I'd like to direct my right honourable friend to the recent news that MPs are entitled to claim back up to £23,000 a year in expenses to help them furnish their London bolt-holes. That's right, your local MP is entitled to claim back more every year than the average British salary, just for kitting out a second home.
This is great news if you're one of the UK's 646 elected Members of Parliament, so let's take a quick look at what electrical items are on the list, and how much you're allowed to splash out on them before the head of finance at The House of Commons gets a little sniffy with you.
For your DVD recording pleasure, allow yourself £270. A hi-fi/stereo should set the taxpayer back no more than £750, and you have the same budget for a TV. Of course you'll need an air-conditioning unit, but make it less than £299.99.
So, what exactly will your right honourable £750 budget get you in the world of flat-panel TVs? The Sony Bravia 32D3000 seems like a good choice for catching up on BBC Parliament, although it's only a 720p set. If you're after increased HD resolution we'd have to suggest that the best-value set for MPs is going to be the Samsung LE40M87, which offers a massive amount of functionality, 'Full HD' 1080p support, three HDMI sockets and a 100Hz movie mode, for a very reasonable £730 (depending on the retailer).
Of course, if you really want the ultimate in home entertainment, may we suggest the Panasonic PT-AX200E video projector, m'lud? It may only offer 720p high definition, but it's within budget and you'll be able to project a 100-inch image with it, perfect for watching those old Margaret Thatcher speeches in super-scary-vision.
For DVD recorders, we'd suggest taking a look at the Samsung DVD-SH855M, which not only has a built-in recorder, but also a 250GB hard drive in case you're away for extended periods of time, and aren't able to change the DVD over when it gets full. Although the Samsung is good, we think the Panasonic DMR-EX77 is slightly easier to use, making it the ideal choice for a hard-working politician who might have to go to Parliament as much as twice a week. It's also last year's product, so there might be some discounts available, although you won't be too bothered, given that you aren't paying.
Which hi-fi should an MP purchase with his or her pile of tax? Well, we'd like to suggest a Denon component system, although the problem is each component costs around £750, so it's going to take until beyond the next election to build up all the bits. What we would suggest is that perhaps an MP could buy one of the outlandish items of furniture prescribed on the list, and then flog it to raise some extra cash. Of course, if that's not possible, why not grab the Sony Giga Juke NAS-50HDE? It's a snip at just £500.
Of course, we don't review air-conditioning units, but our friends over at SmartPlanet tell us that to help save the environment, you should really just open a bloody window. -Ian Morris