Tuesday, 19 May 2009

House of Hypocrites

Remind me; why was Mr. Martin forced to resign today?

According to Nick Robertson from the BBC, he outlined the following five reasons:

1. He failed to see this crisis coming.

2. He presided over the system which encouraged MPs to fiddle their expenses or to claim them to the max.

3. He wasted time and money on fighting calls from taxpayers to see what MPs were doing with their money.

4. He did little to stand up to those MPs who resisted reform.

5. His reaction to the publication of MPs' expenses was to call in the police and to attack those MPs who criticised him, rather than using his position to apologise to the country or to speak to MPs on behalf of the electorate.

It is all rather vague, nebulous and ill-formed. There is ample use of words like "presided", "wasted", and "failed". There are no concrete accusations like "he claimed money for a non-existent mortgage".

The first four reasons could be easily re-written, removing Mr. Martin as the subject and replacing it with Mr. Brown. It would also work with the names of at least 200 MPs. As for the last reason, it goes along way to explaining why poor Mr. Martin couldn't provide sufficient leadership to prevent MPs from scamming the taxpayer. Reforming the allowance system would have amounted to a fundamental critique of MPs behaviour and lifestyles.

The question is, therefore, why is Mr. Martin taking the long walk when other far more reprehensible individuals remain firmly entrenched in their positions?

It is, of course, a rhetorical question. The answer was evident to anyone who watched today's deplorable spectacle. Poor Mr. Martin was pushed forward, rather like sponge, to absorb our anger. Brown is now following up with a press conference promising "far reaching reform", in an effort to rebuild public confidence in parliament. It looks depressingly familiar; the politicians old-one-two; offer up a victim and promise reform after a committee has deliberated.

However, UK voters are unlikely to be very impressed by today's exercise in hypocrisy. That lofty talk about the reputation of the house and the need to restore confidence in parliamentary democracy looks rather hollow compared to the seedy business of flipping homes to maximize allowances.

There are election coming; the first is European elections on June 4th. Next year, we have the big one; the general election. The people's voice will be heard, the House of Hypocrites will be deposed.


Roy said...

I love it when you are angry alice.

Anonymous said...

The first part to fixing a problem, is recognising what the problem is. I haven't heard a single UK politician that gets it.

They should get ASBO's and wear jackets for a year with "I stole X from the British Public" where X is the amount they skimmed.

Now that would be real justice.

electro-kevin said...

My ire is over the fact that they had their snouts so deep in the trough that their eyes couldn't see and their ears couldn't hear and they allowed the country go to ruin while they were fiddling.

Nick Drew said...

3 and 5 are qute enough to condemn him utterly: and that's before the shameful Damian Green episode

even George Galloway, who mounts something of a defence of Martin, says:

If Martin didn't know they needed a warrant to be there he was too stupid to be Speaker; if he knew but turned a blind eye then he was too wicked.

Anonymous said...

This mess is likely to be ancient history by the next general election. Assuming we have an election that is; there will likely be another crisis by then. If there isn't, the government will invent one to take your mind away from this crisis.

TheFatBigot said...

Mr Martin's performance as Speaker was criticised almost from the start in late 2000. He had neither the intellectual nor the personal skills required to do the job properly. His inadequacy is to blame for much of the way the government has been able to by-pass the Commons over the last decade. It's not all about snouts, troughs and events of the last month.

Umbongo said...

What TFB says! Also, after 8 years in the job, he still had to ask a Parliamentary Clerk what excuse he could give for disallowing a debate on Carswell's motion - the very small change of Commons procedure. This pathetic performance had all to do with his monumental and continuous incompetence and nothing to do with his humble background. His less than stellar performance during the troughing scandal is merely the straw that broke the camel's back. He is an embarrassment to all except, of course, the endemically corrupt world of Labour Glaswegian politics.

What next? I look forward to this blog's defence of Gordon instancing his brilliant handling of the economy since 1997. Oh no, it's not his fault. After all, he's only a fifth rate Scottish history academic - what should he know about economics? Obviously the London anti-Scottish commenterati have got it in for him.