The Sham Parliament

This debacle (for it is a debacle) about MPs’ expenses has left everyone practically foaming at the mouth. How can so many so-called professionals make ‘mistakes’ with their finances – financial acumen being one of the things for which they are supposed to be employed? It beggars belief.

So history repeats itself. I very much doubt whether today’s scandals are any more ripe than those of the past. The scary thing is whether today’s electorate really do have any more power to do anything about it than they did in the past – for the MPs today seem beyond reproach; they make up their own rules as they see fit; they seem to have no raison d’être other than to cling to the rungs of power for as long as physically possible. In many ways their megalomania makes us even more powerless than ever before.

The question is: what should be done about it? I have spent much of this week churning over the facts along with possible solutions to the political mess. Paying back their expenses is a very short term solution. It is a childish act and possibly makes the guilty MPs look even more idiotic and backboneless than had they held on to each penny they’d embezzled.

No – what we are actually lacking these days is true leadership for our country. After all, that is what we are supposedly paying them to do. And as we all know, leadership involves trust, taking responsibility for one’s own – and others’ – actions, and authority. Today’s insipid, fawning MPs demonstrate none of these qualities. They’ve had their chance, but they’ve well and truly blown it.

It pains me to say it, because it’s wholly undemocratic, but the answer I feel is to go back the past: to have far fewer MPs, quadruple their salaries, and just have the ridiculously flamboyant, louche landed gentry running the place. Get more retired brigadiers, army generals, majors and sirs, lords and barons leading us: telling other people what to do while having fun: it’s what they do best. Get these pathetic, drivelling nobodies out of the House of Commons and back to their desk jobs; if they feel like ‘glorified social workers’, then let them become social workers – heaven knows we could do with some more. Wheel the eccentric, the brave, and the altruistic, the monied, the financially self-sufficient, out of their country estates, and back to the steering wheel of the country.

For it has been shown that paying ‘ordinary’ people (by which, they mean, people like us) a pretty meagre salary of £65,000 has just attracted the dregs. You could earn more being a GP or a head teacher, or in private sector management. Needless to say, these people want to claim as much extra money to line their own pockets as possible. They are self-serving and they have shown they have a lack of respect for the people they represent. This much was pretty inevitable. It may be different if these MPs were actually doing a great job – but they’re not.

Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that democracy is somehow morally superior to great leadership. I don’t – necessarily – want more women, more ethnic origin, more gay, more OAP, more young, more humble background MPs being paid for out of my taxes if they’re first, dishonorable, and second, unable to lead convincingly. It doesn’t matter a hoot who they are: surely it’s what they do that counts. And anyway, if we bring back the Rotten Borough, would our country be any more rotten than it already is??


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