Extraordinary defence of his £87,000 expense-mining activities by Tory MP Anthony Sheen here.
Not extraordinary because he claims people are ‘jealous’ of his country pile, but because he is so tone-deaf to the debate that he thinks that “following the rules” is still some sort of defence. Being within the rules ceased to be a defence in this scandal almost immediately - the question being, of course, whether the MP had a conscience about exactly how he spent taxpayers’ money.
Revolution is in the air. Reform of the expenses system is already old news; pundits are talking about separating the Cabinet from Parliament and making the Commons a proper legislative chamber again, free from the tyranny of the Whips.
Be wary of revolutions. There are plenty of decent MPs who deserve a future, even amongst those who wandered into grey areas on the second homes issue. And if, Guido-style, you demand complete popular contempt for democratically-elected party Parliamentarians per se, you must consider what would replace them. Esther Rantzen and Joanna Lumley perhaps? But also George Galloway and Nick Griffin and other demagogues pounding the populist drum for their own dark ends. I dislike career politicians as much as the next man, but there are always worse things.
Exciting times, I’ve even started watching the news again. Which way is the wind blowing?
Chris Huhne was on This Week last night talking about reform that would take us back to the way Parliament operated before the First World War, when the Executive had far less control over the House and Parliament was more than just a glorified electoral college for the PM. Reform to take us back to 1913? Now that’s my kind of progress!