Posts Tagged ‘Member of Parliament’

Too “mentally ill” to sell hot-dogs but he can cope with being a Swedish MP!

December 20, 2012

The behaviour of some parliamentarians and all that they get away with never ceases to amaze (whether fiddling expenses in the UK or being convicted criminals in India or being benefit spongers in Sweden).

He was mentally incapable of working at a hot-dog stand (for which he drew sickness benefits) but perfectly able to cope with the strains of being a Member of the Swedish Parliament (which commands a generous salary with no demands).

The Sweden Democrats are riding very high in the polls even though their “junkies and hooligans” image is being further embellished by revelations that one of their leading lights has been living off benefits for most of his adult life. Apparently Johnny Skalin was too mentally disturbed to be able to stand the rigours of working at a hot-dog stand. A stint of 4 hours required 2 days to recover! But working for the party during this time was not too onerous (and he received fees from the party in addition to his “sickness” benefits”).  But after living off benefits for some 13 years he found he was quite able to cope with the tough life of being a Member of Parliament.  He explained in an interview with Aftonbladet that he didn’t want to talk about his illness but it that it took a very long time for him to recover! He has now given up his benefits and can manage on his salary as an MP (about $9000 per month).

The Local has the story:

Sweden Democrat MP Johnny Skalin, whose party describes unemployed immigrants as being “a burden on society”, has lived on state benefits most of his adult life. 

Swedish authorities said in 1997 that Johnny Skalin, who is now 34, was suffering from a mental disorder that prevented him from carrying out his duties in a hotdog stand where he was employed at the time. It was then that he began receiving disability benefits, local newspaper Sundsvalls Tidning wrote. Ten years later, he told the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) that he suffered from extreme tiredness and needed up to two days of rest after working a four-hour shift.

However, that same year he became the head of the Sweden Democrat local chapter in the northeastern town of Sundsvall. “It was naturally a lot of work,” Skalin told the same newspaper.

Skalin also began to study sociology, and went on to co-author a party platform that helped the Sweden Democrats get into parliament in the 2010 election, when it got 5.7 percent of the vote and won 20 seats in the Swedish Riksdag.

Two months into the job as an MP, he told authorities that he no longer needed any benefits for his mental disability.

But the fundamental truism is that voters get the politicians they deserve. And convicted criminals or junkies or hooligans or benefit spongers are as entitled to be members of Parliament as anybody else who can get the votes of the discerning electorate.

UK MP’s continue with their expense claim shenanigans

December 1, 2010

Of course UK MP’s are not alone among politicians who make creative and extravagant expense claims. I would suspect that Members of the European Parliament in particular could teach the UK MP’s more than a few tricks in this regard.

But The Telegraph reports the UK MP’s still spend considerable time pushing the envelope of what is an allowable expense  – even after the supposed crack-down on expenses.

A list of 1,574 claims, rejected by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) in the space of five months, shows that politicians have attempted to claim back money for their mortgage repayments, first-class travel and excessive hospitality.

The document, obtained by The Times newspaper, which lists a total of rejected claims worth £116,359, also reveals how parliamentarians submitted duplicate claims and did not provide suitable documentary evidence to back up their claims.

One MP was refused £338 for a shredder, while another tried to claim £1,057 for advertising. A third asked for £1,085 for ”contingencies”. All claims, which were submitted between May and September this year, were refused by Ipsa – the body set up to administer MPs expense claims.

The unsuccessful claims amounted to 7% of the total submitted by MPs during the period.

The most bizarre claims:

a limed oak toilet seat

  • £97: Derek Conway (Ind, Old Bexley & Sidcup) two ‘limed oak toilet seats’. Also spent £76 on two loo roll holders at Peter Jones in London
  • 55p: Andrew Selous (Con, South West Beds) claimed for a mug of Horlicks in the House of Commons tea room one evening in March this year
  • 99p: Danny Alexander (Lib Dem, Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey) bought Mr Muscle cleaning fluid from a 99p shop
  • £43.56: James Arbuthnot (Con, Hampshire NE) successfully claimed for three ‘Genius 4 piece garlic peeling & cutting set’ bought on QVC shopping channel
  • £760: Alan Milburn (Lab, Darlington) went on a shopping spree in John Lewis in March 2009 including Nigella Lawson measuring spoons and a Jamie Oliver frying pan
  • £175: Julie Kirkbride (Con, Bromsgrove) claimed for a Samuel Heath Curzon extending shaving mirror from John Lewis
  • £5: Ben Chapman (Lab, Wirral South) claimed for a three pack of ‘waffle’ coat hangers from John Lewis
  • £2,300: Crispin Blunt (Con, Reigate) claimed for ‘brickwork’ including work on his ‘water wheel structure’ and terracotta fireplace
  • £2: Phil Hope (Lab, Corby) claimed for a Hamburger Maker from John Lewis, together with a £5 swivel peeler and two £6 tea towels
  • £24: Lindsay Roy (Lab, Glenrothes) bought a Babyliss Salon Dry hairdryer despite having thinning hair. His claim was rejected by the fees office
  • £105: Douglas Alexander (Lab, Paisley & Renfrewshire South) claimed for having the chimney swept at his designated second home in Scotland
  • £562.23: Kali Mountford (Lab, Colne Valley) bought an LCD TV in West Yorkshire but said it was for her designated second home in London
  • £2.95: David Ruffley (Con, Bury St Edmunds) bought an ‘anti moth proofer’ from Peter Jones of Sloane Square. A few months later he bought another six anti-moth sachets costing £24
  • £420: Lynne Jones (Lab, Birmingham Selly Oak) claimed for Farrow & Ball Toile Trellis wallpaper in April 2008, and also claimed £28.80 for a food mixer

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