Monday, October 12, 2009

MPs: if all are guilty, then no one is

What then? Are we better than they? No, in no way.
For we previously charged both Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin

Romans 3:9

The Legg report on British MPs expenses looks to be a fiasco: by saying that so many MPs are guilty it means that individual culpability is diminished. It lets the most guilty off the hook while also tarring the essentially innocent with the brush of corruption.

A truly terrible result that will undermine faith in British democracy to the point of crisis.


thepoliteer said...

Hi Cisero.

"If all are guilty, then everyone is - to varying degrees" would seem a more appropriate approach. The degree to which they are considered guilty of course depends on whether many Fee Office 'approved' expenditures are retrospectively classified as non-approved. I would suggest that where expenditures have been unreasonable, (and I recognise the difficulty of defining this exactly), they should be. The illegal claims should obviously be treated as such.

I agree, however, that this is going to descend further into black comedy.

Richard T said...

At the risk of being thought cynical, I wonder if this is the point of Legg. By involving all MPs in a retrospective review of what had been passed as reasonable, as you say he has put up a smokescreen whereby the really guilty can retreat under its cover? We can count on the majority of the press concentrating on the trivial and on 'hate figures' like Jacqui Smith and Gordon Brown who have already been through the mill and missing the point as to why rich men like Gideon Osborne and David Cameron sucked at the state's teat to get second houses that they well afford for themselves and in the former case then played the second home game to avoid capital gains tax. Don't even think of their hypocrisy in criticising folk on incapacity benefit as this is a different matter of only claiming their entitlement under the expenses rules. Et voila the guilty escape scrutiny and public disgrace.

Ed Butt said...

I think British politics was already way past the point of crisis. but as Brown is one of the major offenders it will be interesting to see if he survives until Christmas.