Andrew MacKay – duplicitous, deceitful and disgraced
Let Cranmer assure his readers and communicants that he is undoubtedly the latter, with a very unhealthy dose of the former.
And if Mr MacKay wishes to appoint Carter-Ruck to guard what shreds are left of his honour, Cranmer is more than ready to defend himself.
The truth is that Andrew MacKay had an awful lot to fear: his expense claims were not only unacceptable and unreasonable; they were morally repugnant. He pompously and self-righteously boasted: "There is nothing that I've been asked to give back but there are others who have... I am confident there is nothing unreasonable in there at all.” The self-righteousness of this ego is repulsive. He he is one of the few characters at Westminster whose demeanour evinces his disposition: he is the very incarnation of vanity and arrogance. But apologising ‘profusely’ for an ‘error of judgement’ is woefully inadequate, especially when he is the sort of vermin who will come up with whatever form of weasel words may be politically expedient to swipe aside whatever is inconvenient.
The man is one of the most odious, malicious, deceitful and vindictive people in politics. The Prince is his bible, 1984 is his creed, and Mein Kampf is his manifesto. He had the power to construct a party in his image – to determine who was in and who was out; who was advanced and who was perpetually frustrated. And he ruthlessly and mercilessly exercised it. The profound sadness is that as much as David Cameron attempts to restore the moral foundation of the Party’s expression of Conservatism, Andrew MacKay will remain a sleazy and corrosive irritant which will fatally undermine the virtuous restoration. He is a chimera of Rasputin, Stalin and Machiavelli. His continuing presence in the Party perverts the cause of truth, and the mere sight of him offends against all notions of humility and integrity. For Andrew MacKay, people do not matter, humanity is secondary, and compassion is non-existent. To talk of degeneracy or disgust would be complimentary: if Speaker Martin is faecal bacteria, Andrew MacKay is an entire sewer.
The scam he worked is quite basic and, apparently, ‘within the rules’. But it beggars belief that he could have considered it moral. Firstly, he and his wife, Julie Kirkbride, claimed each other’s travel costs. Ms Kirkbride took £1,392 under the allowance to meet spouse travel, while Mr MacKay claimed £408. But he and his wife also own two homes. While she designated one home her second residence, he designated their other home as his second residence. They therefore had no primary home, and over a period of nine years they were able to fleece the taxpayer of somewhere between £100,000 - £200,000. This positively dwarfs the £16,000 fraud perpetuated by Elliot Morley – for which he has been suspended by the Parliamentary Labour Party. Yet the only indignity suffered by Andrew MacKay has been the relatively slight inconvenience of having to resign as David Cameron’s ‘senior parliamentary adviser’. And the loss of the title doubtless will not prevent him from continuing to put about a bit of stick or acting as Mr Cameron’s back-room enforcer.
Boldly taking a moral lead on this unsavoury episode, ConservativeHome have conducted a poll of 1,414 Conservative Party members, and 66 per cent are persuaded that Mr MacKay should be deselected. Cranmer is incredulous that 18 per cent are persuaded that Andrew Mackay’s continuing presence on the Conservative benches is not the personification of all that is avaricious, duplicitous or ‘nasty’ about the Conservative Party. What is wrong with these people? David Cameron is the best thing that has happened to the Conservative Party since Margaret Thatcher (and Cranmer knows). The stench of Andrew MacKay re-contaminates the brand which Mr Cameron has worked tirelessly and assiduously to purge of its more unpalatable perceived expressions.
Andrew MacKay’s moral deficiency is manifest not only in his ‘error of judgement’, but in his continuing insistence that he is not really at fault. He said: “This was all transparent, it was all approved and frankly until it was drawn to my attention it did not occur to me that it didn't pass the reasonableness test.”
How could it not occur to him that claiming for two second homes was not reasonable?
He professes in a BBC interview that he did not know what he was doing was in any sense wrong. He says he was 'acting on advice'. Claiming for two second homes had apparently ‘been agreed with the fees office’. But any honest person would realise that by claiming for both houses, they were perpetuating an outrageous fraud upon the taxpayer – an undeniable moral fraud if not a literal financial one. Since he asserts he was acting on advice he is adamant that he should not suffer any further discipline. Apparently, the first he realised his arrangements were wrong, even morally wrong, was in a phone call he had on Tuesday. His ‘error of judgement’, he says, was in accepting the advice of the fees office.
Andrew MacKay professes to be ‘very passionate about Bracknell’, and does not intend to stand down as the constituency’s MP because he has ‘put (his) all into representing Bracknell over the years and (he has) very close bonds with the people’.
But what commitment can he possibly have to the people of Bracknell when he has never bothered to live among them? What ‘close bond’ can there be when he has no home there? He does not pay their local taxes, use their schools or hospitals, or frequent their pubs, shops or leisure facilities. The people of Bracknell must see that their MP is part-time and detached. Bracknell for him is simply the means by which he can wield power at Westminster. His local association must now see that he is an electoral liability and there is a distinct possibility of a local independent ‘Martin Bell’ standing on an anti-sleaze platform.
How can it be possible to feel that one must resign from the front bench over financial impropriety but still consider oneself fit to be a Conservative Member of Parliament? The possibility that he will be mobbed by reporters or heckled by an angry electorate will make effective campaigning impossible. And there is no point in the Conservative Party winning the key marginals if they lose the ‘safe seats’ already held. The brown envelopes which unseated Neil Hamilton and caused the deselection of Tim Smith contained nothing like £100,000. Andrew MacKay should be deselected by his local association for he has shown himself unfit for public office. He has systematically milked the system and stands accused of fraud.
The Prime Minister suspended Elliot Morley for failing to notice that his mortgage had been paid off. David Cameron must be equally as robust in dealing with the gross abuse perpetrated by Andrew MacKay and Julie Kirkbride. The swamp must be drained of the lowlife, and the Party purged of such pollutants.