Monday, September 24, 2007
Corrupt? Or doing a good job under pressure?
I'm in danger of becoming an Oborne bore, having referenced his book twice already, but his Channel 4 Dispatches programme this evening was a pretty watchable attack on the generous allowance treatment handed out to MP's. As well as exposing some of the profitable housing payments that MP's can claim (and outing senior figures such as Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper), Oborne also turned his attention to the extraordinary passage of David MacLean's privacy Bill (designed to benefit MP's only), and the regular undermining of the independent Commissioner for parliamentary standards. It was mildly scandalous stuff, although Oborne gave it all the outrage he could muster, and there is no doubt that the parliamentary system as it currently operates encourages a sense of immunity and separation amongst MP's from the society they are meant to represent. But, to be fair, he was not revealing major league corruption; his issue was that the MP's allow themselves the luxury of passing legislation that protects them all too well. Outside influences are not allowed too near to the comfortable club!
One encouraging thing was that amongst our representatives there are still unsung mavericks like Richard Shepherd (Con.), David Winnick (Lab) or the indefatigable Norman Baker (LD) who will investigate with a verve bordering on obsession the potential infringements of public probity that might exist, no matter how much enmity they incur from fellow members of the club!