Quite simply, Methinks she doth protest too much.
I can understand her point about MPs being told by the fees office to claim for what they could, as that is obviously what happened. But, like my mother used to say, if someone told you to stick your head in an oven would you? Just because you can doesn't always mean you should. Many MPs didn't take the ludicrous advice offered to them so that rather negates that point.
I think alot of journalists had an idea that some pretty dishonest and disreputable things were going on but no-one was ever going to come clean voluntarily which is why the Freedom of Information Act was needed. Don't forget it took a four year battle to get this information out into the open and it was journalists that led that campaign. Without hard evidence on the precise number of ducks living in unaccustomed luxury and where, any paper that published its suspicions as allegations would have risked a fortune in lawyer's fees defending just one story. And who tilted the libel laws against the media again with the no-win, no-fee regime? Oh, what a surprise, MPs.
As to the Telegraph's tactics, what do MPs expect? They have blocked every attempt to open up the way Parliament works to the expected levels of scrutiny in the 21st century so you cannot expect the Telegraph to pussyfoot around. The acid test is: Have they got it right? So far, yes.
If they published the whole lot all at once, as Nadine Dorries suggests, many of the perpetrators would escape unnoticed amid all the conflicting headlines. I think you can only pick them off one at a time. If Parliament doesn't like this then it should publish all the expenses now - after all, its had four years' notice that this day was coming.
I do have some personal sympathy for MPs as people as I mentioned in the piece I did on Peter Viggers yesterday but they have brought this on themselves and must expect to reap what they have sown.
I was struck by the tone of the BBC Question Time last night which really brought home the extent of the political crisis we are in. I agree with the view that an early election would be chaotic but I think we do need one very soon. I suggest that the political parties cancel their September party conferences as no-one but no-one is going to want to watch them preening themselves before the adoring faithful (few) and instead hold an election then.
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