I passed up the opportunity earlier today to comment to a journalist on a member of parliament who had used her expenses to pay for a house that was then left empty. I didn’t do so out of any sense of condoning leaving properties empty or condoning MPs misusing their allowances. But I don’t about you but I’m beginning to get bored by the whole story. Yes the Telegraph have done an admirable job in exposing a scandal. If it results in a new parliamentary expenses system with greater public scrutiny, what they have done will be seen in the best tradition of public service journalism. On the other hand if the result is just a further drop in the esteem in which politicians are held, it won’t have done much good.
Over the last few years I have had the privilege to meet many remarkable MPs. And whether I agreed with them or not, I got the sense from all of them that they there to try and do some good. Some achieve their aim, some don’t. But what I don’t recognise is the “They’re all just in it for the money” accusation that lots of people have thrown around this week. What has been exposed is bad, deceitful even. But it doesn’t mean MP’s are all corrupt. My expereince of working in many differnt organisations is taht most self-policed non-scrutinised systems attract bad smells over time. How many company car mileage schemes would stand up to Telegraph style scrutiny? I’m just looking forward to getting back to talking to MPs about what they are doing about the 1 million empty homes in this country not just the odd one or two they may own themselves.