Can't escape from the expenses storm swirling about our heads. Two more MPs announced their retirement today, Andrew Mackay and Ian McCartney, the latter citing ill health. David Cameron is baring the teeth of a leader who will do that which has to be done. And several people telling me that they have no intention of voting next week. Doesn't help that hardly anyone I talk to has any idea who the candidates are. That's Proportional Representation for you. And I was asked if I wanted a receipt by the 'Mr Whippy' ice cream seller at today's YFC County Rally.
And now I've just relaxed with today's Telegraph, skipped the first few pages to avoid the subject, and I find the Charles Moore is at it as well. But from a rather more interesting standpoint. Over the last two weeks. I've heard the quote "In the name of God, go" a few times. Charles reminds us that when the MPs went, Oliver Cromwell established a dictatorship. Gordon Brown could be planning to 'Do a Cromwell' as we speak. Certainly, all of his ideas lead in this direction - a new Government Quango to decide on MP's pay and conditions; a discouragement of outside earnings; a payment for simply turning up; These changes will lead to more taxpayer's money for politicians, greater dependence by MPs on the taxpayer, and less scope for independent thought and accountability to constituents first.
I agree with Charles that with change in the offing, we need to restore the authority of the individual Member of Parliament as a power in his or her own right, defending the interests of constituents, exercising independent judgement - not just a peg which can simply be told which hole to slot into. I suppose I'm lucky in that I'm of independent means (made it myself before you ask) and would not be dependent on the taxpayer. I also really do think that representing Montgomeryshire is a higher calling than any movement up the greasy pole of ministerial ambition. This doesn't sound quite so unusual as it did a month ago. Maybe, some good will come out of this expenses chaos.