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Stephen Fry: Public anger over MPs’ expenses is ‘revolting’

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  1. Aiming for a title Mr Fry I see. Maybe MPs have done nothing wrong in the eyes of the Cambridge and Oxford Uni educated establishment figures. But back in the real world something is decidedly wrong in the state of Denmark when most MPs get double the average wage in expenses a year.

  2. I had a lot of respect for Stephen Fry up until this. Making statements like this shows him for the abject, isolated twit he is.

    The entire country wants to start sticking MPs heads on poles for their blatant abuse of the system, and this twat see’s nothing wrong in it.

    Parliament is meant to be above us all, and they are amply rewarded for it. 50 years ago, it was an unpaid position with only food and travel covered. Maybe it should go back to that, much like JP’s and Magistrates, and it will hopefully eliminate these greedy bastard career MPs and leave the job to people that genuinely want to do the right thing.

  3. My respect for Stephen Fry just nose dived…

    Most of the population would love to live on an MP’s salary of £65,000 a year! They’d even be prepared to buy their own food and pay their own mortgage.

    Maybe Stephen Fry sees nothing wrong with getting the tax payer to pay to get your pool cleaned… or you moat maintained… or the hedge round your helepad trimmed… but most people do. We pay our taxes and expect them to be used properly. And we expect out MP’s not to be saint, but to at least live by the same ethics as the rest of us. Seriously, if I claimed anything like that, or was got caught fiddling the system, in my job I’d be sacked very quickly.

  4. It seems that, reading the article, that Stephen Fry is not saying the MPs have done nothing wrong, he does in fact state that he has no sympathy for them. Instead, I think he’s making the seperate valid point, that as soon as the british public smell blood, they move in for the kill, because we’re currently (as a general public) happier to blame others, MPs, whoever, for all the ills of the country, rather than accept any personal responibility ourselves. He makes the point of wanting everything but on low taxes, clean environments but with lots of cars etc to make this clear. On this more general point, I think I agree with him. Few people these days take responsibility for their own actions.

  5. Why not read what he actually says?

    “I’m not sympathetic to the MPs at all. I don’t think they’re sorry, I only think they’re sorry they’ve been found out.”

    Or go buy The Big Issue and read the actual article, as I’m sure what is written here is paraphrased and repackaged to make a bigger story out of a smaller one.

    It’s not like PinkNews has never done that before.

  6. There’s a really good impromptu interview broadcast on the BBC news web site, with Stephen Fry talking to Michael Crick on this topic.

    And what he says in that broadcast makes a bundle of sense. Appalling as the behaviour of some of the MPs have been, we’ve not heard of two dozen MPs whose behaviour has been objectively scandalous. And the furore is small beer in comparison with the massive issues we should be getting ourselves wound up about.

    If the debt the Government have placed on the UK in that last year was paid from the complete bill for MPs – salaries and expenses (even including staffing expenses) – it would take 1,500 years to repay, without including a penny of interest!

    Or should we talk in the context of lives? (Was it 800,000 people estimated to have been died as a result of the Government’s illegal war in Iraq?)

    Or should we talk in terms of liberties enjoyed by the UK since magna-carta being taken away slice-by-slice over the last few years?

    Or should we talk about democracy represented in parliament itself, that has become the feeble, toothless puppet of half-a-dozen members of the inner cabinet and their press secretaries?

    This is the Mother of all storms in Mother’s favourite china teacup. In any real kind of real context, becoming transfixed with MPs expenses at the cost of all other issues seems like fiddling while Rome burns. And that’s basically the point Stephen Fry was making.

  7. Personally, I think its entirely silly to be worried about a few grand in expenses when the government is wasting millions if not billions on replacing trident and id cards.
    Although, the hypocrisy of Alaisdair Darling fudging his expenses whilst having a stance on being ‘tough on benefit theives’ seems to imply that theft is ok when your a rich white man, but not ok if your poor.

  8. And what are the British public supposed to say then? If there was no reaction, he’d probably be making some idiotic comment about how apathetic people are in contrast to, say, the French where they take to the streets and kick up a stink when they’re angry.

    Would he belittle another nationality like he did the British with his patronising arrogance?

    Most people have to work hard for their money (and I don’t mean look like a pompous twat for 30 seconds in a coffee advert Mr Fry) and they have every right to be angry when they see their taxes being pissed up against a wall.

    He’s s smug media luvvy.

  9. Ian M Laughlin 22 May 2009, 4:36pm

    “The entire country wants to start sticking MPs heads on poles for their blatant abuse of the system”, says RobN. Okay, not of itself an unreasonable emotion, given the betrayal of the electorate. But why is it coming from Rob, who expends such a great effort on slagging off “miserable left wing old queens” such as Pink News? Sticking the bourgeoisie’ heads on poles is after all, a classic revolutionary leftist position and takes Rob far to the left of the Greens, the Communists, most Trotskyite groupings and a considerable proportion of the anarchist movement. Well done, Rob – you’re about as far to the left as you can get.

