In more than a decade of observing and writing about Britain's society and culture, I have never encountered anything comparable to the rage and fury which has followed the revelation that large numbers of Members of Parliament of various parties are morally no better than thieves and criminals.From Pryce-Jones at the National Review:
The mood in Britain is unlike anything I have experienced. The electorate is enraged by the conduct of its representatives.
It turns out that the Blair-Brown Labour government could not bring itself to raise salaries for MPs, but instead set up “the system” of allowances that were privileged and kept secret. An MP could claim thousands of pounds more or less on his own say-so, with shaky receipts for dubious expenditure, and the result is that some have built property portfolios worth a million pounds or more. Some of the claimants were already rich in their own right, others used to be poor. All but a handful have been shamelessly greedy, and brought disgrace upon themselves and Westminster. The spectacle of them pretending that “the system” is to blame, or that they made accounting mistakes and are offering now to return ill-gotten gains has added elements of farce.
When people become public servants, they do not stop being self-interested, thinking instead only of the common good? A great deal of political commentary implicitly assumes that greed is limited to businessmen, not bureaucrats and elected representatives.
Update: An English Revolution?
England may not experience a classical revolution with barricades and gallows in public places. However, it certain to witness a major re-shuffle of political elite with a new prime minister, new government and a House of Commons where, for the first time since 1945, a majority of members will be newcomers.