I honestly don’t understand what the minority of Parliamentarians are thinking.
In Britain, there is an air of utter frustration with politicians. The public sees MPs and Peers as generally elitist and smug, sitting in a powerful position, above reproach and beyond punishment for any wrongdoings that they may commit.
Personally, I thoroughly disagree. I know that the vast-majority of Parliamentarians, certainly the ones we work with, are proactive, engaged and generally determined to make their constituencies and Britain a better place. You don’t have to necessarily agree with their ideologies, but you can be sure they are trying to do what they think is right. I even feel that, all-in -all they are (don’t yell at me) underpaid, considering the hours they put in at Westminster and their constituencies. Most take time off during summer and Christmas, but don’t we all?
But the acts of a few are ruining it for everyone else. 2009 has already been littered with stories about Parliamentarians caught with their fingers in the biscuit tin and being cleared of wrongdoings.
We’ve had the Peter Hain decision concerning his deputy leadership campaign funding; the MP Freedom of Information furore; the Lords cash claims scandal and today, Derek Conway has been forced to pay back only £3,757.83 to the House authorities after the debacle of his son Henry working in his office. Although, to be fair, he did have to pay £13,161 in 2008 for his other son’s research work. But why did he go and do it anyway?
I’m not sure what can be done, other than a complete revision of the rules or an Obamaesque figure brining in a new era to Westminster, although let’s not forget something similar happened in Britain in 1997.
But if Britain’s Politicians want the respect of the voting public and indeed want a reliable mandate at election time, the few who do bring the Parliament into disrepute should be given more than a slap on the wrist.