Something deeply embarrassing is happening in our country. It is not entirely clear why, but in an act of extreme pettiness, my fellow elite have decided that come hell or high water Big Ben must not Bong.
Let’s be honest; almost no one will notice either way. It has never troubled my mind whether a particular bell will sound at a particular time when we formally leave the EU. What mattered to me was no longer paying vast amounts of money so that a dysfunctional club could compel me to abide by its poorly written laws.
The total sum of ‘no one’, genuinely believes that it would cost the nation £500,000 to have one bell ring. But to add insult to duplicity, we are now told “authorities” say that even if the sum is crowd funded, it can’t be accepted.
The House of Commons Commission has said:
“There has been a suggestion that the cost of striking the bell could be covered by donations made by the public. This would be an unprecedented approach, the house of commons has well established means of voting through the expenditure required to allow it to function and to preserve its constitutional position in relation to government any novel system of funding would need to be consistent with principles of propriety and proper oversight of public expenditure.”
I think it is worth considering this statement in detail.
To begin, being “unprecedented” is not a relevant characteristic. Everything that is now precedented was, first, un-precedented.
The next suggestion is that a donation cannot be accepted as a means of funding a purchase because another means (buying it yourself) is already established.