Let's be clear I am not comparing bent and corrupt members of Parliament to Nazi war criminals. However, the parrot-cry of all those sleazy bottom-feeders when they are caught is inevitably "It was within the rules. The Fees Office told me to do it".
The defence of 'I was only obeying orders' or 'Befehl ist Befehl', known as the Nuremberg Defence, was discredited as an effective excuse in the following terms:
The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him
And this is the nub. It is not a matter of whether it was within the rules, or whether the Commons Fees Office gave it the OK. MPs have an individual moral responsibility that they should exercise in these matters. They are placed in stewardship over the nation's funds; they are trusted to legislate on matters that affect the lives of every subject in the Realm, and they owe a duty of responsibility to both their constituents and the nation in general. If they cannot exercise the most basic personal moral judgement over whether or not to steal public funds, they are not fit for the other duties that we repose in their care. Their failing is not confined to immorally claimed expenses, but extends to a fundamental failure in their ability to act effectively as Members of Parliament.
Hoon and his like are not fit to be seen in the precincts of the Palace. They should run in fear from London, pelted with filth and ordure, to ignominy, obloquy and disgrace in some dark hole far from the light of our sight. And every time I see that smug smirk on that reptile's face, I am suffused with anger and a deep sense of injustice.
Brown has no idea what morality is, let alone how he should be guided by it if he permits these vermin to infest our Parliament for a moment longer.