Friday, May 15, 2009

Deepcut - in Minister Bob Ainsworth's brain and expenses?

Bob Ainsworth the Armed Forces Minister, rejects calls for a further inquiry, is satisfied with the existing information on the Deepcut scandal, where four soldiers died of gunshot wounds. the blake inquiry decided that the shots were self-inflicted, a fantastical assumption that assumes a soldier who had already shot himself in the head once managed to shoot himself in the head for a second time, while another managed to shoot himself five times in the chest. Tell that to the marines, and if they won't believe you, tell it to the Minister who will.

So in the absence of a further inquiry into Deepcut, we must content ourselves with a further inquiry into Bob Ainsworth's voting record and expenses claims.

  • Voted strongly against a transparent Parliament.
  • Voted strongly for introducing ID cards.
  • Voted very strongly for introducing foundation hospitals.
  • Voted strongly for introducing student top-up fees.
  • Voted very strongly for Labour's anti-terrorism laws.
  • Voted very strongly for the Iraq war.
  • Voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war.
  • Voted very strongly for replacing Trident.
The Transparent Parliament vote means that he voted against changing the proposed Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill so that the Freedom of Information Act would apply to MPs expenses. So he probably does have something to hide.

Here is what he has to say about his expenses:

“I am at the moment going through the many claim forms and receipts submitted over the years. These are in a mess, for example I have been given a number of sheets that relate to Peter Ainsworth a Conservative MP.

"I am trying to exclude some information from publication. This falls into three categories.

"Names and addresses and banking details of my staff who have from time to time bought office items and been reimbursed direct. Information concerning my own security for example credit card, sort code and bank account numbers.

"Thirdly items that appear on bills alongside items claimed but that were never themselves claimed and are therefore private.

"Once this process is complete all of the details of my claims will be published and I will respond to any issues that arise.

"It is of course possible that in the meantime the Daily Telegraph, who have bought all of the information I have myself, will decide that in their view I have done something that is newsworthy in which case I will respond to any issues that they publish.”

Let us hope that the Daily Telegraph does indeed find some irregularities, because expenses claims are a current issue, whereas Ministerial decision that defy all sense and logic are not an issue.

Maybe Ainsworth's stupid decision about the Deepcut scandal is due to the fact that he was up to his ears in receipts and had no time to think about how a soldier could shoot himself in the head twice.

The whole matter of keeping receipts and making judgements on what to claim for and what not to claim for is a total waste of time. Just give them a flat rate London accommodation allowance and be done with it.

Then maybe, just maybe, MPs and Ministers will have time and energy to make more sensible and just decisions about Deepcut.

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