Is The Register’s headline over the incident where Home Secretary and Stasi-wannabe Jacqui Smith had her Parliamentary expenses “used by her husband” to watch two porn films last year.
I’ve tried to resist the urge to write about this but seeing that headline and giggling like a schoolboy made that resistance capitulate like the French. I have managed to restrain my sense of humour as there is so much potential for schoolboy type humour here. This post could have been laden with inneundo and cheap wordsmith jokes.
I’ve thought about this at some length. Quite why Jacqui Smith’s husband Richard Timney thought it was appropriate for his wife’s expenses (which are paid by you and me, the humble taxpayer) to cover his er, “late night solo habits” is beyond me. A simple comparison is when I’ve been on training courses for work. On such occasions it is the case that evening meals are paid for if the course is based somewhere I can’t get to as part of a sensible morning commute.
So, if I’m in London could I theoretically pig out at Garlic and Shots every night and claim it back from work?
No. Firstly my manager checked all my expenses and receipts. Secondly my then employer had strict financial regulations and a code of conduct requiring transparency. Thirdly my professional standards wouldn’t let me do that.
Richard Timney watches porn. And his judgement on what his wife’s expenses can cover is deeply flawed.
Might I also contend that whoever checked Mr Timney’s expense claims was not as thorough as they should have been?
El Reg had a little dig into what films Mr Timney might have watched. The Home Office refused to identify what films Mr Timney watched, other than an assurance that it was, in common parlance, “vanilla”. Of course we only have Mr Timney’s assurance of that. He’s hardly going to admit watching the sort of stuff that is now deemed illegal under the Extreme Pornography legislation, is he? If he had would that lead to the first prosecution under that legislation?
One must then also ask if Richard Timney’s er, “late night solo habits” are a regular thing or was this just a one-off? How many other occurrences of such events have there been? Does he use a taxpayer funded computer for his work? Has that been checked for content inappropriate for someone working for the Home Secretary? Has whatever computer(s) he uses been checked for other inappropriate content? Is he claiming for Kleenex on these expenses as well? (sorry, couldn’t resist making one joke!)
Even if it’s a one off and “vanilla” porn, that strikes me as wholly inappropriate conduct for someone engaged on Parliamentary business (as it was on Parliamentary expenses we can expect they were incurred while on Parliamentary business).
As El Reg says:
The Mutley-esque sniggering you can hear in the background is the sound of the Consenting Adult Action Network (CAAN) dabbing its eyes and offering an ironic lifeline to wacky Jacqui and her man.
There is more than a slight whiff of hypocrisy here. I’ll leave the final word to Clair Lewis from CAAN:
as Home Secretary and as part of this puritan government, Jacqui Smith has done more than almost anyone to meddle with and regulate the sexual choices made by consenting adults in private. There is therefore a most delicious irony to find her hoist by her own petard.