Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sweeping the Sty Clean

Having been on the road so much lately I fear my mental blogs have never seen the light of day, but, as you can imagine, they have been myriad :-)

Like so many of you I have had to endure the daily tirade of justifiable criticism on the doorsteps of the East of England. My normal response to "you're all the same" doesn't really cut the mustard........the electorate are tending towards the biblical view of sin - size doesn't matter! Hobnobs, sanitised moats, flipping, pruning 500 trees - all send the same message - our politicians are taking the proverbial.

I am delighted that the FE is meeting on Monday and according to our President, Ros Scott - they will be considering this issue. I have, like many, written to her asking for an urgent inquiry into whether any of our parliamentarians have brought the party into disrepute. Frankly, regardless of the fact that as yet it appears none of them have engaged in flipping, claiming second home allowance for homes 100 miles from their constituency or when they don't appear to have a first home; the fact is some are tainted and have in my view brought our party into disrepute. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to meet those tirades on the doorstep with - well, you know none of our MPs would do such a thing......hmmmm. Offences may be minor but surely buying something for your second home - however justifiable and having it delivered to your first home, needs rather a lot of explanation. An internal party inquiry would allow that to happen.

Watching Question Time this evening I had such a horrible sense of politicians having been metaphorically cut off at the knees. Their stature, all of them (even the wholly innocent) is diminished. Their words sound like tuneless clanging cymbals - tinny, discordant, unbearable to listen to.

We have an opportunity on Monday to show some real moral leadership. It really isn't good enough to hide behind the fig leaf of our transgressions are not as bad as your transgressions. Cameron acted swiftly but frankly didn't deal with the underlying dishonesty and opportunism of his colleagues, just asking them to "pay it back". And surely any profit someone has made on a second home, not just the tax, should be repaid? Aah, I am sure that many accused of benefit fraud because they forgot to inform the authorities of a change in circumstances would be more than happy with such an arrangement.

What makes the sty stink more is the climate in which all this is happening. We already have one in three of our children growing up in poverty, this is bound to rise. Many many families are having to deal with the stress of redundancy, repossession and unbearable debt. Those they should have been able to rely on to represent their interests it appears have been more interested in representing their own.

We have to be calling for a general election now, regardless of how many MPs we may lose or gain. Even after we have swept this sty clean - it will be a long long time before our fellow citizens regain their trust in the political system - and that is a tragedy for all of us, but most disturbingly of all, for democracy itself.

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