But what about the ducks? Has anyone thought about them? It’s all very well cutting MPs expenses, but what about the mallard community, deprived of shelter at this crucial time of the year.
As the duck houses of Britain fall into decay and disuse, we face a major scandal of homeless ducks, geese, coots, grebes and other winged aquatics wandering around the gardens of suburban Britain cold and destitute, unable to raise their families, at risk from predators like cats and rats. Spare a thought for them this Christmas, after Sir Christopher “Duckling Killer” Kelly cut off this vital source of government support.
And then there are the moats. These are a vital natural resource, part of our great British heritage, a home to many and varied life forms, including primitive creatures like the Douglas Hogg MP. The Kelly clamp down means that the moats of Britain will now go uncleaned and unloved. Putrid circles of shame surrounding some of our greatest historic houses. A blot on our national character.
And at a time of recession, when millions are losing their jobs in manufacturing, is this really the right time to be destroying a vital market for toilet seats, bath plugs, fake tudor beams, porn films and many other consumer industries which were being supported almost entirely by MPs misusing their second homes allowance? Have the parliamentary standards commissars given no thought to the impact on the wider economy?
And what about family life? It is widely reported that, once MPs are banned from employing their wives, members of parliament will start wife-swapping. There is nothing in the new rules to stop MPs hiring their colleagues’ wives, husbands, children and mistresses. But this is surely nothing less than state-sponsored prostitution. For we all know what MPs get up to with their secretaries and researchers on those long and lonely all night sittings. What example will our legislators be giving to the people of Britain if they turn the Palace of Westminster into a bordello?
Parliament must act. A new bill, the Duck House Compensation Bill, should be passed as a matter of urgency to provide a fund for the protection and shelter of all endangered acquatic birds. There must be doubling of parliamentary salaries forthwith to allow MPs to keep a proper roof, or two, over their heads. And as of tomorrow, this column will be accepting contributions to the Lords and Members of Parliament Relief Fund. They need your help now and there is no more worthy cause this Christmas. So, please, please give generously.