EDITOR'S CHAIR: Before you go Maria Miller... you still owe us 40k

Maria Miller reading an apology statement in the House of Commons in London over her parliamentary expenses. PA Wire

Maria Miller reading an apology statement in the House of Commons in London over her parliamentary expenses. PA Wire

First published in News
Last updated
South Wales Argus: NEW EDITOR: Kevin Ward by

THEY still don't get it, do they?

Maria Miller doesn't get it. She may have resigned as Culture Secretary but she blamed anyone but herself for her downfall.

David Cameron doesn't get it. He thinks if someone in his Cabinet does something wrong, the right thing to do is to give them a chance to 'get on with the job'.

Ed Miliband doesn't get it. He thinks people are angry at the government's handling of the Miller case, when they're actually furious at the behaviour of politicians in general.

I've no idea if Nick Clegg gets it. He might do, but most people gave up caring what he thinks about anything when he abandoned his principles and promises the second his nostrils picked up the scent of power.

The MPs expenses scandal just will not go away.

And the people to blame for that are MPs themselves.

There is no doubt things are better than when the scandal first hit he headlines in 2009.

But many MPs still find it abhorrent that they have to justify how much of your money they are spending on kettles and televisions.

The Miller case simply highlighted the way in which many MPs still think.

They simply cannot understand why people are angry with them. And when they are caught out they think they should be treated differently to the rest of us.

In any other job - certainly in the private sector - Mrs Miller would have been out on her ear.

But not in the cosy world of Parliament.

Let's just remind ourselves of the sequence of events in this case.

The independent parliamentary commissioner for standards investigated cleared Mrs Miller of false expenses claims. But the commissioner ruled she had over-claimed for mortgage interest and council tax on her family home and that she should pay that money back.

How much? £45,000. That's roughly twice the average annual income for Argus readers.

So did she pay it back? Of course not.

The commissioner can only make recommendations. The final say rests with the Commons' committee for standards. This body is made up of 10 MPs and three lay members.

Only the MPs get to vote. Funny that.

So Mrs Miller's mates looked at the commissioner's recommendations and effectively ignored them, ruling instead that she only had to pay back £5,800 and apologise to the Commons for her 'attitude' to the commissioner's investigations.

Mrs Miller wrote her cheque, stood up in the Commons and made the most mealy-mouthed apology you could imagine and the prime minister declared we should all 'leave it at that'.

Quite rightly, nobody did.

The public were appalled to discover that MPs were still marking their own homework. And the utter hypocrisy of having a Culture Secretary charged with implementing independent regulation of the Press benefiting from the non-independent regulation of MPs meant this story was only every going to end one way.

The last week has exposed a significant minority of MPs for what they really are - self-serving money-grabbers desperate not be accountable to the public.

Since the expenses scandal first broke in 2009, I have been a supporter and advocate of increasing the salary of MPs and ending the right to claim expenses.

It may not be a popular solution but it would clear the Commons of the stench of corruption in one fell swoop.

Give MPs a higher wage but insist that everything they do, and everyone they employ, is paid from that wage.

To me, it is the only way to treat a wound that will only continue to fester without radical surgery.

In the meantime, one final thought.

Maria Miller still owes us forty grand.

Comments (9)

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4:51pm Thu 10 Apr 14

On the inside says...

In any other job - certainly in the private sector - Mrs Miller would have been out on her ear.

You are completely wrong and you know it.

If you are so keen on protecting your readers then publish all the expense claims for you and your staff along with your rate of pay (I heard more than an AM). Don't try any of that 'public money is different' nonsense. The only place the Argus gets money from is us the general public either in direct payments or for advertised products that build the costs of advertising into the price. So come on, stop trying to pretend you are superior and tell the truth..

PS. Anyone who thinks I am simply a tory in disguise protecting Mrs Miller has never read any of my comments.
In any other job - certainly in the private sector - Mrs Miller would have been out on her ear. You are completely wrong and you know it. If you are so keen on protecting your readers then publish all the expense claims for you and your staff along with your rate of pay (I heard more than an AM). Don't try any of that 'public money is different' nonsense. The only place the Argus gets money from is us the general public either in direct payments or for advertised products that build the costs of advertising into the price. So come on, stop trying to pretend you are superior and tell the truth.. PS. Anyone who thinks I am simply a tory in disguise protecting Mrs Miller has never read any of my comments. On the inside
  • Score: -3

5:23pm Thu 10 Apr 14

Woodgnome says...

