Would you trust an MP?

So who would you trust? Or, rather, not trust?

The old list always included estate agents, used car salespeople (men in those days), and politicians.

Journalists and bankers have rapidly shot up the rankings, so that MPs are still first, followed by poor sad journos, and then bankers.

Estate agents are fourth, followed by construction workers, which makes me and my partner a totally untrustworthy couple. Just so you know.

Civil servants come after that, and I was one of those for a few years too. Does that make me doubly untrustworthy?

These results come from a Which survey of just more than 2000 adults, so hardly a statistically significant one, but an uneducated guess would say it isn’t that far off the mark.

I was chairing the quarterly meeting for our block yesterday. I received three apologies, and four of us turned up, three directors and one leaseholder. We were, a journalist (me), an estate agent (freeholder and director), a streetsweeper (director), and a construction worker (leaseholder).

Since the fresh water leak in the block last week, I wrote to everyone who hadn’t paid their service charges, reminding them that they were due. At the meeting the freeholder estate agent produced his cheque with a flourish. All the untrustworthies around the table had paid up.

There are fifteen flats in the block. Some people own more than one, so basically there are twelve people who pay charges.

When I took over chairing our Council of Management, from the untrustworthy management company – they are estate agents – there were seven outstanding debtors. Now there are only two.

The management company was in charge of the block for eleven months. I have been chairing the Council for five months and achieved better results. Maybe I should start up a management company.

But who are my long-term non-payers? One is someone who lives elsewhere in Gibraltar, and normally rents out his flat for around Β£750 a month. I know this because the people who were renting there before told us. πŸ™‚

He owes more than Β£900 over a two-year period, and clearly receiving Β£750 a month in rent hasn’t brought in enough money to pay those charges. He is claiming there is water ingress and that his flat is damp. Most flats in Gibraltar are damp because of the humid atmosphere, even more so if you don’t open the fucking windows.

When people pay their service charges, I will consider if there is any remedial work to be done. Because how can I get the work done without money in the kitty?

I’m chairing the Council for this block in the interests of 12 people, or rather 12 flat owners. When the vast majority have paid, I am not going to tolerate some whinge from one person who wants to sell their flat anyway and seems to think block money should pay for a redec.

Which brings me onto the other non-payer. A prominent UK Liberal MP no less. I discovered last night that he was given the flat in a bequest from the previous owner. She had no family, was active in the Liberal party, so left her flat to an MP. She would have been better leaving it to the dogs’ home.

Who on earth in their right mind would leave anything to a politician? Seriously?

So, the Right Hon xxxxx xxxxxx now owns Flat One in our block. It has taken some two years to get probate. I’ve been through probate and it took no time at all. Two years?

Meanwhile, the solicitors dealing with probate and our poor Cambridge-educated MP couldn’t find Β£567.60 to pay service charges for the last eighteen months.

They called in a local painting company to get quotes for a redec of the flat. It must have been too expensive because the work was never done. Instead, the reason for non-payment of charges is because the unlived-in flat is damp and it is all the fault of the block. Really? An unlived-in flat in Gibraltar is damp and humid and there is mould on the walls due to lack of block maintenance?

From the solicitor’s letter:

The representative of the estate advised the meeting of the repairs which need to be done by the Management Company as soon as possible to the external area to the flat. The repairs would hopefully halt the water ingress and alleviate the resulting and extreme dampness in the flat which is unfortunately interfering with the enjoyment and use of the property. It is also interfering with the proper and adequate maintenance of the flat.

Yeah, right. So our prominent Liberal MP is just going to come and live in some grotty ground floor one-bed pied-a-terre that quite frankly, I wouldn’t touch with a bargepole.

Well, he hasn’t been living there yet, so I don’t know whose enjoyment, use, and maintenance of the flat is being interfered with.

While ever I run this block, I will look after the finances, ensure emergencies are dealt with promptly, pay the communal bills, and I would like to plan essential maintenance, depending on funds.

I am not willing to pay for redecorating the flat of a UK politician, however supportive he may be of Gibraltar, when he can’t even stump up less than Β£600 for his service charges.

This is an MP who has been described as someone who campaigns for social justice, human rights and the environment. He is described as relatively left-wing. All of which should be a Good Thing. Apparently his sexuality is a cause for speculation. Who cares who he shags? – I don’t. But I do care when he defaults on the charges for our block.

So, my response, to both of these non-payers, is pay your fucking money. I’ll only be Ms Nice for so long, and that time is rapidly approaching its sell-by date.

I wonder if I should have gone into politics. At least I would have been top of the untrustworthy list, rather than second.

And, yes. I will be emailing the Right Hon Member today.


About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
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8 Responses to Would you trust an MP?

  1. Pratik Gupte says:

    I think you should get into politics. And who knows, may be you’ll get a flat from some person πŸ˜€ Great read!


  2. Vicky says:

    Excellent article!
    You’ve certainly got the ball rolling with the maintenance issue……well done!
    I think a name and shame is in order, especially when you look at the snowball that happened in the UK regarding the recent politicians expenses scandal…..I wonder what other can of worms roughseas could open up πŸ˜‰


  3. bluonthemove says:

    Politicians are right at the top of my list. They claim expenses to which they are clearly not entitled and then think its OK to just pay the money back. Try applying that rule to a shoplifter or someone who has claimed benefits to which they are not entitled. Maybe you should suggest to your Lib Dem MP he claims the Gib flat as his second home!!


    • The first expense claiming politician I met was a local Labour councillor. He earned a small fortune out of attending council meetings. Just as well he was unemployed as he wouldn’t have had time to go to work. One of the local Tories didn’t claim anything, said he was happy to contribute towards the community.

      The only thing I am suggesting to the Lib Dem MP (politely at this stage) is that he pays his charges. I doubt any of us need to inspire politicians with opportunities to offset anything against the taxpaying population.


  4. EllaDee says:

    Unbelievable things you have to deal with, but they do make a good post. Dodgy people find their opportunistic ways into all sorts of occupations, lerks & perks but not necessarily all pollies are sus, as evidenced by you local Tory member. I spent a little time working in local govt and came to be familiar with the workings. Best case scenarios were few. Most elected members were liberal/labour affiliated and most ‘successful’ independents soon became faction-ised. I never can get people who have such a sense of entitlement that a normal level of conscience wold preclude the advantages they take. I would just never presume. As for you going into politics, I think your efforts have better effect from outside the political arena, ie the real world.


    • Once a journalist, always a journalist, I can probably write a story about going to sleep! Which reminds me, it’s bedime πŸ˜€

      I’ve worked in local govt, central govt, health service and obv journalism so am more than well acquainted with pollies of all types.

      I think some of the small local ones are actually quite decent, but at national level? Hmmm.

      You are probably right, I am a far better critic than a doer πŸ˜€


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