Sunday, 3 May 2009

All power corrupts...

The pure arrogance of our elected representatives seems at first to be unbelievable. It would appear that one senior Labour MP has claimed for the installation of a sauna in a second home, while others are very worried that their marital infidelities will be exposed. Mind you the last story comes from the Daily Mail, so needs to be treated with even more suspicion than normal. Then there are the second, third and fourth home incidents...

That the right wing press is exposing the flaws of members of the Labour government is not surprising; though there are rumours that Conservative MPs are equally concerned over the release of their expenses data. These are due to be published in July. This is not a new story, as far back as 2004 the £118,000 average expenses claim from MPs was causing concern.

Casting my mind back to the end of the Thatcher/Major regime I recall the 'cash-for-questions affair'. Here politicians were willing to take money in exchange for raising topics in parliament for Mohamed Al-Fayed. We could add Aitken and Archer, whose arrogance and greed led to them being jailed for perjury.

I can see two explanations:
  1. Towards the end of a long term of single party government, the MPs become increasingly corrupt and convinced of their own invulnerability.
  2. We have managed to create a system of government which is inevitably corrupt.
Occam's razor, "the simplest explanation is usually the best one", suggests the latter. It has several fewer assumptions, and fits the data better. We can hope that Sir Christopher Kelly has the balls to carry through his inquiry without giving into these people as he has promised...
Politicians must not be left to decide for themselves how the system of parliamentary allowances and expenses should be reformed, the chairman of a Westminster sleaze watchdog said today.
and for now he seems to be doing well, as Brown is in such a weak position. That said, I would not hold my breath.

The simplest explanation that I can come up with is that old adage...

“And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely."
John Dalgerg-Acton

We clearly need to push on with the campaign for Modern Liberty.

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