Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dear Daily Telegraph: please give it a rest

1. You may have noticed that other things are starting to creep back into the headlines. Take a break while you're ahead, you'll need it to count the takings.

2. There is a law of diminishing returns on this, and most of us can't tell one MP we've never heard of from another, unless they happen to be our MP (and even then....). A few weeks break to do some more homework will mean that in a few weeks it's a fresh story that people want to hear, rather than something (like swine flu, which is still rising) which we got bored of even though it never really went away.

3. Rowan Williams is right.

4. The politicians are now going on about electoral reform. Excuse me? In case anyone had forgotten, we have soaring unemployment, and a major economic crisis on our hands. This is a serious case of taking your eye off the ball, born from a percieved need to 'do something' in response to the expenses row.

5. There are two election campaigns currently underway, for local and Euro elections in early June. Both of these will be completely blitzed by the expenses scandal, and turn into referendums on our MPs, and the parties they represent. Fascinating though it is to discover that an MP spent 99p on a box of matches, I think the way we are governed at local and Euro level is far too important for this kind of nonsense to take it over. A self-imposed moratorium until the day after the elections would at least give a chance for the proper electoral arguments to be heard.

6. It's getting boring. And that means that less and less attention will be paid to what's discovered, unless you can progressively bring out more and more scandalous details, or sex up/'embellish' (N. Dorries) the details you've got to make them sound more scandalous than they actually are. Bluntly, MP's whose reciepts are at the bottom of the pile are more likely to get away with it.

7. We would discover a lot about our political parties if you gave them a few weeks to think and act, instead of having to respond on a daily basis to stories in the press. Let the governors govern, let the opposition oppose, let Parliament sort itself out. Certainly, if people have claimed things which are not incurred fully in pursuit of their responsibilities as an MP, the truth should be told. But we need a chance to let the dust settle and see what we learn about the leadership, character and values of Messrs Clegg, Cameron and Brown from this whole sorry mess.

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