I have some sympathy for the MP's at the centre of the current row over their expenses. Many of us have joined a new organisation and received induction training about the process for reclaiming expenses. I wonder how many of us have chosen not to claim all that we were allowed to?
On the other hand, I find it incredible that expenses payments have been made to MP's for interest costs of housing loans (mortgages) that do not exist. I assume that these amounts, thousands of pounds, were reimbursed without sight of any receipts. Would you reimburse expenses in that way? So I wonder whether the system is more at fault than the individuals, and believe that it is right for the Speaker of the House of Commons to resign as he is accountable for this. Some of the claims appear to me to be theft, so shouldn't the police be taking a look at those?
There is clamour for an independent body to be responsible for reimbursing MP's expenses in the future. Yet how is it possible to set up an independent body that is not accountable to Parliament? Maybe Her Majesty should be getting more involved!
I note that leaders of the political parties want to oust those who have “broken the rules,” yet the rules themselves are unsound, and the MP's collectively are responsible for those rules. In this there are levels of penitence. As a start we have MP's who (in effect) apologise because they have been caught, then there are those who recognise that they should not break rules, but what about bigger moral concepts that people have betrayed trust, been dishonest, and that right and wrong are not all about obeying rules?
As founder of much of the culture that supposedly underpins our democracy, surely Jesus would turn in his grave (if he were still there), but at least as a society we do care when such abuses are brought into the light.