MPs expenses are endlessly fascinating. Some are holier than thou, most are entirely reasonable, and some defy common sense or good manners. The small claims are often the most revealing
Take John Baron, MP for Billericay. He claimed £10 from the taxpayer… to cover the gardener's Christmas tip! Scrooge!
He is, unsurprisingly, a Tory, and one who particularly hates the NHS and Travellers (by which I suspect he means Roma).
Peter Bottomley (another Tory) clearly fancies himself. He charged us £5.51 for 'art insurance' and has taken out £25,000 of 'kidnap insurance', despite having no obvious personality which might provoke a snatch.
Leading Green campaigner David Cameron MP (who put a useless wind turbine on his London home as a publicity stunt) burns large amounts of oil to heat his Oxfordshire mansion. We pay his bills: I think we're entitled to insist that this multimillionaire installs solar and ground source heat pumps. Despite having £30m+ in the bank, we pay the interest on his mortgage, even though he could have bought his houses in cash. Most of the Tories seem to burn oil - perhaps just to annoy liberals.
Harry Cohen's shower gel costs £34 (something stinks). Derek Conway (very corrupt) had his toilet handle greased (better not to ask). Greedy Gerald Kaufman didn't see why he should pay for Sky Sports in his second home, and charged us. The fees office told him to sod off. He also demanded over £1000 for a posh chair.
Michael Meacher, multi-property-owning former environment minister couldn't pay his bills on time a few months ago. This didn't stop him harassing the fees office for the £1.49 they owned him! Loads of MPs seem to have problems paying council tax and the like on time. Anne Moffat tried (and failed) to claim for air bed insurance! Dan Norris bothered to claim £0.80 for a phone call! Meanwhile, Lembit Öpik called electricians to fix the lights in his London flat. From 418 miles away in his Welsh constituency!
George Osborne thinks he'll be Chancellor of the Exchequer next year, in charge of the country's finances. It's therefore not great news that he'd run out of expenses allowances. Hi colleague Andrew Selous charged £0.55 for a mug of Horlicks! Paddy Tipping (not a name, more of a sport) tried to make us pay for his dog-minding (rejected).
Actually, most of this is rather sweet, if petty.