The steady flow of stories about MPs, MEPs and Peers abusing expenses are doing huge damage to their credibility, standing and support among the general public. This, in turn, damages and undermines the entire political system.
I know many senior people in business who scornfully dismiss the idea of engaging with politicians on the grounds that "they are all in it for what they can get out of it". Like most sweeping generalisations this does not tell the whole truth and it is a dangerous assumption to make for anyone with an interest in influencing how our laws are made. Every business leader should have an interest in this area as it shapes - or distorts depending on your point or view - the markets in which business operates.
Politicians, of course, deserve alot of the criticism that is currently coming their way. It seems to me desperately naive of them not to think that the last decade of demanding ever more transparency across the rest of society wouldn't eventually see the spotlight of scrutiny turned on them. It wouldn't have taken much to get the system of parliamentary allowances cleaned up so that it was capable of being judged favourably against today's standards.
All that said, it is important that we recognise that the majority of MPs are not there to make their fortunes: in my experience they genuinely want to serve the country, however pompous that aspiration might sound in today's cynincal world. This means that people must look beyond today's headlines and continue to engage with the democratic and political processes. This is never easy at the best of times because finding out where to start can be difficult. This remains one of the over-riding reasons why we – by which I mean Incisive Media – continues to work with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Insurance & Financial Services to provide that starting point. They genuinely want to hear from you and many people who meet the senior members for the first time will tell you how taken aback they are by their knowledge of the financial services sector: proof alone that some of that cynicism is miss-placed.
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