Monday musings

11 05 2009

Apologies for the recent silence.  Last week I took Mrs J. and the Junior Jobsworths to Southwold, Suffolk, for a brief holiday.  I had every good intention of posting whilst away but couldn’t get WiFi access.  I have to admit that I didn’t try that hard either. 

Without internet access I was a bit short on employment issues to write about, apart from the one emerging political story on MPs expenses as published by the Daily Telegraph. I have been particularly struck (like with a  cricket bat) by Hazel Blear’s defence of her own failure to pay Capital Gains Tax on a residence she sold on which she was claiming expenses.  She said (as all MPs seem to be doing) that she hadn’t broken any rules but the “system was wrong”.  No one seems to have asked her at what point she realised the system was wrong; perhaps it was when she was found out? Did it not occur to her at the point she elected to choose the London flat as her main residence for CGT but not for parliamentary purposes?  She must think the electorate is stupid.

Why I am posting on this?  Simply because in an employment context any employee doing the same would probably face disciplinary proceedings and a real risk of dismissal. If you want to get rid of an employee, take a look at their expense claims is what I was once told.  What has been happening in Parliament just demonstrates how out of touch they are there. 

Rant over.




2 responses

13 05 2009
peter lawton

And what a nice place Southwold is too! Mrs L and I spent a pleasant weekend there last year – I wish I could buy Adnams marmalade locally!

Mrs L is a teacher. If she is reading this then yes, I know, you’ve given up teaching for now but your principles hold dear, dear. She says: “I would never take a pencil nor an exercise book for my own use because I know I’m taking that resource from the kids!” It’s easy to see how an employee can cross a gross misconduct threshold by being over generous in his interpretation of what constitutes a legitimate business expense but I know of few employers that would not implement some sort of expense audit, as a deterrent if not prudent cost control. Because it’s so much harder now, expense fiddlers deserve all they get!

But what sanctions really exist for these MPs!? I’ll wait until the cheque waving dies down and see. Mrs L’s pencil analogy has more poke here because the cost of moat-dredging and home-flipping probably does mean fewer hospital beds and fewer teachers, …

I agree MPs are out of touch but there is no excuse for them being out of common and moral sense.

13 05 2009

But never mind the kids and the peasants, Peter, moats are damned expensive to maintain. And having a second home is just such a drain. People just don’t understand …

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