I becoming confused about where necessary restraint stops and the politics of envy begins.
The latest boondoggle from the BBC, after the absurdly overblown coverage of the US Presidential election and the even more bloated coverage of the Beijing Olympic games now seems to be the huge numbers of BBC people "covering"- well at least present at the Glastonbury festival.
Naturally the less well funded- or at least not publicly funded- sections of the media look with green eyes on the well upholstered expense accounts of the national broadcaster. In the face of repeated attacks from Murdoch media outlets, the BBC generally made a case that the money grubbing Philistines from News International "would say that, wouldn't they" and the great and the good who comprise BBC governors would generally look the other way.
However the Daily Telegraph- owned by the Barclay Brothers, who live in tax exile in Sark- may be made of sterner stuff. The poison that the coverage of MPs expenses has unleashed into the British political system may not stop at Parliament. The BBC management clearly does not understand that the culture of excess of the last 10 years has come to a very firm halt, and that green-eyed, jealous coverage of anything deemed to be excessive will become the norm across British life.
I for one would welcome greater restraint in the media, however as far as Parliament is concerned, I fear for the future.
With the effective banning of any extra-Parliamentary income for MPs, we must resign ourselves to our Parliamentarians being of similar calibre to their income peers: senior salespeople, for example.
Trim by all means, but for most MPs, the job was not about money- unlike, say the media. Sure there have been a few who lined their nests, but the price of being an MP- in divorce, ill health and alcoholism has always been high. Now, the unrestrained envy and opprobrium that the Barclay's have unleashed makes being a politician an even less attractive job.
At least the bloated BBC gets to go to Glasto, rather than an all-night sitting on the budget.
I fear that we must now expect pursed lips and tut-tutting to become the standard journalist fare for the near future. Thank goodness I am out of the country: this kind of hypocritical puritanism will be very unpleasant- even if some of it is indeed necessary.