Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Rotten Parliament only rotten in part?
Bishop: 'I'm afraid you have a bad egg, Mr Jones', Curate:'Oh no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!'
It is axiomatic that not every MP is corrupt. An anonymous commentator on a post by Iain Dale is alone in evincing any support at all for MPs ; "I thought that when the hysteria had died down a little, people might have been capable of telling the difference between around 100 troughers and 650."
The comment is telling, for it reveals the true state of mind of the political class in reaction to this scandal. Firstly, 'hysteria' - as though the nation were a Sun-maddened crowd hunting suspected paedophiles in the streets. There was no hysteria, except perhaps from Nadine Dorries. There was, and still is, tremendous simmering anger. Secondly, the description of the extent of the corruption as being 'around 100 troughers' - as though this was a minor matter confined to a few. The public perception I suspect is that there are about 100 utterly corrupt MPs, about 450 more minor troughers and about 100 'pure' MPs.
The fervent hopes of the political class, that after a bit of excitement and a long Summer recess we can all get back to normal and that the scandal will be forgotten, reveals how detached they are from the reality of public feeling. Even the experience of canvassers in the June elections of the anger on the doorsteps can be ignored, it seems, as this political class build a barricade of self-delusion and denial around the reality of the impact of the scandal. The vast majority of comments on Iain Dale's post can be ignored, it seems.
The point about the curate's egg is that something that is partly good and partly bad is entirely spoiled. We do not use the term Rotten Parliament to mean that every MP is corrupt, but that the body of MPs, the Commons Parliament, is despoiled and rank and rotten as week-old Mackerel. Only a general election will cleanse the foulness.
And the more the political class deny the reality of this mess, the longer and deeper will be their pain.