"British lawmakers to repay $2m expenses in claims scandal - Thu, Feb 04, 2010 AFP
LONDON (AFP) - BRITISH lawmakers were ordered on Thursday to repay more than one million pounds (S$2 million) of expenses linked to their second homes, after an investigation into a scandal which rocked parliament.
The long-awaited review by former civil servant Thomas Legg found lawmakers must return 1.1 million pounds in payments received for loans on second homes, gardening and cleaning expenses.
The scandal reached a peak last year when one member of parliament (MP) for the opposition Conservatives, Peter Viggers, was found to have claimed more than 1,600 pounds for a duck house to stand in a garden pond."
Well well well. It is finally the time to pay the due debt for indiscriminate and dishonest spending the public money by public servants! When the scandal first broke, I commented and lamented how the public servants are misbehaving and bringing shame to a truly important part of a civilised society. How trust was carelessly destroyed by highly educated, intelligent and fairly wealthy people elected by the people to work for a great good! It just showed that getting an education does not necessarily translate into behaving decently!
Lessons for me are:
1. when you do something improper, the time to pay for it will come. It is not a question of if you will pay for it but when you will have to pay for it. So, it is best not to violate the ethical codes of conducts especially when you are a public servant! Greed will bring you down eventually!;
2. of course, many of the culprits did not start out wanting to take advantage of the parliamentary privileges. Some may actually really harbour the public spiritedness of selfless services to their constituents who entrusted him or her to create a greater good for the constituencies. Suffice to say that many lost their way as they progress in life in the 'elected representative' realm. Many developed the 'entitlement mentality' and no longer see the act of asking for more and taking more from the people's coffer as anything unusual, much less something to be ashamed of!!;
3. in a democratic society, such breaches and indiscretion can be found out relatively faster. It is on of the advantages of having a democratic system. At the same time, it must not be lost on anyone who want to serve the public that one must be anchored firming on the premise of: I am serving the public because I have the capability to create a greater good for a greater number of people. It is NOT about me. Also, it can be a thankless job as trying to please everyone is not going to happen!!
May democracy thrive in UK and other parts of the world that find holding public servants fully accountable to be a good measure of a mature and developed society.