I was over at Steve Richards getting irate with his patronising and wrote a lengthy comment on expenses once again (sorry, it's news right now) - I didn't want to lose it so here it is:
While I agree that MPs need working expenses and the press are taking this too far, there is a fundamental issue beneath this and that is that MPs are milking the system - it's well known they were told to back in the 80s and 90s rather than announce massive pay rises
British politics is not *that* corrupt, I believe we are 16th out of 180 countries in some ranking system and better than the US, and obviously places like Italy - but that doesn't make it right
There are some good, conscientious MPs, mostly back-benchers, who want to behave with integrity - rather than the career politicians that probably come straight through the party machines - but many are not - there is no defence for Smith - her claiming her actual home as an expense is clearly as bent as a shepherd's crook - the porn is a nice, funny angle but the serious issue is that she has claimed furniture, appliances and fittings for the house we all know is the real home, while being paid umpteen times more than the average person who has to toil for that - in short she has benefited from expenses, and that's just not on - maybe she is a scape goat, but she is one of the three most powerful people in the government and her authoritarian policies are not liked - what do you expect? Surely we can expect some decency from the person with the job of protecting our borders and streets?
The rise of other parties (extremist or not) and independent MPs will be no bad thing - we cannot go on with the two party dictatorship - that is the problem with our MPs, the people do not choose them - so how do we get them to do what WE want?
So Steve, if you want to improve politics encourage people to start looking at who they vote for, not just marking X by the parties they've always voted for - if we actually elected our politicians and didn't make our only option to trust either Labour or the Tories to sort it out then we wouldn't be in this mess