who couldn't quite work out which of his two houses he lived in and helped himself to £7000 from the public coffers - money he was not entitled to.

On the BBC this week he said: 'There are people in tough circumstances who would never think of stealing.'

Gove, despite being exceedingly wealthy , didn't hesitate to nick more money from the public purse.

Another Tory MP, Hazel Blears, has also been busy denouncing the rioters. In 2004 she sold her flat in Kensington for a £45,000 profit. She designated the flat as her second home, allowing her to claim thousands of pounds in mortgage interest and running costs.

But the MP, who isn't related to Bill English, did not pay any capital gains tax on the profit because she told the taxman it was her main home.

On being asked about why she designated the flat as a second home for expenses but as her main residence for the taxman.she said “I understand entirely why the public hates this.'

She also spent time in one London’s most fashionable hotels paid for from public funds.

And Labour MP Gerald Kaufman has done his fair share of looting as well.

In 2009 Sir Gerald charged the taxpayer £1,851 for a rug he imported from a New York antiques centre and tried to claim £8,865 for a television.

He also charged to the taxpayer £28,834 for work on the kitchen and bathroom at his London flat. He told the media that the work was necessary because 'he was living in a slum', though his second home, off Regent’s Park, is in one of the most fashionable areas of London and is worth in the region of £3 million.

Also in 2009 he blamed his ‘obsessive compulsive disorder’ for claiming £220 on expenses for a pair of Waterford crystal bowls.

Explaining why he needed two Waterford bowls, Sir Gerald said: 'As part of my OCD, I have the same breakfast when I'm at home both in London and Manchester every day.'

Totttenham Labour MP David Lammy claimed £173,922 in expenses last year, more than any other MP.

In 2004, he claimed £12,041 in expenses for a second home in South London, despite the fact that his main home was only a thirty minute tube journey from Parliament.

He has called on Blackberry to shut down its mobile messaging service.

The list of British MP's who have looted the taxpayer of money is a long and inglorious one. Time to turn the water cannons on them, you reckon?


  1. Genteel looting is so much more acceptable (nicer) that uncouth looting. The latter attacts the wrong class of people.


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