08 May 2009

Expenses revelations: Why now?

Read all about it everywhere.  Tweets galore.  One said, “Will try to monitor developments over the next hours”.  Fraser Nelson saying, “Blackberies (sic) are buzzing all over London”.  Oh, for God’s sake.

Well, I did read all about it and follow developments.  Then I asked myself, why now?  Why has a newspaper paid a great deal of money (a figure of £300,000 has been quoted) for information that will be in the public domain in a few weeks.

Benedict Brogan, assistant editor of the Daily Telegraph, said:

"What matters is that we've established that this information is reliable and it is certainly in the public interest that we publish it."

Is it in the public interest to publish now?  What has been gained by doing so?  Haven't we had enough revelations already to know that the system has been abused by MPs of all parties.

Then I read this level-headed piece in The Times, which asks the questions that come to mind of this blogger:

It is not unreasonable to ask a few searching questions about how this information came to be put in the public domain. How, exactly, did these receipts come to be published? Did money change hands? Why is it that, thus far, no senior Conservative has seen details of his claims spread across the public prints? But interesting and important as all these queries may be, none is as pressing is this: how is that we allowed this patently disreputable and abused system of allowances to go unchallenged for so long?

Spot on.  I am far from condoning what has been going on.  I just do not believe it is responsible journalism for these revelations to be published at this time.  To what end?

There far more important matters that should be in the headlines this morning.  Take this one:

Labour's record on poverty in tatters

More mobile phones and printers may have been smashed in Downing Street last night.  On this occasion can I fully understand why.

Enough said.

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