Another week gone, and the Parliamentary expenses row is still a raging conflagration. If anything, its getting worse. I know the old adages. A week is a long time...... Events, dear boy, events.....In the world of politics, things do happen. And then things move on. But not this time. This last ten days, something hugely significant happened in British politics. The people lost confidence in those who have been elected to represent them. It makes no difference that many of them are honest and hard-working. They/we are all grouped together, MPs, MEPs, AMs and candidates. I find it hard to believe that some politicians are so disconnected that they do not grasp the scale of what has taken place.
The British public was stunned when the Speaker, launched an attack on Labour MP, Kate Hoey, when she suggested that the 'whistle blower' was the wrong target for the search party. They were stunned to hear MPs defending claims for £2500 TVs, repairs to a moat, and gardening costs as reasonable. They were genuinely shocked to learn that claims for mortgage interest had been submitted, after the mortgage had been paid off. They know the appropriate words to describe this. And they were not impressed at all by the commonly used defence that "It was approved by the Fees Office".
David Cameron made an excellent start this week when he demanded repayments of anything which does not pass his 'reasonableness' test, full transparency, and set up a scrutiny system to judge every single Conservative MP's claims record. Its good that the Prime Minister has finally moved on this as well. But I do not think this will be enough for the public. Their ire has reached too high a level. In my opinion, respect for our Parliamentary system will not return until a General Election is held. The people want their say - and we live in a Parliamentary democracy. We know that the people want a General Election - and if Gordon Brown denies them, the people will react. Perhaps it will be in what seems to me an illogical way - by voting for non-mainstream parties. I understand why they might do it. The people want a General Election, and if the one man in a position to give them what they want refuses to concede, it is entirely logical that they try to bring him down. And if the Labour Party decide to stick with this man, its entirely logical that they seek to destroy it. British politics is in a mess. I will be out campaigning this coming week and I really do not know what to expect.