Saturday, 1 June 2013

Small crumbs from Patrick Mercer's downfall

The venality, cupidity and stupidity of Tory backbenchers is a given.   Patrick Mercer, ex-Tory MP and continuing idiot, has suffered the consequences of arrogance and a failure to recognise that the consequences of the expenses scandal are such that the kind of scams perpetrated by our self-selected masters are now subject to scrutiny.

When the expenses scandal broke, it affected politicians of all parties.  However, only the Tories seem to think that a combination of denial and finger-pointing at the previous administration is a sufficient response.  With any luck, there will be at least some reflection as to how the swivel-eyed are continuing to take the proverbial from the system - and other parties should be keen to point out the cant and hypocrisy of the continued abuse of public office emerging from a party that is keen to demonise anyone working in the public sector or in receipt of social security payments.

Mercer himself deserves very little consideration.  Sacked from the Tory front bench for an utterance that could realistically be perceived as casual racism, he appears to be both vain and credulous if he falls for a journalistic sting - especially since opinion has swung against backbench greed and the scrutiny of such lapses is now tighter.

In the best duck-house tradition he is snivelling about being entrapped, and engaging in casuistry that any payment was for consultancy work which just happened to result in him asking Parliamentary questions.  Doubtless, despite being caught in the act of what might be considered corruption, he will try to draw parallels with the sting on Vince Cable, which got within a whisker of giving Murdoch everything that he wanted.

The Tories have persistently opposed any statutory register of members' interests - and have undermined the efforts of other parties to secure this.  There remains a huge gap between public and politicians, which surely provides an opportunity for coalescence between reformers to demonstrate to the electorate that the patrician grafters are on the way out.  A small step may be feasible both in terms of demonstrating that the Coalition exists for its programme alone, and, for the greater good, in showing that there is still appetite for reform.

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