Jacqui Smith, latest offender in expenses scandal

In the British parliament expenses scandal, we’ve heard about “flipping,” the practice whereby an MP reverses the status of his two homes, so that his second home, in London, the home for which the expenses are intended so as to enable him to attend parliament, is designated as his “first” home, and he spends the money earmarked for his London residence on his real home.

The latest MP to have been caught flipping is none other than Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, of whom I said when she was appointed to her post in 2007 that “the spelling of her name produces in me a feeling of great confidence that she is really on top of her job of enforcing Britain’s laws.” And, indeed, Jacqui’s no average, ordinary flipper: her second home in London that she falsely designated as her “first” home was not even a home, but a room in her sister’s London house. What’s the English equivalent for chutzpah?

Here I think is the deeper meaning of the scandal. These MP’s have had exactly the concern for the responsible use of tax payer monies as they have had for the conduct of the nation as a whole. When they’ve left Britain open to insane immigration; when they’ve sided with Islam against Britain; when they’ve given terrorists asylum status and put them up in state subsidized homes; when they’ve allowed savage crime to become normal and go unpunished; when they’ve criminalized normal political speech; when they did these things and so much more, it was because they have no regard for their country. All they care about is themselves, and their favored minority constituencies, because it is through their identification with those minorities that they express their contempt for their own country. Their behavior in the expenses scandal reveals the same self-centeredness and the same contempt, and that’s why the scandal is of such great significance.

Then consider Jacqui Smith in particular. Not only, as Thucydides points out below, did she prevent Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament who had been invited to address a group of British parliament members, from entering Britain. She’s the one who released a list of names of people she has barred from Britain, including American radio host Michael Savage (who hadn’t even been trying to enter Britain), because they don’t represent British “values” (Smith doesn’t believe in defending Britain, but in defending British “values,” i.e., cultural leftism). She’s the one who, in the spirit of a true totalitarian as I described it, sought to punish people for belonging to the BNP even as she mocked them for not wanting their names to be made public. And she’s the one who declared that Islamic terrorism should henceforth be referred to as “anti-Islamic actitivty.” (On a lighter note, here is an early mention of her in which I correctly guessed the year of her birth, based on her name.)

Thucydides writes:

Here is a story on the resignation of UK cabinet minister, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who was the official who denied Geert Wilders, the Dutch parliamentarian, carrying a diplomatic passport, admission to the UK to address as invitee a group of legislators on the Muslim issue. (She was reportedly responding to the complaints of one “Lord Ahmed,” one of the “New Labor” persons used by Tony Blair to pack the House of Lords.)

Smith has now resigned over revelations in the Telegraph’s expense investigation that she had designated a room in her sister’s London home as her main residence, thereby charging the expenses of her family home to UK taxpayers. Among the questionable charges to the taxpayers were her husband’s claim for “adult” movies.

This may give something of the flavor of the character of these people.

* * *

For those who want to catch up on this remarkable story, the Telegraph lists its main articles on the scandal:

MPs’ expenses in depth
The political casualties
Full list of MPs investigated
MPs’ expenses in pictures
MPs’ expenses: Labour MPs
MPs’ expenses: Conservative MPs
MPs’ expenses: Liberal Democrat MPs

Mark P. writes:

This expense scandal is really interesting because it reveals something about liberalism I don’t believe has been noticed before, namely, is this really all it takes? Is it really that simple to get rid of liberals by targeting all of their financial improprieties and other dealings destined to rankle the public? Allowing violations of the rules is also a form of control. People get hooked on the illicit perks and the illicitness of the activity can be held against them by higher-ups (read: Rod Blagojevich.) Might this be used against them?

LA replies:

That’s an original thought.

As I discussed in a previous entry on the expenses scandal, modern liberalism with its cult of the self and its disdain for one’s country and fellow countrymen is incompatible the ideal of public service. Therefore liberals power holders will tend to be corrupt. At the same time, liberal society cannot do away with rules and laws and ethics, it lives on them. So the rules and laws will remain in place, and can be used against the liberal political elite.

