I managed to find a picture of the portly middle aged Lord Hanningfield with his hand in his own pocket for a change. I wouldn’t want to be accused of interfering with the course of justice since his trial, and that of David Chaytor, Jim Devine, and Elliot Morley, started at Southwark Crown Court last Thursday.
If you turn to the BBC for your news, you will learn that they are accused of ‘fiddling their expenses’ – you know, the jolly jape that so many salesmen and reporters get up to. However, if you read the charge sheet, you will see that they have actually been charged under Section 17 of the Theft Act 1968.
Still, can’t comment further, sub-judice and all that, but I can bring you other news regarding Lord Hanningfield’s attitude to taxpayer’s money.
You see before Lord Hanningfield was charged he was leader of Essex County Council and a shadow spokesman for the business department. Actually, long before that he was plain old Paul White and a pig farmer. No wonder they love the Lord’s so much. Anyway, back to his days at Essex County Council.
Last year he made a great hullaballoo telling everyone who would listen that he and his council had set aside £50 million pounds to enable small businesses to obtain loans and weather the recession.
‘Banking on Essex’ has its own web site, a nice tree logo – does money grow on it? – and was to be run in conjunction with the Spanish Bank Santander. No doubt staff have been seconded, trained, stationary bought and stored, and of course there will be those essential offices.
Still its all in a good cause, is it not?
It is for the 10 successful applicants out of 232 who applied – in a year.
Those 10 applicants have received £145,000 between them to help save their businesses – £14,500 each on average.
The council spent £250,000 setting up the scheme.
Addendum: Lord Hanningfield has previously likened care homes to prison. Hopefully he will shortly get the chance to find out how wrong he is. Care homes are much, much more comfortable.