Early this week, a huge story broke out of the UK about how English Ministers of Parliament (MPs) have been claiming personal expenses with public dollars. Here are a few of my not-so-favorites:

* £30,000.00 (or $46,995.00) over three years for MP Sir Peter Viggers’ gardening expenses which include a duck house for his pond. Due to this find by the Telegraph UK, he will be retiring his seat in the next election.

* £100.00 ($156.55) for MP Sarah McCarthy-Fry’s hair straighteners.

* £2,200.00 ($3,446.30) for MP Douglas Hogg’s moat cleaning bill at his country home. He has agreed to repay this expense to the taxpayers.

In fact, there are several MPs who have turned in receipts and are shown to accept to repay an expense. However, no interest is said to have been collected, and who is to say that if the abuse wasn’t discovered that money would have come back at all?

Due to the fact that a private entity, the Telegraph UK, has decided to take it upon itself to investigate the expense accounts of Members of Parliament, light is finally being shown into the dark crevasses of English government so that a new culture of open, public government is to include meticulously following the money.

The British controversy only adds more fodder to the transparency cannon as governed people begin to wake up and demand to see how the officials they elect are spending the money they allocate them to spend.

– Mike Joyce