20 May 2009

What Scandal?

I cannot stress this enough. This expenses shenanigan: it's not a scandal. It is not a scandal. Scandals involve shock revelations, which require at least some kind of element of surprise. The revelations we have had from whatever gate-based name you want to give this story are as follows:
  1. That British political culture is opaque, secretive and deliberately obstructive.
  2. That politicians are on the make.
  3. That politicians are dishonest.
  4. That people milk their expense accounts as much as they think they can get away with it.
  5. That politicians, when discovered, scapegoat anyone they can to save their sorry skins.

Now is there anyone, anyone on the cynical little island I call home who did not already know all of these? The only reason anyone considers this a major story is because all five seem to have coincided, and at a time when politicians, especially the ones in power, are extremely unpopular. Only shock fact #1 is even vaguely specific to Britain, and I suppose there's a slight chance it may not have dawned on a couple of people.

And the most reasonable reaction from Westminster was immediately mocked and shouted down - that MPs were only acting within the system. Obviously, this is no excuse, but it's the obvious cause and the obvious solution. If you're upset about what the piggies are doing in the trough, move the trough. Changing the pigs won't help. Even getting thicker, more racist pigs in as a protest won't help. The only way the BNP would change British political culture is by covering their tracks more ineptly and beating up people who looked like Shahid Malik. We should remember, however, which party brought in the Freedom of Information Act that meant we could clamp down on this abuse. New Labour deserve credit for bringing in the act that bit them deservedly in the arse.

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