You only have to hear the outlines to think our representatives are living like hogs in the fat house at the tax-payers’ expense, and frankly, it is starting to wear a bit thin. The problem seems to be equally bad in Britain and Ireland (a new UK scandal hits the headlines here).
The UK case cited is one of a number of ones centring on the possibility of nominating one house as one’s official residence and claiming expenses for maintaining another (ostensibly because one’s parliamentary duties call for one to be away from one’s constituency precisely in order to represent them). The galling excesses seem to arise when one lives close to one’s work (i.e. in London, or in and around Dublin) where representatives end up claiming for homes they, frankly, don’t credibly need.
Solution: Make the constituencies responsible for their representative’s upkeep in the big capital city. If they were relying on voluntary donations from their grass-roots organisations (having a ‘whip-around’, so to speak) to help meet their rent on a second home etc., they’d be more assiduous in their duties to the people it’s their job to represent. Also, the London and Dublin/commuter county representatives, would perhaps not get the sort of money they’re claiming now, because their communities would not see the necessity for it (but if they did find a lot of cash for their local representative, what would be the harm in that? At least it wouldn’t be a case of the tax payer being gouged).