    Perhaps all Steven Fry was saying is that, whilst MPs have brought their catastrophe on themselves, the Brits’ moral outrage is dangerous. Not so many years ago, British media indignation was directed at gay people, folks with AIDS, new age travellers and single mothers. Gay newspapers were firebombed, queerbashing was through the roof and at one point, in 1987, 75% of the polled electorate demanded immediate recriminalisation of homosexuality.

    So far, the electoral recipients of hostility to MPs could be any one of a number of political groupings. The Liberal Democrats, Greens, Socialist Labour Party, Plaid Cymru, and various single-issue candidates have all made capital at the expense of the largest two parties. But the oppositional vote could also go to the Christian Party, British National Party or English Democrats, which have expressed marked opposition to gay human rights.

  10. Of course, there are more important things than MPs expenses, but I beleive they reprented the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

    Obviously, Miss Fry hasn’t read a previous PinkNews article describing the vile homophobic “Robinson Family” income amounting to £600,000.00 a years under the auspices of the taxpayer. And if that wasn’t enough, they even each claimed a further £100.00 each for food.

    No, Miss Fry, I agree with were your coming from, but there is something still rotten in the state of Denmark.

    All the best.

  11. Fry is a sell out! He has sold his soul to the BBC for money. This statement by him is to try and take the attention away from his friend Jonathan Ross.

    He was on the first show that came back on the air after Jonathan Ross’s suspension.

    Fry doesn’t talk for the gay community, he talks for the BBC.

  12. Jess/Ian et al. : Just because I work on the capitalist model, rather than the socialist one, that does NOT condone fraudulent behaviour.

    Irrespective of party politics, these elected representatives have proved themselves unworthy of holding public office, and if they cant manage their personal finances, how in fucks name will they be capable of running the countries? As others have said, this was the final straw. Everyone has long suspected that most of our politicians were bent to some degree, but when they were exposed for what is, agreed, trivial matters, everyone is just wondering what these people have done whilst feigning to run the country?

  13. Stephen is right. I know scores of people who fiddle their expenses and tax returns – this is potential tax payers money. The public is so scoldingly hypocritical it is unbelievable. We are idiots. Hes totally right about the tax thing too – we want utopia but wont pay for it!

  14. It’s terrible that a politician is being hypocritical, but he’s just following the trend. How many influential people have Swiss bank accounts or avoid paying income tax? Many. I think that it’s a newsworthy item in and of itself, but I don’t think that the fact that Stephen Fry is commenting on it is newsworthy. I agree with him that the high moral stance is pretty awful, but I will go a step further: there are a lot more newsworthy items. If the MP is ousted, that’s not up to the press. The press’s job is to expose real muck, and there are people doing a lot more than just having a meal on taxpayers.

  15. Mihangel apYrs 23 May 2009, 10:06am

    Olive et al

    we’re pissed with our MPs because THEY make the kaws, THEY make the rules, THEY pontificate, THEY make capital about benefit fraud, banking incompetence, THEY tell the rest of us to tughten our belts…

    We are angry because they’ve been proven to use the public purse as their personal bank accounts while everyone else has had to go without. I don’t begrudge my MP a decent salary, I do begrudge him living as though money is no object.

  16. Good for Stephen Fry – a breath of fresh air in this debate. The hypocracy of the British public towards their elected members IS nauseating – rank double standards when 1000’s of Brits and immigrants alike are busily milking the welfare state for every drop of benefits they can get their lazy greedy paws on, and 10’s of 1000’s of Brits working in both public and private sector claiming expenses and jollies willy nilly like they are going out of fashion. Unfortunately we British have always excelled in exhibiting generous helpings of double-standards and envy and love nothing better than to harp on about the behaviour of others whilst at the same time doing exactly the same thing ourselves or wishing we could and get away with it! Its the same values that underlie the national attitudes to both wealth and sex!

  17. I agree with Stephen here. The British public are fickle. People are being stabbed, attacked, gangs and gun/knife crime are rife in this country yet as soon as money is being stolen, the whole nation arises.

    Whilst these thefts by those in power is clearly wrong; are there not also other, more important issues we as a collective should fight against?!

  18. Meanie: Whilst these thefts by those in power is clearly wrong; are there not also other, more important issues we as a collective should fight against?!”

    Like what? Jonathan Ross’s comments on the radio?

    As I stated earlier, the expenses matter is trivial by comparison to many national matters, but it demonstrates the qualities of the people we voted into power, and the fact that if they can be so arrogant as to think that their behaviour is acceptable, then what hope have we that they would also be able to manage more important situations that require government decisions? It is not the expenses debacle in itself, but the demonstration of complete elitism, naivety and total hypocrisy they have almost to man, displayed.

  19. I think Fry has a point. The British are great at whinging, but we never actually do anything proactive to change the status quo.

