12 May 2009

Appalled, dispirited and depressed


The papers make grim reading this morning.  I doubt whether the Telegraph has ever used such a large typeface for a lead story.

The polls are now reflecting the signs of public anger, not that any evidence was needed.  86% agree that all the parties are as bad as each other regarding the expenses scandal.

Yesterday was just dreadful.  Everybody was sorry, but no one took any action.  All we got was that a new operational assurance unit would start shortly to oversee claims, and the Commons would try to bring forward when the details MP’s expenses would be published.

A certain numbness comes over when you read about the lamentable performance of the Speaker or when the BBC’s Political Editor says:

It is with great sadness that I have to announce the death of the "honourable member".


Yet the House of Commons has run itself as if Members of Parliament can and should be assumed to be honourable and, by implication, better than those they govern.

It is this idea that underpinned the creation, the exploitation and the attempt to cover up a system of allowances which has now caused such damage to the reputation of all those involved in politics.

Perhaps Martin Bright best describes my feelings:

I now recognise this crises is very serious indeed and always would have been. To see politicians of the stature and integrity of Hazel Blears, Andy Burnham, James Purnell, Cheryl Gillan and Michael Gove dragged into this makes me very sad indeed.

And the thought that next year we may be ruled by a party which harbours an MP who gets the public to pay to clean his moat brings me to the point of despair.

There have been scandals in the past and great men like Lloyd George, Churchill and others have been tarnished, but this one is so damaging because all our elected politicians are involved.

I am angry and appalled.  There is something else.  I am genuinely worried that no one is going to provide the leadership required to resolve this sorry mess.

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