Here in the UK, we’re going through a bit of a major emotional rollercoaster.
First, we find some of our banking leaders are greedy pigs and then we find most of our politicians have caught their swine flu.
For what seems like an age now, we have had all these detailed headlines of members of our government bucking the system by claiming expenses for everything from a moat to a house for ducks.
None of this was worth mentioning on the blog to be honest, as it had little to do with banking apart from being indicative of why our bankers behaved so badly. After all, why wouldn’t you feast if you are leading an institution where the regulators and policymakers encourage you to do so because it is their culture too?
However, it does get to the stage of being worthy of a mention when even our head of the Treasury, the Finance Director of Britain plc, the leader of our tax system, is swindling the books exploiting the system.
Yes, it now turns out that our very own Chancellor of the Exchequer, Treasurer in Chief, Head of our Fiduciary and Taxation system, Alistair Darling, was charging things through the expense system that we might find a little unsavoury.
Today, the Daily Telegraph – the UK newspaper that has had the scoop on all our politicians expenses thanks to new transparency laws under the Freedom of Information Act – tells us that he claimed expenses on a flat that he rented to tenants whilst living in his ‘grace and favour’ home in Downing Street.
But that’s not what bothered me. What bothered me is that the head of our taxation system used the taxpayer’s money to pay a tax advisor how to file his taxes so he avoided as much tax payments as possible whilst claiming the maximum he could off the taxpayer.
That all sounds a bit rich to me.
And it is rich according to Vince Cable, Shadow Chancellor for the Liberal Democrats and well-known financial futurist. Writing for the Mail on Sunday, Mr. Cable calls Mr. Darling the not-so-right-honourable:
"I heard him on the car radio telling me that all MPs were to blame,
not him personally. My wife had to calm me down, otherwise I would have
driven into a ditch with rage. I imagine that the vast majority of MPs,
including Labour members, who have not been abusing the system, felt
the same. Here is the company finance director caught with his
fingers in the till. He doesn’t explain. He doesn’t apologise. He just
blames his colleagues for not stopping him. His moral authority has
vanished. He must go, now."
Good news for you Vince, it looks like he will. The rumour going around is that the Chancellor will be replaced by Ed Balls later this week. Mr Balls is Gordon Brown’s favourite poodle loyal follower.
This also amused as it is bound to lead to headlines in the Sun, such as “Brown wants Balls” or “Balls to Chancellor”, which may be more than appropriate.
Thank goodness we’ve got some sanity in this world thank to Britain’s Got Talent … oh no, now even Susan Boyle has gone mental!