Saturday, May 16, 2009

George Foulkes and Jo Swinson on MP's Expenses

Today's Herald carries two opposing articles by George Foulkes and our own Jo Swinson on MP's expenses.

Even I, who come at this from the position that most MPs are decent, hardworking people, am sick of being patronised by George Foulkes this week. He just doesn't get how angry the public are about this and the tone of his article implies that we should all just grow up and if we'd paid MPs more, none of this would ever have happened.

On the other hand, Jo completely understands how important it is that MP's use of public money should meet the principles of transparency and not being for any personal gain.

She sees the need for reform and for action against MPs who have deliberately defrauded the system. This isn't some Damascene revelation she's gone through - Jo, like all Liberal Democrats have been calling for reform and openness for years.

She also calls for the Speaker to go as he has been an obstacle for reform.

I was particularly struck by one point that she made:

"It is vital that we do start to rebuild public confidence.Democracy thrives when the public get involved, and will wither if people turn away from it."

There's the challenge to everyone in politics.......

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