Nobody will claim expenses’ ‘Nobody will solve your problems’ ‘Nobody Cares’……….’VOTE NOBODY’………these were the slogans we campaigned on in a local election in Sheffield years ago. Could this now be rolled out as a national anarchist campaign at the next general election? Certainly we need to do something to wrest the severely pissed off vote awayfrom BNP/UKIP.
Not voting as a measure of poltical awareness is worthless – the same people who cant be arsed to vote wouldn’t save you from drowning either. A more positive reaction is needed. Vote Nobody needs to be pro-active – write Nobody on your ballot paper – spolit votes are counted and declared – NOBODY WINS. Better still set up rival polling stations on the day locally where people can deposit their polling cards in a positive – and measurable – vote for Nobody. In the eve nt of a NOBODY victory – more polling cards for nobody than the ‘winning’ candidate – declare the area an autonomous MP free zone and establish the mechanisms of DUAL POWER.
We need a coherent anarchist response at the next election to combat both the BNP and the ‘Vote Labour to keep the BNP out’ bollocks we’re going to be getting after June 4th. NOBODY OFFERS A WAY FORWARD……in the absence of anything better.
VOTE NOBODY – YOU KNOW IT MAKES SENSE
A window is smashed, a garden is vandalised and vengeance is demanded as taxpayers turn on their Westminster representatives over expenses scandal
“I can see ordinary people going round with shotguns and shooting them all,” said a pensioner in this industrious Berkshire town. She was so enraged by MPs’ expenses, she said, that she was tempted to shoot the Speaker herself.
The days when Dick Turpin reputedly rested up in a pub where this new town now sprawls have long gone. But voters outside Westminster are increasingly convinced that their representatives have got away with daylight robbery.
As Keith Rogers put it in Sleaford, where Conservative MP Douglas Hogg belatedly agreed to pay back £2,200 spent cleaning his moat: “This is not politics. It’s theft. MPs’ allowances are more than most people’s wages in Lincolnshire.”
When MPs returned to their weekly surgeries and other duties in their constituencies yesterday, they encountered a landscape transformed by revelations about their expenses. The cynicism of many voters towards Westminster had been replaced by something much more engaged, but also far more enraged.
Margaret Beckett, heckled and booed on BBC1’s Question Time on Thursday, is not the only MP to have witnessed the change in mood at first hand. In Bromsgrove, a window in Tory MP Julie Kirkbride’s constituency office was smashed with a brick. In Rutland, where fellow Tory Alan Duncan agreed to pay back nearly £5,000 of gardening expenses for tending the small plot around his constituency home, a 3ft pound sign was carved into his lawn and filled with campanula and violas.
Duncan initially reported the incident to the police but quickly changed tack, preferring to pass it off as a joke. “At first I thought: ‘Oh no, this is getting nasty.’ But actually they’ve been quite funny. These are serious times but at least in the middle of it all we can have a bit of a laugh at this one.”
But Heydon Prowse, editor of the politics and culture magazine Don’t Panic, which was behind the stunt, wasn’t laughing. “We were outraged in general by all the expenses claims coming out. Alan Duncan was a nice easy target. The flowers are a nice Tory blue. We thought about it.”
The original meaning of Bracknell was “bracken-covered hiding place”, but as MacKay and his peers found, a week of revelations left them uncomfortably exposed to the anger of their constituents. Effusive apologies and promises to pay back their most outrageous expenses claims have failed to pacify the public. Voters brought up the example of the communities secretary, Hazel Blears, writing a cheque on television and laughed bitterly at what they perceived as an empty self-serving gesture.
“They know they’ve done something wrong because they are giving it back,” said Chris O’Riordan, a businessman, in Bracknell. “If I said: ‘I’ve just nicked a bottle of shampoo from Boots but I’ll give it back, am I all right?’ I’d be arrested.”
MacKay, who stepped down as David Cameron’s parliamentary aide after it was revealed that he and his wife, Kirkbride, used parliamentary allowances to claim for both their homes, performed constituency duties in public in the centre of Bracknell yesterday. He promised to call back any disaffected voters who had complained about his two homes funded by the taxpayer and claimed the majority of emails and calls had been supportive. In the centre of Bracknell, however, even his most loyal voters expressed contempt.
“If I got caught doing that, I would lose my business. It is fraud,” said O’Riordan, who said he had just been fined £1,500 by the Inland Revenue because he was late submitting his tax details. MPs, he said, had got away with far worse: “They should lose their jobs. They are trying to do a bit of damage limitation and it isn’t working.”
While the rightwing pressure group the TaxPayers’ Alliance is threatening to launch private prosecutions against some MPs, many ordinary voters feel the long arm of the law has proved remarkably short and weak when it comes to prosecuting MPs. Scotland Yard has yet to confirm whether it is investigating any of the complaints it has received against individual MPs.
In Lincolnshire, community support officers stood guard outside the locked gate of the constituency home belonging to Elliot Morley, the Labour MP caught claiming £16,000 for his home for 21 months after he had paid off his mortgage. While the Labour whip has been withdrawn from Morley, his constituents demanded his resignation and prosecution.
“When I paid my mortgage off, I bought a bottle of champagne and a gold bracelet,” said Pam Sargent, a retired teacher. “How on earth can he say he did not know he’d paid his off? I hope he goes down and I hope he goes down with a big, big bang.”
Former prison officer John Douglas said: “I shut the door on people for far less fraud than these people have committed. They’re a disgrace. They should all stand down, the lot of them. If he [Morley] had any honour at all, he’d resign.”
An aggravating factor for many people is how the expenses scandal has exposed the gulf between the Westminster elite and the rest of the country, and the growing level of inequality in Britain. “It’s one law for them and another for us,” said George Hobson, out shopping in Bracknell with his granddaughter, Olivia. “What I have to live on for a month is what they can claim on expenses for food (£400).” He said he would not vote for MacKay again.
Sandra Smith, 67, gets by on a state pension of £99.30p each week and a private pension of barely £20. From this, she must pay £45 in rent every week for the council house she shares with her father. “MPs haven’t a clue what we have to go through. They are not in touch with the real world. I’m absolutely incensed. They send pensioners to jail for not paying their council tax. “
Several voters mentioned not just the huge sums of money that MPs can claim on expenses but the high wages earned by members of the media who are charged with interrogating them, reinforcing a sense of a country divided between a metropolitan expense-fiddling elite and the honest, hard-working voters of middle Britain.
When Fred Binding, 90, watched the interview in which BBC News presenter Carrie Gracie admitted she earned £92,000, he “nearly fell through the floor”, he said.
For Binding, and many older voters in particular, the expenses scandal has highlighted a materialistic side to society that is completely alien to them. “It’s become a different world altogether,” he said. “The only thing that matters is ‘me’. People are pushing others out of the way. MPs have gone with the flow – they have thought: this is what people do and we will join in.”