Thursday, May 21, 2009

"What right do the public have to interfere in my private life?"

Thus spake Sir Anthony Steen, hitherto best known for parking his car in a space reserved for blue badge holders and complaining about

'busybodies in this world running around complaining... There are too many whiners and whingers.'
when he was ticketed after leaving the car in the space for three days.

Now, he's whinging that the government have released information (actually, they haven't - this current furore all stems from a good, old-fashioned leak, the kind of thing beloved by the Tories at the moment).

The soon-to-be-former MP for Totnes isn't happy that the Telegraph revealed that he'd claimed £87,729 for work on his second home, a modest property in his constituency, with enough land for a mere 500 trees. It isn't 'very attractive', according to Sir Anthony, who claims not to know what the fuss is about.

In what has to be the finest apology so far in this catalogue of all-party shame, Sir Anthony apologised for being stupid.

This was a failure on my part. We have a wretched government here which has completely mucked up the system and caused the resignation of me and many others because it was this government that introduced the Freedom of Information Act and it was this government that insisted on things which has actually caught me on the wrong foot, but which if I'd been cleverer, it wouldn't have been done.
Sir Anthony has since apologised for this apology, which was broadcast on the World at One on Radio 4 today. William Hague reported that it had actually been recorded late last night, indicating that the outgoing MP was somewhat tired at the time. He may also have been a little emotional, given the stress of the moment.

Sir Anthony, we have £87,000 reasons for interfering in your private life. If you think that £1318 for a wrought iron fireplace or £459 for a consultant to look at protecting your woodland from rabbits is expenditure directly related to your parliamentary work, then you are a fool - and a pompous, arrogant fool to boot.

And the same goes for Douglas Hogg and his moat or Peter Viggers and his floating duck island, let alone his tonnes of manure. At least that much horseshit should fuel Tory manifestos for years to come.

Before the Tories have a go at me for ignoring Labour's offenders - I'd make a strong case for a number of Labour MPs to be deselected and I want to see swift, brutal and public action by the party to demonstrate intolerance towards abuse of allowances.

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