MPs Expenses: Fat Cats Or Victims Of The System?

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There is no place in my heart for the British MPs who have been found to have been raking off as much money as possible with which to feather their nests, clean their moats, swap their homes and, in essence, commit common fraud against the people who fund these expenses in the first place. The Daily Telegraph, and in particular Heather Brooke, have done a fine job exposing what, up until now, was merely a suspicion in the minds of the British public; but, as Heather says in the article, the real hero was whoever leaked the data to the newspaper. That person, we will probably never know the name of, and for that we should all be grateful because, as with the leaked documents that exposed the absurdity of the 45 minute Iraqi WMD claim extolled in Tony Blair’s “Dodgy Dossier”, the people who continue to leak documents — letting the public know at least a little about the purile machinations of the industrial machine — have to remain in a position where they can continue to do this.

That aside, the question on so many people’s lips at the moment is: “How could they get away with this?” Simple; they played the system.

You see, Members of Parliament, Representatives, MEPs, Councillors, Mayors — everyone along the political spectrum who purport to represent you, may appear to be representing themselves, but in fact represent something far greater. Expenses are just a perk of the job; a mere wisp of the high life that keeps them in place so they can continue serving their true masters: the system itself.

While we have let ourselves get swept along on the tide of admonishment, our anger being whipped up by the frenzied media shouting machine, we are — as usual — being played with. As Noam Chomsky wrote in “Manufacturing Consent”:

The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function too amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society.

We are made to feel anger at certain MPs because it serves the agenda of the system. Perhaps, though, what started as a drive by the politically-motivated Daily Telegraph to oust the current UK Labour government (given that the system of expenses was presided over by New Labour for the last 12 years), has got out of control. Sycophantic statements by the leader of the opposition, David Cameron, that we must all feel “aggrieved” at the mishandling of expenses and that he is leading the drive for a better system, are hamfistedly leading into calls for an election; an election that the Conservative party would almost certainly win at this point in time. The Old Boys Network, led by the Daily Telegraph has spoken, and regime change is on the cards.

But there is more on the cards than that, because by exposing the details of over 200 MPs “fraudulent” (A.K.A. abusing a fraudulent system) claims, the orchestrated anger at the MPs, the Labour government, and the expenses system, is homing in on the entire “democratic” system of government. Some people are suggesting that maybe it is not Parliament that is at fault, but the system that gives gullible people the feeling of power, when they are merely pawns in a system that plays them in whatever way benefits it most.

You may well think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment…

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