I am feeling sickened by the deluge of petty greed exposed in MP’s expenses. It is like lifting a big damp stone and stepping back in revulsion at some of the multi-legged creatures squirming underneath.
Remember, these are largely the same MPs who took us into a disastrous illegal war, who fostered the climate of the Ponzi economc bubble and crash, and then voted to hand their constituents’ money to the bankers. These are the same MPs who have dismantled centuries old liberties and complacently overlooked the return of torture to our public policy.
All these things could only happen because of the degeneracy of a parliament stuffed on all sides with venal careerists and self-servers, with little or no genuine concern for the public good.
How did it happen? We get the MPs our political parties give us. The truth is that the MPs are not decided by the public, but by the party in selecting their candidate.
In 70% of British constituencies, the party selection procedure of just one party actually decides the MP, with a 95% certainty of rubber stamping by a tribal electorate. In nearly all the rest, only the chosen sons or daughters of two of the party mechanisms are offered as a realistic choice to the electorate.
It has taken the expenses scandal to bring home to the British people what should have been obvious from the appalling quality of government. The whole system is broke. The political parties simply are not producing candidates of anything like sufficient quality to sit in the Mother of Parliaments.
Anyone who thinks a simple switch from Labour to Tory will fix this, is a fool. What is needed is a bold initiative to seize the moment and break the hold of the corrupt parties on the political psychology of the nation.
A start would be a “Clean Hands” campaign to force the resignation of the most egregious crooks, and then run “Clean Hands” candidates in the by-elections. Political views would be less important than honesty, independence and good intentions. The campaign for resignations might proceed one MP at a time to concentrate resources, and combine legal and media pressure with street campaigning in the constituency.
We have to start somewhere and I suggest target number 1 should be Margaret Moran in Luton South, as a plainly indefensible case.