23 May 2009

MPs’ expenses: Time to move on

The Archbishop of Canterbury has a piece in The Times this morning:

The issues raised by the huge controversy over MPs' expenses are as grave as could be for our parliamentary democracy, and urgent action is needed to restore trust. It is good that all parties are recognising this. But many will now be wondering whether the point has not been adequately made; the continuing systematic humiliation of politicians itself threatens to carry a heavy price in terms of our ability to salvage some confidence in our democracy

The leading article in the Indy this morning (well worth reading in full) peddles a similar line, The pursuit of MPs is becoming a witch-hunt:

Yet, after a fortnight of bloodshed on the green benches of Westminster, the public reaction to this matter is in danger of getting out of hand. The tone of the debate has become hysterical. What began as a justified critique of MPs' behaviour has degenerated into crude bullying. And the row is now in danger of eroding the democratic health of the nation.

The Telegraph will know doubt continue with the revelations for commercial reasons alone.  However, Williams makes many valid points and the Indy leader is a well argued piece. 

An anonymous MP talks about scandal on Today.  I doubt the views will get much sympathy but they are well worth a listen.

It is solutions that are now required to the political process not more damaging revelations.  Everybody recognises and accepts what has been going on is wrong.  Immediate action has been taken on MPs’ expenses, the Speaker has resigned and the leaders of all parties now acknowledge that change must come, even if the political point scoring may not stop.

The leader in the Indy concludes by saying:

An overhaul of the voting system is not going to be implemented in the coming months, however desirable that would be. And in the absence of such a reform, a general election, in which the public can vote out those MPs who it feels have betrayed its trust, is the next best thing.

While we wait for that reckoning, we ought, collectively, to take a deep breath and rediscover a sense of perspective on recent revelations. Those MPs that have milked the expenses system have, without question, behaved appallingly. But by overreacting to what has taken place, we risk doing our democratic system a double disservice.

This has to be right.  We live in a democracy and it as at the ballot box where the electorate will pass judgment on MPs, the way we have been governed and who is best to do so for the next 5 years.

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  1. The horror of what some MP's have claimed - the appalling advice given by the Fee Office, which has trapped some decent if gulible MP's needed to be put into the public domain.

    But now;

    Beginning to think the Telegraph has an agenda.

    Wonder what it is?

  2. If MP’s expect the Head of State to declare income and expenses – whats good for the Goose is good for the Gander

  3. So you would have been happy for the revelations to stop before we discovered that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was so stupid that he needed to use an accountant to do his tax return?

    And so greedy that he made us pay for it?

    You think that's OK, do you?