  20. All these Pink News mentions of people being ‘openly’ gay are beginning to sound a tad old-fashioned — and after all, if they weren’t ‘openly’ gay, they wouldn’t get mentioned in Pink news. Couldn’t we just stick with plain ‘gay’?

    As for Fry, he’s clearly saying something more complex than ‘MPs, drink your fill.’ All the odd publicity for his view may itself be a form of journo revenge.

  21. i have to say i’d agree with Mr Fry – if you actually read the article he states he does not hold sympathy for the MPs; he is trying to highlight the finger pointing that is happening.

    PS im voting Green.
    PPS are the MRLP still on the go?

  22. I think what’s appalling is how those in power are getting establishment figures to try and get off the hook.

    Getting people like Fry and the arch bishop to say stop picking on MPs just wont work. We the people wont stop until we see real reforms to our democracy. That means the expulsion of the political class and real people representing our interests. Not the Oxford and Cambridge educated ex private school people, who have never worked outside the political world.

    Though you will find most have parents who worked as bankers like Cameron.

    The message has gone out to the old school tie maffia that they are in trouble and if they want to keep the old guard in power they had better stop the revolt.


  23. BrazilGayScene 24 May 2009, 8:07pm

    I must say this is typical of most readers inability to read further than the first few words of an article!

    Sorry, I must have been reading a completely different article to some of you… I must have missed the one where Mr Fry said it was in any way OK for the MP’s to milk the system, or that he agreed with it?

    The whole point of his comments was to highlight the ‘it’s not ME, it’s HIM!’ mentality and finger-pointing.

    Can we PLEASE read the message?

    BEFORE shooting the messenger?

  24. I did hear Stephen fry talk and read the article and i still find him a smug,arrogant,self absorbed,over indulged,over rated, 24 carrat twat.But then again knowing his history as a criminal himself is it surprising he has these views

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  26. BrazilGayScene 25 May 2009, 4:08am

    “I did hear Stephen fry talk and read the article and i still find him a smug,arrogant,self absorbed,over indulged,over rated, 24 carrat twat.But then again knowing his history as a criminal himself is it surprising he has these views”

    Again dear, what views? That he has no time for MP’s with their noses in the trough? That he thinks they are only sorry that they have been caught, and not for what they have done? Do you not agree with him?

    Or are you just being judgmental? Judging a book by it’s cover? Do you KNOW him?

    No, maybe not.

  27. I agree with Kate – some of the headlines in PinkNews are very tabloid and dated – “openly gay” smacks of a news of the World headline from the 1980s. Besides, only a fieldmouse in the Outer Hebrides would be unaware of Stephen Fry’s sexuality so why mention it all, especially when it has nothing to do with the matter he was voicing his views. How about describing him as simply Broadcaster and Actor?

  28. Fry puts over emphasis on characature – it’s part of the way he has handled being a Slovak jew with aspirations to become an upper class English Gentleman, a culture traditionally prone to anti-semitism and zenophibia.

    Hence he ‘charactures’ the current crisis as one of the group behaving in well known ‘characteristic’ ways. By doing so he misses the point. Westminster, an ancient anachronism, has harboured seperate rules for it’s members for 100s of years. What is happening is the collapse of part of that model.
    The issue is strictly about democarcy and political reform. It’s about applying the national Law which we as citizens must follow to members of Westminster for the first time in it’s (600 year ?) history.

    The real scandal is that we allowed this system to remain in place for so long and yet touted arogantly our paliament as something democratic. Compared to Scandanavian parliaments, even some aspects of American decomcracy and of course our European neighours, Westminster has been exposed as shockingly backward in recent days.

  29. I’m also voting for the Green Party.

    So there.

  30. Simon Murphy 25 May 2009, 4:22pm

    There are far greater problems facing Britain than the expenses row – the economy; the erosion of civil liberties; the surveillance culture we live in; the illegal, ongoing war in Iraq. Even in terms of parliament there are more serious issues – namely the fact that the undemocratic House of Lords still exists; and the fact that democractic parliament (House of Commons) has become a powerless institution; the fact that the electoral system in Britain is ‘1st past the post’ which basically ensures that Britain does not have a parliament representative of the electorate’s wishes. To top it all the head of state in Britain is not democratically elected.

    I want the MP’s to have their expenses sorted out but I was massive reforms elsewhere as well ie have an elected House of Lords and head of state and a more representative electoral system

  31. Yep, I’m voting for the Green party too!

  32. Lesley Hedges 26 May 2009, 1:13pm

    I agree with part of Fry’s message – yes it’s our reposnsibilty too but he also shows that he’s out of touch with most people in the UK, never mind the world. Those of us on less than average incomes can only stare in horror at the money our elected representatives spend on unnecessary frivolities. And no Mr Fry I don’t own a car adn my carbon emissions are a lot less than yours. Many of these MPs have voted against raising the UK’s donations to poorer countries to the rate that was promised but happily gorge themselves – no wonder so many put on weight as MPs. I’m voting Green too. There will be a Green Party stall at Bradford Pride – come and sign up.

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