Promises made by politicians before elections should be regarded as about as useful as full-scale model of the starship Enterprise made out of honey.
Take, for instance, the solemn undertakings given by gaffe-prone Gavin Barwell, before he was elected as the Tory MP for Croydon Central in 2010, when the outrage of the MPs’ expenses scandal was still fresh in voters’ minds.
Barwell promised both to publish his diary of engagements, so that his constituents would be able to know what he was doing all-year round, and also to publish in full his MP’s expenses claims, with receipts. Barwell has broken both of those promises this year.
Helpfully, those promises still appear prominently on Barwell’s website, helping to highlight that the MP has failed to keep those undertakings.
It is worth remembering that these are not tasks which Barwell has to fulfill painstakingly all by himself: Barwell’s parliamentary and constituency offices are staffed by at least four people (not including the gullible unpaid interns which he is seeking to exploit to help get him re-elected), whose time and efforts are all paid for by the tax-payer. Three of Barwell’s staff now supplement their state earnings with an extra five-figure sum in “allowances” paid to Croydon councillors.
To Barwell’s enduring embarrassment – not to mention a touch of shame for local journalists, including Inside Croydon – he has been caught out breaking these promises by a local fascist, who highlighted on social media that the Tory MP failed to publish his diary for more than three months, and has been equally negligent in keeping his promise over publishing his expenses.
Since being outed as a promise-breaker this week, Barwell has hurriedly posted some expenses claims.
The diary of the busy Croydon Central MP, however, remains tellingly blank.
Perhaps Barwell really has been doing nothing. Or maybe hes been preoccupied protecting his own career, working hard as a junior government whip ahead of David Cameron’s reshuffle (the carrot of being named Minister for London never amounted to much; so much for politicians’ promises, eh?), and spending an awful lot of his time campaigning for the Tories in Croydon ahead of the local elections.
Barwell was always very good previously about his expenses, dutifully claiming very little over and above his MP’s salary. However, the hurriedly posted expenses claims that have appeared on his site in the past week show that he has reverted to type, claiming refunds for expenditure which is only marginally justifiable.
For instance: £4 for having his constituency office windows cleaned. Isn’t that what he employs Mario Creatura at great public expense to do?
Coming to Croydon
- David Lean Cinema: Locke, July 31
- Mind-Loosening Workshop, Aug 2
- Upper Norwood Library Book Club, Aug 2
- Patchwork and quilting workshop, Upper Norwood Library, Aug 4
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 6
- David Lean Cinema: Grand Budapest Hotel, Aug 7
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, Aug 10
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 13
- David Lean Cinema: The Wind Rises, Aug 14
- Mind-Loosing Workshop, Aug 16
- David Lean Cinema: The Love Punch, Aug 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Aug 16
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 20
- David Lean Cinema: Stop The Pounding Heart, Aug 21
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 27
- David Lean Cinema: Frank, Aug 28
- Upper Norwood Library well-being groups, Aug 30
- Warlingham rugby dinner with international Richard Hill, Sep 12
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Sep 20
- Streatham Common 6M race, Sep 27
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Oct 18
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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