UK Politics

I Don’t Care

The BBC has a competition:

Thanks for your emails about MP expenses claims. Here, in alphabetical order, are some of the more eye-catching details spotted so far of MPs’ claims under the second home allowance for 2008/9 – you can send us anything else you spot using the postform at the bottom of this page. If and when we have a response from the MP concerned we will add it

You can read these ‘eye-catching’ claims here.

They include a few quid for a ‘moth trap’. I have moths, from time to time, and so I sympathise.

Yes, dear reader. I read this article. I now know which MPs paid bills late, and who claimed for odd, funny, or expensive things. I know that David Cameron failed to provide a receipt to back something up, and then found it and sent it in.

I just don’t care.

Oh, I know – it is unedifying to see MPs egregiously milking the system. There were some spectacular piss takes, weren’t there? However, we also know that the ‘expenses’ scheme was set up with the express purpose of allowing MPs to get paid more than their declared salary, without the public knowing. It worked in the manner that it ought to have worked – that’s until the information was leaked, of course. As it was surely always going to be!

And then – oh dear – a good proportion of our MPs fell into a heffalump trap, from which many will never climb out.

Did MPs behave badly? Yes, I think MPs should have stood up sooner, and said:

“Pay us honestly – anything but this grubby arrangement under which civil servants pretend to be scrutinising the claims which we make, that they nearly always grant”.

I admire MPs who, despite it all, decided not to play the game, and made few claims.

However do I care about duck houses? Porn films, even? No. I just don’t.

We’ve had this story since the summer. The constant drip-drip-drip of it. The photographs of moats behind the red faced, lantered jawed parliamentarian, gawping at the camera in disbelief. The Alan Duncan ‘gaffes’. The serious sounding analytical pieces about the future of our democracy. The Outrage! The Anger!! The Disillusionment!!!

Let’s get a little perspective. This is hardly Berlusconi, is it?

I know a few MPs, of various parties. They had no expenses scandals. They are all hard working politicians, motivated by a sense of obligation to their constituents and their country, who could be earning more outside Parliament. I admire them, and think we’re lucky – despite it all – to be able to attract people like them to the House of Commons.

I do understand that some of you will have bought into the whole ‘anti-politics’ thing, and will be unplacifiably furious about the expenses scandal. Feel free to say how hopping mad you are, below. It’s an open forum.

However, I’m sorry to tell you: my well of outrage has run dry.