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"Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice" - Adam Smith

Expenses: time to expose them

Written by Kat Rolle | Saturday 12 July 2008

We are living in a material world, and I am a material girl, or uh… MEP?

David Cameron’s decision to expose the expenditure of his MEP’s has been met with mixed reactions. Some Conservative MEP’s have allegedly reacted badly. In a publication that was leaked to the BBC, they outlined what they thought of Cameron’s desire to seem more transparent. Apparently, the expenses plan would be “counterproductive" and break European Parliament rules.

If Cameron’s proposal were carried out, Conservative MEP’s would have to publish a full account of their expenditure to an independent accountant under European Parliament allowances, twice a year.  Moreover, Conservative MEP’s would have to reveal the names of any members of their family that are employed by them, their salaries and publish details of any other staff paid from public funds. Also, they would only be able to receive bonuses that add up to less than 15% of their annual salary and they would have to repay any surpluses from their own salaries. This does not seem like a lot to expect.

Our MEP’s are elected to influence policies in Europe for their party; they are not elected to use taxpayers' money to pay for lavish dinners, hotel suites and their staff. The fact that a minority of Conservative MEP’s are daring to complain about these measures is outrageous. It is totally hypocritical. Public funds should be spent on worthwhile schemes rather than to ensure MEP’s can fly first class.  The government continually increases taxes; there may be less need to if our taxes were prevented from going towards paying for your MEP’s second home in Brussels. David Cameron's plan will make it much harder for MEPs to abuse their constituents in this way.
 

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No-one will be safe…

Written by Kat Rolle | Thursday 10 July 2008

This week the House of Lords began debating the increase of the pre-charge detention limit to 42 days.  As the reign of the present government, the UK is increasingly coming to resemble a police state. The rights of British citizens are being eroded and the new counter-terrorism bill is a clear example of this.
 
Terrorism is a threat but the government is taking counter-terrorism to an unwarranted and extreme level.  There are no safeguards to protect innocent people. If this bill is implemented, anyone could be accused of being a suspected terrorist and, consequently, not see daylight for 6 weeks. Such a state of affairs is morally wrong.
 
Adding to these concerns, the government has revealed that the increase is not actually necessary at the moment. However, it has stated that the 42-day detention limit may be "needed" in the future. Yet this is not an adequate reason to implement the bill. It is unacceptable that the government are giving the police the authority to detain any citizen on suspicion of suspected terrorism without any hard evidence and when there is no immediate threat.
 
It is widely assumed in Westminster that the government's main objective with 42-days (how exactly did they arrive at that number?) was to make the Conservatives look "soft on terror". Such an abuse of power is shameful.

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Kat Rolle joins the ASI

Written by Kat Rolle | Tuesday 08 July 2008

Hi! I’m Kat and I've just started a one-week internship at the Adam Smith Institute.

I study Politics, History, French and Drama at Woodhouse College in North London.
 
I enjoy singing – which explains why I have been a member of the Finchley Children’s Music Group for 5 years. On Saturday, we did our last concert of the summer, singing pieces commissioned for us by James Weeks & John Pickard. I love skiing and travelling but, in general, I'm not a big sports fan.

Finally, it is likely that I will take a gap year before going to university to "see the world".

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