And so we finish week three of ‘expenses-gate’ with still no sign that the public furor is even close to abating. In fact, given that the Daily Telegraph’s Benedict Brogan admitted that his paper has only scanned over a third of MPs expenses, we may just be getting started.
However, us talented bloggers don’t need the greatest political scandal in decades to find interesting and worthy issues to write about.
As Scotland mourns the defeat of our greatest Internet phenomenon since John Logie Baird invented fibre-optics, Tory Bear has a little guffaw at the wretched secessionist behind Advanced Media Watch as he “hyped himself into a frenzy about how fantastic” Britain’s Got Talent could united the UK. Tory Bear suspects that the end of BGT will signal the return of “the petty racism and romanticised, farcical, deluded nationalist dream.” In Boyle we trust. Another spectator was Tom Harris, who felt the best performer won.
Jack Deighton discussed the prospect of electoral reform, notably the myth that first past the post returns a strong government. Deighton flips the argument on its head asking whether a strong government is actually desirable. I think he has a point. Truman’s “weak” ‘Do-Nothing Congress’ accomplished a number of feats. However, yours truly is still to be convinced by the merits of PR, especially those arguments emanating from Nick Clegg. Political Dissuasion simply “shan’t be voting” at all in the next general election, whilst A Place To Stand has a number of questions about electoral reform.
Bid For Freedom dissected the subject of gender prejudice in politics – a subject that hit the headlines with Margaret Moran’s parting shot earlier this week. Subrosa discussed the NHS and red tape, notably her dreadful experience of NHS Direct. Yapping Yousuf was a little perplexed by the media reaction to David Cameron’s “radical” proposals on constitutional change. Stumbling and Mumbling also heard Cameron’s speech, notably his call for fewer MPs. Yuosuf also refers to Clegg’s statement that MPs shouldn’t be allowed a holiday until they sort out the expenses fiasco, a subject also raised by Stephen’s Linlithgow Journal. Let them go I say – have they not done enough damage as it is?
Kezia does a bit of digging and finds that Kenny MacAskill called for Cathy Jamieson to resign in 2006 after prisoners escaped from Reliance security vans. Unfortunately, MacAskill now finds himself of being in a somewhat unenviable position of witnessing another serious criminal escaping. By his very own definition, shouldn’t MacAskill now resign? Malc In the Burgh enjoys Msr. MacAskill’s hypocracy. However, Jeff calls on the opposition to “learn that you can’t just flounce around trying to get opposing individuals sent off, you have to actually string a few passes together once in a while if you are going to get ahead in this game.”
Meanwhile, Ideas of Civilisation criticises the media handling of a story regarding the tragic death of an army cadet, accusing the Daily Record of exploiting the family’s grief.
… but yes, there is still the subject of MPs expenses. Angus Nicolson criticises the 15 MSPs who claimed Remembrance Day wreaths on expenses, whereas Bill Cameron highlights the fact that Labour MP Bill Cook has gone a step further – expensing five bucks for a church donation at a war memorial service. The mind boggles. Flying Rodent has a humorous, succinct summary of each political faction and their stance on the expenses scandal. SNP Tactical Voting calls on Robin Cook’s successor, Jim Devine, to be de-selected for some of his questionable expenses, whilst yours truly asks Harriet Harman how she can defend her colleagues larges for being within the rules when she was all set to tear up Sir Fred Goodwin’s pension that was also perfectly legal. The “court of public opinion” ain’t so fun when you’re on the receiving end, is it Hatty? Mr Eugenides dissects the Independent’s Steve Richards after he accused libertarians of taking pleasure from the expenses scandal because they “hate politics.” Hate politics? No, answers Mr Eugenides, we “just hate politicians.”
And on that note, I bid you all farewell from these shores as I prepare to set up shop across the pond. However, just like Lord Foulkes in the House of Lords, I will of course be more than happy to continue to make the odd contribution.