Sunday, 10 May 2009

Swinegate's Feeble Whistleblower?

For every scandal there seems to be an heroic whistleblower working tirelessly to expose the thing, ignored by all in authority. For the MPs' expenses saga - "Swinegate" seems apt - we can only look to Andrew Walker, who is said to have signed off MP's expense claims in his role at the Commons Fees Office. Apparently, he "told Speaker Michael Martin more than five years ago that he must act to curb excessive claims. But Westminster sources say the Speaker told him not to meddle, and 'punished' him by refusing to speak to him for weeks at a time." Ah, the poor, poor man.

Just as the revelation of Paul Moore's unheeded warnings to the HBOS board were enough to hole Sir James Crosby's career at the FSA below the waterline, so should Andrew Walker's warnings do for the Speaker - not to mention all the little piggies to the left and right who had their snouts in the trough.

But hang on. Five years ago?! You mean Mr Walker has spent 5 more years signing off the sort of expense claims that he once found unacceptable. You mean that, unlike Mr Moore, he did not continue to make himself a thorn in the side of those he was supposed to be reining in? If that's true, then sorry, Mr Walker, you too have to hit the road. No pay-off. No pension.

"Another soure" is quoted as saying:
"A while back it looked as if Andrew might lose his job and you can't blame him for thinking that he might as well keep his head down. Why should he sacrifice his career for the sake of others?"
This feeble rhetorical question sums up what Westminster is all about. To change that, we need an answer, and it has to be: if you stop doing your job properly, you are sacrificing your career.

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