On the inside wrote:
In any other job - certainly in the private sector - Mrs Miller would have been out on her ear.

You are completely wrong and you know it.

If you are so keen on protecting your readers then publish all the expense claims for you and your staff along with your rate of pay (I heard more than an AM). Don't try any of that 'public money is different' nonsense. The only place the Argus gets money from is us the general public either in direct payments or for advertised products that build the costs of advertising into the price. So come on, stop trying to pretend you are superior and tell the truth..

PS. Anyone who thinks I am simply a tory in disguise protecting Mrs Miller has never read any of my comments.
Indeed not, you are on what used to be called the loony left. I have never read such drivel in all my life. Even the corner shop owner earns his living from public money on your analysis.
[quote][p][bold]On the inside[/bold] wrote: In any other job - certainly in the private sector - Mrs Miller would have been out on her ear. You are completely wrong and you know it. If you are so keen on protecting your readers then publish all the expense claims for you and your staff along with your rate of pay (I heard more than an AM). Don't try any of that 'public money is different' nonsense. The only place the Argus gets money from is us the general public either in direct payments or for advertised products that build the costs of advertising into the price. So come on, stop trying to pretend you are superior and tell the truth.. PS. Anyone who thinks I am simply a tory in disguise protecting Mrs Miller has never read any of my comments.[/p][/quote]Indeed not, you are on what used to be called the loony left. I have never read such drivel in all my life. Even the corner shop owner earns his living from public money on your analysis. Woodgnome
  • Score: 0

5:24pm Thu 10 Apr 14

Woodgnome says...

PS I agree with Kevin Ward on this one.
PS I agree with Kevin Ward on this one. Woodgnome
  • Score: 0

6:21pm Thu 10 Apr 14

kevlec says...

Why are the police not involved?
Is fraud not an offence?
Why are the police not involved? Is fraud not an offence? kevlec
  • Score: 0

9:44pm Thu 10 Apr 14

scraptheWAG says...

they are self serving scum like most of the political class and we in wales want more of them?
they are self serving scum like most of the political class and we in wales want more of them? scraptheWAG
  • Score: -3

8:10am Fri 11 Apr 14

Katie Re-Registered says...

To that end, this also begs the question: why just Maria Miller? I mean, I wonder when the rest of the MPs who fiddled their expenses will be pressured into resignation?

There's a theory going around that Maria Miller has been singled out, and a deliberate witch hunt has been conducted by the mostly right wing newspaper editors who dominate the British press because of her involvement with press regulation during Leveson and her responsiblity for promoting the same-sex 'equal' marriage bill.

I guess, despite the exposure of the rottenness at the heart of the British print media - their completely illegal Stasi-like surveillance tactics and their manipulation of the supposed elected representatives of the people - that politicians (and consequently the entire country) still remain puppets in the hands of an uber-privileged clique of press barons who can make-or-break nominally 'democratic' governments as surely as a junta of goldleaf bedecked generals in some dodgy 1970s Latin American banana republic. The inevitable message goes out yet again in no uncertain terms: no one messes with the media mafia.
To that end, this also begs the question: why just Maria Miller? I mean, I wonder when the rest of the MPs who fiddled their expenses will be pressured into resignation? There's a theory going around that Maria Miller has been singled out, and a deliberate witch hunt has been conducted by the mostly right wing newspaper editors who dominate the British press because of her involvement with press regulation during Leveson and her responsiblity for promoting the same-sex 'equal' marriage bill. I guess, despite the exposure of the rottenness at the heart of the British print media - their completely illegal Stasi-like surveillance tactics and their manipulation of the supposed elected representatives of the people - that politicians (and consequently the entire country) still remain puppets in the hands of an uber-privileged clique of press barons who can make-or-break nominally 'democratic' governments as surely as a junta of goldleaf bedecked generals in some dodgy 1970s Latin American banana republic. The inevitable message goes out yet again in no uncertain terms: no one messes with the media mafia. Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: 3

9:56am Fri 11 Apr 14

On the inside says...

