Sean Mallory with a wry look at the fiddlers on the hill.
“Sure they’re all at it, one’s as bad as the other!”
Much ado about nothing has recently been made about something that wasn’t something unknown to the public – the expenses of our elected representatives. Spotlight in two successive documentaries highlighted the immoral and unethical behaviour of the elected Parties with more emphasis on SF, less on the DUP and even less on the SDLP, while Alliance failed to poll any criticism at all. Which makes me think that they are either really clever at covering their expenses or more closer to the truth is that that they are simply following by the rules and haven’t copped on yet how to fiddle the system.
The ‘others’ behaviour in claiming expenses to such great amounts is really nothing more than immoral and unethical behaviour. Where funding is concerned, both Parties continue to teeter on the verge of legal/illegal behaviour quite often but very few times, if any, have they actually fallen over. And so any attempt at a criminal investigation to indict any of the two main offenders is futile and most likely will flounder, costing the public purse more money and undoubtedly a great deal of time. Also, and more importantly both parties have now firmly established ‘contacts’ within the various bodies of authority that can be called upon to aid their plight when the need arises.
For instance, the recent Assembly report by the Committee on Standards and Privileges has cleared Mr Robinson and found Mrs Robinson in breach of a small behavioural manner ..... something to do with fraud or something silly like that! The report, itself has been severely criticised for the restrictive nature of its remit which it would seem has been engineered to ensure that Mr Robinson would be exonerated. However, Mrs Robinson will continue to ensure that Mr Robinson suffers acute embarrassment of her affair since, with regards to publicity, she continues to profit more from her fraudulent actions more so than him. And quite possibly, judging by his ethics this is what most likely angsts him the most.
The report itself, has been heavily redacted as it contains classified information in the Shoot to Kill policy adopted by the RUC in the 1980’s – NO IT DOESN’T!!!!!, it is a report in to Standards and Privileges, not British National Security so why was it redacted?
The detrimental affect the report could have had on Iris’s severe bouts of depression from either being caught with her finger in the till or from pining for her lover, we have never been told which, has been stated as one of the main reasons for redacting the report. The ‘public’ does demand a report that reflects the impeccability of the Standards and Privileges Committee and its operating procedures. But such values as truth, honesty and accuracy can all be ‘set aside’ if they may have the detrimental effect of causing Iris to suffer a relapse and suffering from diminished responsibility and any laws binding funding by public monies, prey upon any unsuspecting 19 year old with the inclination to open a café! This is something that all MLAs should bear in mind if ever they find themselves in the future hauled in front of that same reputable inquisitor – the Committee for Standards and Privileges – just claim insanity and you’ll be fine!
SF has been highlighted as the party that has profited the most from their actions. Secret and undefined, almost intangible, are the various ‘societies’ that they have secreted monies to as payment for rents and consultation services and on an organisational wide basis. But they, unlike the DUP, have made it unofficial Party policy. The trail of funds, once transferred to these societies soon goes cold and we can only second guess what the end purpose of these funds is. Some hint at election funding in the South.
The DUP’s money laundering activities haven’t been organised across their party but is restricted to the personal degree of greed of the individual. So that’s apparently not as bad as being unofficial party policy although it does tend to crumble when you have a party, the majority of which is made up of greedy bastards and bollocks!
Naturally the public are angry or so we have been told. With reference to Nationalists, they generally tend to perceive that it’s “the Brits money” so grab as much of it as you can. And so they distinguish the taking of monies from the British Exchequer as fair game irrespective of how that is achieved. To quite a lot of them, SF hasn’t done anything wrong or as they say, ‘fair play to them’.
However, supporters of Unionism and all things British, on the other hand, find this behaviour greedy, unsavoury and very close to criminality, not just morally or ethically incorrect ... much closer than their elected representatives would care to believe. Those who secret the funds are actually stealing from them or more precisely, indirectly through their taxes. Nationalists at times can argue the same view but generally don’t.
So what does this all mean? Most if not all of the people understand only too well that their various elected representatives have behaved in an appallingly greedy manner. We have those who understand the immoral aspects of it all but are prepared to accept it for a variety of reasons and we have those who are not prepared to accept it at all.
Election wise, both north and south of the British border, this scandal may impact on those results. Certainly, in the North, SF will continue to command the largest nationalist vote as their supporters see no harm in what they have done. And in the South it will continue on, building it’s grass roots support, for they and all other Parties know fine well that The Southern Brits will look to this new scandal enveloping SF with trepidation in case the virus spreads over the border and opens their own expenses accounts to public scrutiny. So they’ll most likely as the election draws close whimper a response as they have loads of other bricks to throw at SF besides this.
Unionism, joint candidate or not, have been found wanting on this matter and to claims of breaking no law has somewhat dampened their electorate’s enthusiasm to return them to another government house, where they can rob it blind as well. May be there is honour among thieves! They, Unionism, may indeed find it much more difficult to wrest the much coveted East Belfast seat free from the silky white unblemished hands of Ms Long. The PROD-igal son may not be returning so soon after all.