Just finished reading 'No Expenses Spared' (the inside story of the scoop which changed the face of British politics - by the team that broke it). Even though I was one of those who devoured the coverage that began on 9th May 2009 about what some of our MPs had claimed as expenses, I was still totally gripped, and comprehensively re-shocked, by this book. For any aspiring MP, its a must-read. The final words before the epilogue are those of David Cameron. He has a talent for encapsulating the public mood in the right words.
"What the Daily Telegraph did - the simple act of providing information to the public - has triggered the biggest shake up in our political system for years.
Information alone has been more powerful than years of traditional politics. Of course it has been a painful time for politics and for individual politicians - but let us be clear, it is without question a positive development for the country.
It is information - not a new law, not some regulation - just the provision of information that has enabled people to take on the political class, question them, demand answers, and get those answers. That's exactly as it should be."
But the story lies unfinished. The people have not yet had their say. When it became clear that public confidence in the current Parliament had been terminally undermined, a General Election should have been called. It wasn't, and the second huge explosion of 2009, a world-wide financial crisis has taken 'Expensesgate' off the front pages. But it will be back. There will almost certainly be more resignations in the New Year, and the publication of Sir Thomas Legg's letters to MPs demanding repayments will probably produce more headlines over the next few weeks. And so they should. The next Parliament will be faced with huge challenges, the greatest of which will be to begin the process of reducing the public debt that will have been bequeathed by the current Government. The General Election will be about choosing the representatives that the voters believe have the character and integrity to undertake the task - and the removal of those whom the public have lost faith in. Only then can the final chapter of 'No Expenses Spared' be written.