Mark replies:

Of course, if the opposition party does the same thing, then they open themselves up to the same hanging.

* * *

It think it would be worth while to reproduce here my entry on Jacqui Smith from July 2007, the first time I wrote about her, and consider it in the context of her subsequent career as Home Secretary:

I am the very model of a postmodern government minister

The entertainment guide This is London reports:

In her first Commons statement since her appointment on Thursday, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: “Terrorism is a serious threat to us all. We must ensure our resources, capability and legislation support our common endeavour to defend the shared values of this country from terror.”

Isn’t that perfect? Liberals, I always say, don’t believe in their actual people, country, and civilization, they believe in liberalism, or, as the British like to put it, their “shared values.” So this Jacqui Smith (the spelling of whose name produces in me a feeling of great confidence that she is really on top of her job of enforcing Britain’s laws) speaks of the government’s intent to defend from terror, no, not the British people, no, not Great Britain itself, no, not the economy and the material functioning of Great Britain, but the “shared values” of Great Britain, meaning liberalism, meaning tolerance, meaning tolerance of Muslims, meaning that what the government is going to defend from terrorism is the Muslims in the UK—defend them from any possible intolerance or suspicion that the British people may direct at them as a result of the terrorism.

What a country!

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 03, 2007 12:50 AM

So, in July 2007, based on nothing but Smith’s statement that her mission would be to defend Britain’s “shared values,” I predicted that under her Secretaryship “what the government is going to defend from terrorism is the Muslims in the UK—defend them from any possible intolerance or suspicion that the British people may direct at them as a result of the terrorism.” Or, rather, since that’s what they had been doing all along, to do it in an even more audacious and insane way than before.

And six months later, that’s exactly what they—she—did. Here is the initial entry I wrote on this in January 2008:

PC to the nth power

There are things that are so sick that a human mind should not have to deal with them, not have to think about them. But they are there and we have no choice. Britain’s Home Secretary, who has the confidence-producing name Jacqui Smith, is now officially describing Islamic terrorism as “anti-Islamic activity.” The Daily Mail reports:

In her first major speech on radicalisation, Miss Smith repeatedly used the phrase “anti-Islamic.”

In one passage she said: “As so many Muslims in the UK and across the world have pointed out, there is nothing Islamic about the wish to terrorise, nothing Islamic about plotting murder, pain and grief.

“Indeed, if anything, these actions are anti-Islamic.”

Another section referred to enlisting the Muslim community against “anti-Islamic activity.”

Her words were chosen to reflect new Government strategy on labelling the terrorists and their recruiting agents.

The shift follows a decision taken last year to stop using the phrase “war on terror,” first adopted by U.S. President Bush.

In other words, Bush’s pathetically inadequate and euphemistic phrase “war on terror” is too blunt and harsh for the mighty Brits. Even as a handful of realists about Islam have been struggling to get our media and politicians to drop such evasive terms as “terror” and “Islamo-fascism” and to recognize that the problem is Islam itself, the British are heading in the opposite direction, farther away from reality—from opposing the euphemism “terrorism” to opposing “anti-Islamic” terrorism. And yet this is not shocking, is it? Hasn’t the entire Western leadership, starting with our own Dear Leader, been saying from the start that the extremists are not real Muslims, but people who pervert and exploit Islam for non-Islamic purposes and violate Islam’s true peaceful nature? Describing Islamic warriors as “anti-Islamic” activists is simply the logical next step.

[End of initial entry from January 2008]

So, just to bring this together again, this top government minister who went to the most extreme, can’t-be-parodied degree of PC, calling Islamic terrorism “anti-Islamic activity,” thus siding with Britain’s enemy by making it impossible to identify the enemy as an enemy, was also the government minister who declared the room in her sister’s London house that she occasionally slept in to be her “primary” residence, so that she could direct gonverment funds intended for the maintenance of her secondary residence to the maintenance of her actual primary residence, outside London.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 03, 2009 03:47 PM | Send

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