Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ukip leader Nigel Farage boasts of his £2m in expenses.

The rise of the BNP in the wake of the recent expenses scandal is of enough worry to have brought both the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to publicly warn people not to allow their disillusionment with the system lead them to supporting such extremism.

But there's a better reason for asking people not to support such blatant racists; it turns out that they have been ripping off the system even more than the other MP's whose actions they have been so loud to condemn:

During a debate about Europe at the Foreign Press Association - which was discreetly taped by the hosts - Farage was asked by former Europe minister Denis MacShane what he had received in non-salary expenses and allowances since becoming an MEP in 1999.

"It is a vast sum," Farage said. "I don't know what the total amount is but - oh lor - it must be pushing £2 million." Taken aback, MacShane then joked: "Is it too late to become an MEP?"

Farage insisted that he had not "pocketed" the money but had used the "very large sum of European taxpayers' money" to help promote Ukip's message that the UK should get out of the EU.

When asked later by the Observer to justify how he could claim so much while running a campaign attacking Westminster MPs for their extravagance, Farage was unapologetic, saying that, while MEPs were "very expensive", he was entirely happy that the money had been used for the best of causes."

Farage might flatter himself to think that he used this vast amount of money to promote his cause but it's still tax payers money and he still took this money over and above his salary.

Which makes his outrage over MP's expenses ring hollow to say the very least.

MacShane suggested that Ukip's attempt to pose as more honourable on expenses than other parties had been exposed as shameless and hollow.

"Far from being the party of the little man in Europe, Nigel Farage's astounding £2m raid on the taxpayer shows he is up there with any other politician, happy to line his pockets with gold," he said.

I think McShane sums up Farage's position on this subject perfectly: "shameless and hollow". I think that is spot on. He's effecting outrage at the sums being claimed by other MP's while claiming sums vastly in excess of the one's which he is condemning.

It takes a particular kind of brass neck to attempt to justify hypocrisy on that scale.

Click title for full article.


Tim Worstall said...

Worth understanding what that 2 million is made up of.
There is, for each and every MEP, a £240,000 a year staff allowance. This is for the necessary constituency and Brussels workers needed to do the job. The SE constituency is, for example, larger than half of the countries of the EU.

As you can also do basic multiplication you can see that we reach the 2 million figure in a decade very easily.

Tehre is no second home allowance, no furniture allowance, no maintenance etc. Just staff, office and travel.

BTW, the average MP takes £1.6 million over a decade: McShane included.

Kel said...

I don't suppose it's compulsory that one takes the entire £240,000 a year though is it? Just as it wasn't compulsory for MP's to take the maximum amount allowed for their expenses.