The fervid anticipation preceding the release of Liberal Democrats dodgy expenses claims turned into a sense of disappointment today as the embarrassing items we had hoped to see were absent. Where, for example, were the invoices for 5000 gallon tankers of Vodka delivered to Charlie Kennedys second home or the bill for supply of intravenous drip equipment so the former leaders could stay topped up while paralytic?
How did one time leadership contender Mark Oaten conceal the bills for personal services from his rent boy? As maintenance work perhaps: To French Polishing a tallboy, £50 ?
Lembit Opik, whose name we did not make up but wish we had, was also a letdown. His claims had been widely looked forward to but it turned out his only misdemeanour was trying to charge taxpayers £40 court fees for a summons issued over non payment of council tax. While the amount is not spectacular the audacity of trying to get taxpayers to for your tax bill is worth a mention.
In spite of that we have a right to think Lembit short changed us after we treated him so generously. Where were the bills for gold lame knickers he surely bought for his Cheeky Girl inamorata. We have a right to be entertained by such stuff but the Lib Dems let us down. LD Smurf Sarah Treather (49) indulged in a bit of self righteousness by saying it would be ridiculous for her to claim for a second home as her first home, in her constituency, was only half an hour by tube from Westminster. Members in other parties had pulled such stunts though, she said darkly.
Was she by any chance referring to Labour Smurf Hazel Blears (410)? Probably not as Ms Blears constituency is several traffic jams up the M1 and M6 although her many homes are all over the place and seem to change location quite often. It is nice to know the reputation of Parliamentary Smurfs is not totally besmirched. We advise young Sarah not to overdo it though, nobody likes a smug tart.
The only Lib Dem to really impress was former leaders Menzies (Evil Emperor Ming) Campbell who charged ten grand for having his rather small London flat decorated. Ten grand seems a lot to pay for a few rolls of woodchip paper and a can of emulsion paint from Homebase and makes the £82 claimed by current leaders Nick (Shagger) Clegg for phone calls to his mates as in male buddies not his myriad former lovers. To his great credit Clegg claimed £7000 for renovations to his constituency home but the legitimacy of that claim is not in question, in fact Mr Clegg has agreed to repay the £100 over the annual limit he inadvertently claimed. Cleggs £160 per month gardening costs raised a few eyebrows but I can vouch for the expensive nature of garden maintenance having recently paid a hit man £5000 to impale our gardener here at Thorpe towers after he became a bit too enthusiastic about pruning my favourite Buddleia. If only we could, for £5,000, get someone to impale Douglas Hogg or Margaret Moran (Lab. Lootin South) who claimed her partners house in Southampton as the second home when it is further from her Bedfordshire constiuency than her first home or Westminster.
The Liberal Democrats have been enjoying a surge of popularity in recent weeks as the angry punters turned on the main parties. Unfortunately ever since they were just The plain vanilla Liberals has had an unerring knack of turning lacklustre mediocrity into thundering ineptitude just as their rivals were making lacklustre mediocrity look appealing.
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