THE VIEW FROM HERE WHAT does the taxpayer have to stump up for an MP these days? Let’s see, there’s a basic salary of £65,738 for starters, plus expenses of anything up to, ooh, shall we have a look?
Here’s one that’s pretty eye-watering. Somebody’s put in for £166,794 in 2011-12, a very swanky figure and easily the biggest claim in the Solent region. Who’s that, then? Why, blow me down, it’s our very own MP, Mr Andrew Turner.
No, don’t grumble. It gives the Island status, doesn’t it? Yah-boo, Winchester, coming second with your MP claiming only £142,083.
What sort of cheapskate figure is that? Our chap has style when it comes to public money.
"With my staff I always try to provide a first-class service to Islanders," says Mr Turner, whose claim includes wages and constituency office costs of £116,141.47.
I call that nice, don’t you? I bet Winchester’s MP writes to his electorate in leaky biro on scrappy bits of Basildon Bond. For £116,141.47, Mr Turner must surely despatch to those of us lucky to be in his care nothing less than a parchment scroll, signed with a quill pen.
He looks a quill pen sort of guy, actually. He attended a very posh school and can sing the entire first verse of O Come All You Faithful in Latin. I heard him do it once. Adeste Fideles. Worth £166,794 of anybody’s money.
Which brings me to my only quibble about Mr Turner’s expenses. I don’t at all mind the quill pen and I think the £5,494 for travel is actually very reasonable. He must trawl back and forth across The Solent quite a bit, whereas some of us find it difficult to buy even a single ferry ticket these days for much under £5,494.
No, it’s the cost of our MP’s London accommodation that bothers me. He’s charged us £21,793 for this item, which strikes me as quite unnecessary. London living may be pricey but over £400 a week is a nonsense, particularly as he’s not even there during parliamentary recesses.
Now, we’ve established Mr Turner went to a posh school and does Latin and quill pens. Ergo (as he would say, it being Latin for 'therefore’), he’s had valuable experience of community living in spartan conditions and is probably nostalgic for the kind of brace-up environment that has made him the man he is.
He certainly has a liking for the most disgusting sort of stodgy pudding, preferably topped with lumpy custard, so I am sure he would clap his hands at the idea of being back in the dorm.
Taxpayers will be similarly pleased to know I have found just the place for Mr Turner. Hostel 639 (the name itself should delight our MP, reminding him of his school number which he would have had embroidered on his name tapes) is an establishment on the Harrow Road (another happy public-school reference) in West London, offering accommodation in an eight-bed dormitory, with shared bathroom, for just £8 a night.
If he stayed there the entire year, the bill would be only £2,920, a saving of £18,873 on his present extravagant arrangements.
Voters must insist he registers at this hostel immediately. It is possible he might cavil at the dorm being mixed but he must move with the times. His old school has gone co-ed and, as long as he wears his jim-jams at all times and behaves like a gentleman, I foresee no problem.
What’s more, Hostel 639 has a weekly karaoke night. Our MP will be ecstatic. Once he’s booked into his dorm, he can belt out Adeste Fideles every Thursday when he gets back from the Commons.
The Harrow Road won’t have heard anything like it before.
Don’t let’s forget Ba-Ba, Chumpers and Pongo
STILL on the subject of posh, I was interested to read David Holmes’s letter in last week’s CP, warning parents about children’s names which are apparently "automatically associated with behaviour issues".
These include Jayden, Kylie, Chantelle, Troy, Ryan and Riley.
You can’t help noticing none of these names would be likely to feature on the registers of, say, Eton or Roedean.
It seems unfair that parents at one end of the social scale should be stigmatised for giving their children what Mr Holmes describes as "unusual or downright dreadful names", while no such discrimination is applied to the poshos, who are equally guilty in this respect.
Thumb through the pages of Tatler or one of those invitation lists for grand charity balls, and you’ll see no end of daft monikers. Beansie, Bunny, Fizzie, Ba-Ba, Chumpers, Pongo, Twistleton-Mistletoe-Soupspoon, they’re all there.
The mayor of London’s full name is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.
And don’t think these names don’t encourage "behaviour issues". It may start with chucking bread rolls but lots of them go on to become bankers and you can’t get worse than that.