MPs expenses – concealed, censored, blacked out and redacted
Polly Toynbee on last night’s Question Time said ‘redacted’ was a new word.
But she writes for The Guardian.
Cranmer has no problem with redaction, for some information ought to be confidential – telephone numbers, bank details and the like.
But the scale of the blacking-out on these expense claims is preposterous, not least because The Daily Telegraph has already shone a light in the darkness and revealed facts which the Parliamentary Fees Office is now concealing. These receipts would not have revealed the most appalling abuses like tax avoidance by ‘flipping’ or ‘double-dipping’. And neither would we have learned about phantom mortgages, moat cleaning or duck houses. One is left with the impression of collusion and cover-up.
But what is the point of colluding to cover up that which has already been disclosed?
Cranmer is bemused by the gross effort which has been expended in order to censor these expenses claims, and he has a little gripe:
It has cost the taxpayer almost £2million to prepare more than a million receipts for publications – sorting, scanning, redacting and posting them onto a website.
So far, MPs have paid back in the region £500,000.
The taxpayer has paid £1.5million for a million useless pieces of paper. This is the wasteful, bureaucratic, inefficient state.
The Daily Telegraph has published the uncensored version of the expenses files, providing a far better and fully ‘transparent’ service to the public at a very reasonable price: in fact, you only pay for it (paltry pence) if you want it. They have made available all the important details and intend publishing on their website the hundreds of pages of claims which were removed altogether before the expense files were published. Further, they intend to publish a special, glossy 68-page magazine supplement detailing the claims made by every sitting MP.
Cranmer thanks God for The Daily Telegraph.
Perhaps the Barclay brothers might consider donating the £1.5million shortfall from their vast reserves and the extra income derived from this scoop in order to mitigate and indeed totally eradicate the costs to the innocent taxpayer. What a generous act of Christian charity that would be.