Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Sammy should remember who pays expenses

Sammy Wilson argues that it's only the media who are obsessed with MPs' expenses - and that we all need to move on.

Obviously Sammy hasn't been in many bars lately. Or buses. Or taxis. Or workplace shopfloors. Or cafes. Or you-just-about-name-it.

For the thorny subject of MPs' expenses remains a major subject of discussion and distaste. And if there is a subject which disgusts and angers working people more than the whole issue of MPs' expenses, it is MPs telling us that we need to get over it all.

That actually it's no big deal. Actually it is. It is a very big deal indeed for people who are struggling to pay food and fuel bills. It is a very big deal for those who hear about health and education and policing services being cut back because of lack of resources.

Sammy himself may not be among those asked to pay money back to taxpayers. But the bleak fact is that the entire democratic process has been damaged by the wider expenses scandal. And the fallout from it will reverberate long and hard in the months, even years, ahead.

No party is likely to escape the electorate kickback either.

However over and sorted MPs would like it to be, the scandal is a major one.

And it may take at least one election before MPs and MLAs get to gauge the full wrath of the electorate who lifted the tab.