The whole Jacqui Smith thing…….
Lola Adesioye // 31 March 2009
So, I’m uber excited to be guest blogging here and I’ve spent the past few days panicking about what on earth my first post should be about. Then the whole row about the Home Secretary’s expenses blew up and I’ve found myself watching in disbelief as she is practically crucified in the media, for essentially being honest about her expenses.
Lets just be clear here. The Guardian reports that:
The prime minister was stung into action following fresh revelations about Jacqui Smith’s husband, Richard Timney, using her expenses allowance to watch two soft porn films. The home secretary is already under investigation by John Lyon, the parliamentary standards commissioner, over her £116,000 claim for her second home in her constituency, Redditch.
Except Jacqui Smith wasn’t using her expenses allowance to watch soft porn movies. Ms Smith submitted a claim for her media package, which she is perfectly allowed to do, and then later realised she had inadvertently claimed for her TV bill and not just her internet bill. She attempted to sort the problem and then it was discovered her HUSBAND had ordered and watched 2 soft porn movies when she was ABSENT from the property.
Could someone please explain to me, being as I’m but a humble feminist who doesn’t understand all this high falutin’ political talk, how this translates to ‘using her expenses allowance to buy and watch soft porn’? I mean seriously? She wasn’t there, she didn’t do it and now the media are calling for her resignation and calling foul, because of something someone else did!
The second accusation against her, about the second home claims is also ludicrous. Again the media is calling foul along with various members of the Tory Party, and the Daily Fail offers us this glorious quote :
The Tory leader said: “I think she has got some questions to answer about the second home issue. It does seem to me pretty incredible to claim that the home where her family is, that is not her main home.”
Insiders believe the troubled Home Secretary has a matter of only a few months to save her political career.
So she spends most her time in London working, where she lodges at her sisters house. This, one presumes, essentially makes her Redditch home her weekend/holiday home. Which to my mind makes it a second home. I’m not sure why David Cameron has such an issue with this. Could it be because Ms Smith is a woman and well, she should be at home with her family, where she belongs. Not dabbling in all this politics business.
Now I’m not going to disagree that MP’s do seem to be able to claim an awful lot of money for an awful lots of things and this may not be a good thing. However, if the choice is between the occasional expenses claim being a bit dodgy, and only the very rich and well off being able to afford to run for Parliament, I’d rather deal with the odd dodgy expenses form thanks.
It seems clear (to me at least) that is Ms Smith was Mr Smith this whole shebang wouldn’t have been so extensive and no one would be calling for her head with such fervour. Given that media coverage of her has mostly focused on her fashion choices, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. I just really hope that this doesn’t de-rail her, because while she can still make some problematic decisions, Ms Smith does seem to be doing a relatively good job as Home Secretary.