When you're in a hole, stop digging

ourKingdom editors
14 October 2009

For anyone arguing that our rotten Westminster system needs reform, the expenses scandal is the gift that keeps on giving. Before the summer the three main parties were competing with each other to show how determined they were to clean up and reform our broken politics. Now, when the order comes from Sir Thomas Legg to pay back the mis-claimed expenses to the tax payer, we hear reports that they're ganging together across party divides in a co-ordinated attempt to refuse.

Talk about not "getting it"!

If MPs thought they could return to business as usual after their 82-day break with the expenses crisis safely behind them then they've made a dangerous mistake. Public outrage at the abuse of taxpayers' money and the shameful system of self-regulation that permitted it isn't going to go away so easily.

MPs should face up to this reality, do the decent thing and pay the money back. Their behaviour brings our humiliated democracy into even greater disrepute. The public just won't stand for it any longer. People in the UK have been switching off from formal politics for a long time and self-serving behaviour like this only makes things worse.

What is needed is real democracy, transparency and choice, so that voters set the rules and not the politicians. Power2010 has had nearly 2000 ideas already submitted by ordinary people who want to see root and branch change and we'll be challenging every candidate to commit to reform in the run up to the next general election. If MPs' recent behaviour has taught us one thing, it's that they just can't be trusted to deliver the change we need on their own.

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