The Duck House Redemption
Tory MP Sir Peter Viggers is to sell that notorious duck house for charity. And Gordon Brown is currently announcing some voting and Westminster reforms. Two of the latest efforts to respond to the expenses story that has been running now for, well, for ever.
Where on earth does redemption come from for Parliament? Matthew Taylor made an attempt to answer this on his blog here. He argues that democracy is about content, not just process. And he calls for the end of 'consumer politics.'
The point is that redemption is different to an apology, and different to bashfully returning your loot because you got caught out. It needs people to really believe that politicians understand why they, frankly, don't like Parliament. It requires an act from politicians that demonstrates they know how to right that wrong. So it requires a moral connection between politicians and the public. Oh dear.
But the expenses story confirmed people's suspicions about politics, rather than arousing them. Expenses is one ingredient. But its not the whole culpability cookie. Politicians have resorted to trying to say what they think we want to hear. But I'm not sure we, the public, really know what we don't like about politics in general either. Get some backbone. Show us you can take the pain of reform. And stop just trying to give us what you think we think we want. Oddly enough, redemption will need MPs to be more confident in their own role and sense of moral certitude, not less.