Wednesday, 13 May 2009


Well, we've got full disclosure now. At least on expenses: from plugs to chandeliers and most points in between. But how do we know that we can really trust our MPs unless we know about all their financial affairs, what they have to their name?

You know, their income, savings, what they owe, the car they drive, other significant assets they might own, how much financial help they've received in the past (from parents too, in fact especially from relations as this can be the best way to channel illicit monies), any gifts received. That should just about do it.

After all, it's been done in the past - in the US, in fact, where they have always appreciated full disclosure - by a politician who's still held up as an example to us all.

'I own a 1950 Oldsmobile car...we have our furniture. We have no stocks and bonds of any type...Now that is what we have. What do we owe? Well, in addition to the mortgages, the twenty-thousand-dollar mortgage on the house in Washington and the ten-thousand-dollar one on the house in Whittier, I owe forty-five hundred dollars to the Riggs bank in Washington, D.C., with interest four and a half percent. I owe thirty-five hundred dollars to my parents...One other thing I probably should tell you...We did get something - a gift - after the election...'

The gift? A black-and-white spotted cocker spaniel, named Checkers by his little girl, which in turn gave its name to this particular televised talk of 1952. It was made to get the politician in question out of a tight corner amidst allegations of financial impropriety.

The politician? Richard Nixon.

Sometimes, disclosure of personal finances can really be beside the point.

H/t T, after Nixonland, a cracking good read as she wouldn't say.


Gadjo Dilo said...

Ah yes, there's nothing like disclosing innocent stuff about yourself to draw attention away from the other stuff.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Every magician understands the importance of misdirection...

We're getting irate at the rip-off expenses and we'll forget all about the directorships and golden hellos into companies that have profited by the decisions of politicians and senior (very often bussed-in) civil servants. The expenses are disgusting, the cosy sinecures are actually damaging to the nation and body politic.

Gaw said...

Yup. The sheep-like back-benchers and their lack of any real and consistent challenge to the Govt of the day is a bigger problem. The desire for preferment or 'cosy sinecures' is too tempting to mere mortals. It's a very well-entrenched problem too, that the big parties have no interest in putting right. So not holding out much hope!