A blog post by Evening Standard journalist Paul Waugh caught my eye, in which Brian Coleman, Conservative Assembly member for Barnet and Camden allegedly refuses to publish his expenses.
Much as I would want to avoid disagreeing with a fellow Conservative, some of his comments are astounding. For a start the assertion that “Politicians with lower expenses tend to be the politicians who do least work. Those with higher expenses are the ones who do most work” is just plain wrong. Expense claims have nothing to do with work-rate, as a politician (lite) with no expenses I’m offended.
But the most telling comment of all is his belief that he shouldn’t have to hand over the details because “it’s none of the public’s business. They have coped well without knowing this kind of detail for more that 75 years. They are not entitled to drool over our personal lives.”
Perhaps we have managed without knowing before. And no, we aren’t entitled to drool over your personal life. But we are entitled to know how public money is being spent – and that’s what you are doing with your expenses.
No Conservative can believe they have the right to spend public money without public scrutiny. I don’t know what Brian Coleman’s expense claims are like, but I hope he comes to his senses and realises that we tax-payers have a right to know how our money is spent.