Woodgnome wrote:
On the inside wrote:
In any other job - certainly in the private sector - Mrs Miller would have been out on her ear.

You are completely wrong and you know it.

If you are so keen on protecting your readers then publish all the expense claims for you and your staff along with your rate of pay (I heard more than an AM). Don't try any of that 'public money is different' nonsense. The only place the Argus gets money from is us the general public either in direct payments or for advertised products that build the costs of advertising into the price. So come on, stop trying to pretend you are superior and tell the truth..

PS. Anyone who thinks I am simply a tory in disguise protecting Mrs Miller has never read any of my comments.
Indeed not, you are on what used to be called the loony left. I have never read such drivel in all my life. Even the corner shop owner earns his living from public money on your analysis.
At last, you get it. Keep on protecting private interests and slagging of anything in the public sector. At least I can take comfort in the knowledge you will change your mind when you need a care home or the heath service etc then you will be saying why are these services so poor. Because of people like you who hate the state, that's why.

I notice there is no denial that the editor earns more than an AM.
[quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]On the inside[/bold] wrote: In any other job - certainly in the private sector - Mrs Miller would have been out on her ear. You are completely wrong and you know it. If you are so keen on protecting your readers then publish all the expense claims for you and your staff along with your rate of pay (I heard more than an AM). Don't try any of that 'public money is different' nonsense. The only place the Argus gets money from is us the general public either in direct payments or for advertised products that build the costs of advertising into the price. So come on, stop trying to pretend you are superior and tell the truth.. PS. Anyone who thinks I am simply a tory in disguise protecting Mrs Miller has never read any of my comments.[/p][/quote]Indeed not, you are on what used to be called the loony left. I have never read such drivel in all my life. Even the corner shop owner earns his living from public money on your analysis.[/p][/quote]At last, you get it. Keep on protecting private interests and slagging of anything in the public sector. At least I can take comfort in the knowledge you will change your mind when you need a care home or the heath service etc then you will be saying why are these services so poor. Because of people like you who hate the state, that's why. I notice there is no denial that the editor earns more than an AM. On the inside
  • Score: 1

10:07am Fri 11 Apr 14

Kevin Ward - Editor says...

On the inside
You're right - there is no denial. But then again there is also no confirmation. Because it has absolutely nothing to do with you.
If I was paid by the taxpayer, however, it would be a different matter.
But I've just checked on my expenses claims for the year to date. A grand total of £0.
Have a good day.
On the inside You're right - there is no denial. But then again there is also no confirmation. Because it has absolutely nothing to do with you. If I was paid by the taxpayer, however, it would be a different matter. But I've just checked on my expenses claims for the year to date. A grand total of £0. Have a good day. Kevin Ward - Editor
  • Score: 1

10:53am Fri 11 Apr 14

stow hill says...

Woodgnome wrote:
PS I agree with Kevin Ward on this one.
Me too. The sanctimonious, holier than thou attitude of that vile fraudster, and the pathetic 32 second whinge which merely lamented the fact she had been rumbled, when she should have given a snot-filled, grovelling, heart-felt EXPLANATION for why she felt entitled to fiddle £40 odd grand of our money is beyond. How do they think they can continue to get away with this crime without being held to account, or even been disciplined, or even pay the whole lot back? And then she has the gall to carry on regardless before resigning, not because she was nothing more than a common thief and therefore no longer fit to hold political office, but because it was attracting the wrong kind of attention to her party? The brazenness of this woman takes my breath away, it simply beggars belief.
[quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: PS I agree with Kevin Ward on this one.[/p][/quote]Me too. The sanctimonious, holier than thou attitude of that vile fraudster, and the pathetic 32 second whinge which merely lamented the fact she had been rumbled, when she should have given a snot-filled, grovelling, heart-felt EXPLANATION for why she felt entitled to fiddle £40 odd grand of our money is beyond. How do they think they can continue to get away with this crime without being held to account, or even been disciplined, or even pay the whole lot back? And then she has the gall to carry on regardless before resigning, not because she was nothing more than a common thief and therefore no longer fit to hold political office, but because it was attracting the wrong kind of attention to her party? The brazenness of this woman takes my breath away, it simply beggars belief. stow hill
  • Score: 2

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