Why David Cameron was right to claim for chocolate bars on expenses

Given my love of chocolate, today’s Daily Mirror front page at first made me happy. Four big colour photos of bars of chocolate! And David Cameron in an expenses scandal!

But once I read the story, it quickly became clear David Cameron has done nothing wrong.

He has interns. They get their lunch paid for. The lunches reclaimed and featured in the report were all very modest in their total cost. But – shock! Some interns decide to eat chocolate! Cue Daily Mirror outrage and a quote from the Taxpayers’ Alliance. (Yup, you guessed it – they too were outraged.)

But neither the Mirror not the TPA objected to Cameron employing interns. Or to them eating lunch. Or to them getting their lunch costs back.

No, it was specifically the inclusion of chocolate that the Mirror and TPA object to. Vegetables – no complaint. Chocolate – complaint. 45p on a Galaxy bar gets a front page photo. 45p on a piece of broccoli would have gone without comment.

So the story is really about how the Mirror and Taxpayers’ Alliance are happy not just to criticise the personal diet choices of interns, but think that Parliament’s rules for expenses should forbid certain diet choices.

Just imagine a world in which such micromanagement is let free. After all, why only ban interns from choosing chocolate? There’s other much less healthy food out there. And is a flapjack dipped in chocolate, chocolate or not? Or what about a jaffa cake – chocolate or not? That’d be one fun Parliamentary rule book: “Definitions of chocolate for Parliamentary finance purposes”.

And if such a book was published, what’s the betting the TPA and Mirror would then criticise it as a case of bureaucracy gone mad…?

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8 Comments

  • william macvean 3rd Dec '09 - 5:15pm

    Sorry in my in my job have to pay full price for food perhaps the outrage is just envy.I am afraid it might be tough at top but try living at bottom personally would prefer the broccoli.Maybe its as a friend used to say to him that has a lot a lot more shall be given.

  • Interns do a lot in the House and other workplaces, internships are not paid, so the least one can expect is a bar of chocolate once in a while for hours of FREE labour. I wonder of the Mirror would rather Internships be paid?

  • Andrew Suffield 3rd Dec '09 - 7:29pm

    Curious. The “Taxpayers’ Alliance” is a Tory pressure group. I guess this means Cameron is not universally loved by his party.

  • Neil Gardner 3rd Dec '09 - 7:50pm

    Did David Cameron pay these interns? If they are not paid, I object to that; they should be paid. If they are paid then I object to them being having their lunch paid for by the taxpayer.

  • a banana would have been healthier.

    and they cost 40p too.

    ask Paul Rowen who went bananas at the bare faced cheek of taxpayers quiestioning why he claimed 40p for the fruit whilst now admitting he will have claimed about a million pounds of salary, expenses and allowances since becoming Rochdale’s MP in 2005.

    His “double bubble” councillor expenses remain a mystery despite promising to come clean about them in May 2009.

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