The Grabby Awards, 2009

Welcome to the “Grabbies”. And the nominees for “scaliest response to the current scandal over MPs’ expense claims” are:

– Harriet Harman, leader of the House of Commons, for arguing that “the level of corruption we see in the UK Parliament is far lower than what you can find elsewhere”; super. I look forward to fiddling my taxes and dodging speeding tickets on the grounds that there are lots of other people who drive much faster than me and are far worse tax-dodgers.

– Michael Martin, speaker of the House of Commons, for instigating a police investigation into who leaked the expenses data to the Telegraph – despite the FoI ruling which obliged the House to publish the information anyway – and claiming that it was necessary because the leaker ‘could pose a security risk’.

– Labour peer Lord Foukes, for trying to turn the question back on a news-reader, asking how much she earned and asserting that media attention to the scandal ‘undermines democracy’. Actually, milord, most of the digging has already been done, first by those who have abused the system, second, by those who have connived at keeping that system in place, and third, by those who fought so hard to keep the details away from public scrutiny.

– Hazel Blears MP, for saying she understands how angry the public is about the fact that the expenses system is wrong… when actually what the public is angry about is the behaviour of MPs who have abused that system.

And the loser is… the taxpayer.