Clouds hang over the house of ill-repute...
In recent weeks scandal has beset Parliament, brought on by the behaviour of the Members of Parliament who sit there.
Firstly there was the scandal over MPs expenses and the ridiculous, unethical and, in some cases, fraudulent claims made by them for reimbursement from the public purse. Daily there were fresh allegations published by the Daily Telegraph becoming more and more extreme as days went by. Thousands of pounds claimed to clean the moat surrounding the country house of one Tory MP; tens of thousands claimed to prune the trees on another’s estate; money claimed for an ornamental “duck island” for the pond in another’s garden; claims for mortgages on second homes which didn’t exist; claims for rent on apartments in London which were actually owned by other members of their family... and on and on and on.
Now there is the scandal of undeclared “interests” which is even more damaging and a flagrant breach of the parliamentary code. MPs claim that their job is incredibly demanding, time consuming and tiring – after all this is the primary reason they allow themselves to claim for second homes in London, close to Parliament, so they don’t have to commute like the rest of the population – yet it now appears that half the MPs have second, third and fourth jobs providing consultancy to firms for very significant remuneration. I wonder how it is that they can find the time to do this when their Parliamentary commitments are so onerous. Anyway, putting that aside, not only are these MPs receiving large salaries from these other companies but they are seeking to influence policy within government in support of these companies without declaring their interest – all of which is wholly improper and explicitly prohibited under parliamentary rules.
So what will come of all of this? The answer, unfortunately, is nothing because the people who are breaking the rules, namely MPs, are the very people who established the rules in the first place. All they have proved is that the scum who are supposed to represent the people are simply serving themselves and lining their own pockets at the tax-payer’s expense.
These people are not fit to perform the roles they are in place to perform and it is imperative that an independent body should have the power to remove them once such wrong-doing has been proven. They evidently cannot regulate themselves so someone MUST be empowered to do it on behalf of the people.
It is a sad state of affairs and a sad day for a democracy which has been the model for so many democratic institutions all round the world.