It has often been remarked that politicians are out of touch with the ordinary conditions of ordinary people. In the case of Tory politician, Mr. Simmonds, it seems to be a case of living on a totally different planet. Mordecai Paechter examines the case of yet another bougeois politician whose insatiable greed characterises the capitalist class that he represents.
It has often been remarked that politicians are out of touch with the ordinary conditions of ordinary people. In the case of Tory politician, Mr. Simmonds, it seems to be a case of living on a totally different planet. The Tory MPs resignation from the Foreign Office on Monday revealed a stunning sense of entitlement, especially for a man apparently so ignorant that he cannot work out how to stretch a household budget of £145k across himself, his wife, and their three children. Perhaps, one wonders, this is not in fact stupidity, but simply the insatiable greed that characterises the capitalist class he represents.
Simmonds claims that his income as an MP – a whopping £145,000 per annum, if his £30k London rental allowance, and the £25k yearly he pays his wife to be his ‘office manager’ is taken into account – is not enough to afford to rent a Westminster flat for his family. As a result, Simmonds hardly ever sees his children, who live in his Boston and Skegness constituency. Unable to cope, he has resigned as a Minister, and will not be standing for re-election in 2015.
Swindling the taxpayer
Oddly enough, in 2010, Simmonds did in fact have a London property, described on the property website Zoopla as a ‘spacious and well-presented terraced family home’ and only 30 minutes by tube from Westminster station. By claiming more than £2,000 a week on the mortgage interest, then selling the house once prices rose, he walked off with half-a-million of taxpayers money.
Presumably much of this was spent on Swinsehead Abbey in Lincolnshire, a £900,000 Grade II listed 17th century building bought by Simmonds, with seven bedrooms, stables, a heated outdoor swimming pool, a tennis court and 15 acres of parkland. Is this the ‘sacrifice and negative impact’ on his family life that Simmonds claims characterised his time as a parliamentarian?
Simmonds is not the first to swindle the taxpayer with mortgage interest claims. Earlier this year Maria Miller, the former culture secretary, was forced to resign after it emerged that she had over-claimed £45k of expenses – nearly twice the average wage. On top of this, Miller used taxpayer’s money to cover her mortgage interest on the extensive renovation of a house which she then sold for £1.47m, paying for a luxury Tudor barn worth £1.2m, with five bedrooms, three reception rooms and a study, several outbuildings – including a small summer house and an annexe barn – all set in 1.6 acres of private gardens. Sound familiar? Criminal minds think alike!
One nation; two realities
It seems this is not atypical for the ladies and gentlemen at the heart of the Coalition government – a government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich. Yet for ordinary working people, there is a very different story. As we wrote in our British Perspectives:
“Social spending is continually being slashed; money for local government is being butchered; hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs have been cut and more is to follow, in an austerity programme that keeps on extending… The cuts have affected the most needy and vulnerable sections of society, the sick, the elderly, the infirm. Benefits have been cut while people have been forced off housing benefit and disability allowances by private companies guided by draconian targets. We are witnessing the return of Victorian conditions as past reforms, seen as the basis of a civilised society, are destroyed… Central London boroughs are shipping out homeless people to other local authorities to deal with, which, in turn, are making cuts. The bedroom tax is forcing people out of their homes, placing greater hardships on disabled people. Young people are especially suffering greatly under this austerity regime.”
This comes against a backdrop of a general crisis in the state, as ordinary people lose any faith they might once have had in a system that looks increasingly sick. They are right to do so – the Establishment and bourgeois state are rotting from the head down. There is an almost daily parade of horror – from phone hacking to police spying; from blacklisting of trade unionists to the murders of Mark Duggan and Ian Tomlinson; and from the ‘rape of the state’ committed by officers maliciously infiltrating activist groups to the alleged abuse of young children in the 1980s committed by Senior Tory cabinet ministers at their party conferences, with the implicit knowledge of the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. Throughout this we have the constant revelation of fresh expenses scandals.
For a workers’ MP on a worker’s wage!
Simmonds has the cheek to whine about being poor. How would he even know what that is like? Has he ever visited a food bank? Has he ever been evicted for failing to pay the rent? How many times has he been made redundant since the crisis? Money practically spills out of his pockets, yet he begs the sympathy of the public – who are suffering the austerity policies of his party – with his apparently dire financial position. Simmonds has resigned, but the whole of the state apparatus is filled with his ilk. We do not need these parasites. Throw them out!
- For a worker’s MP on a worker’s wage!
- Bring down this Coalition of the rich!
- Fight for a Labour government with a socialist programme!