Saturday, 13 June 2009

Article written for Accountancy Age Magazine April 2009 re European elections

Chartered Certified Accountant Leslie Rowe is a candidate for the Green Party in Yorkshire and Humberside. Age 56, Leslie has been around for a long time and featured in a 1989 copy of Accountancy Age, when he was standing in the European elections for the Liberal Democrats in the Cotswolds.

Now running an Accountancy Practice in the Yorkshire Dales, Leslie is married with 3 children at school. “Politics is a funny business,” reflected Leslie when recalling his 30 years in politics. “You will find some of the most innumerate bozos getting elected to both Westminster and Strasbourg; people guaranteed to put two and two together and get five.”

“However, they are all financial wizards when it comes to claiming expenses. We have Yorkshire MEPs who openly pay their partners from the public purse, with no pretence of being equal opportunity employers. And all MPs know that they can claim expenses worth three times their salary and do not have to pay council tax on their second homes.”

“Some of most talented and honest politicians are still knocking on the door of Parliament. Sometimes I think it is a pre-requisite of elected office that you should be too thick to be a threat to the powers that run our elected dictatorship?”

“Perhaps this explains why there are so few accountants in the European Parliament? Perhaps this also explains why the EU budget has not been approved for, what,14 years and their accounts are perennially being qualified? Frankly the EU is a cesspit of dirty money sticking to the hands of those who can stand the stench long enough to grab it.”

A 2006 audit report on corruption was kept secret until leaked earlier this year. It found money being paid to companies which did not exist and MEPs being paid full allowances for assistants when no assistants were registered as being employed.

Employees were paid bonuses of up to 19 times their monthly salary and received large "layoff" payments with no apparent justification.

“It is not as if you have to do any work after all. The UKIP MEP for Yorkshire & the Humber (Godfrey Bloom) has spoken less than a dozen times in the European Parliament during his 5 years in office and that includes a call for women to stay in the kitchen.

We need talented individuals to represent us in Europe, not jokers. People who can challenge the status quo and start cleaning up Europe. Unfortunately if you look at the lists put forward by the old grey parties, you will see nothing but the same old same old.”

Green Party candidate Leslie Rowe paused for a moment, deep in thought. “Then of course, we have the even more urgent problem of climate change …..”

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