Saturday, May 16, 2009

Scandal Pizza

For the last week the revelations involving the MPs expenses has turned the news cycle into a kind of Groundhog Day involving the scrutiny of the Daily Telegraph's website, late night repositioning of satellite trucks, cameras and correspondents, and then a race to keep up with a frantic pace of political development. People are obviously very angry indeed, but being a hack you see things slightly differently in that what's going on is revelation on top of revelation, an incredibly swift moving news story, and that's coupled with a realisation that politics in this country is never going to be the same again.
I've got a kind of thought-pizza about what's been going on.
First, the state of the economy has fuelled the sense of outrage we saw on Question Time on Thursday night. People are really up against it and that's added to the bruised feeling. Would it have been as bad for MP's if we weren't looking at spiralling unemployment? I don't know. Maybe.
Secondly, Stephen Fry missed it when he was asked about the row:
"Anybody can talk about snouts in troughs, and go on about it, for journalists to do so is almost beyond belief, beyond belief.
I know lots of journalists; I know more journalists than I know politicians.
And I’ve never met a more venal and disgusting crowd of people when it comes to expenses and allowances. "
He must know different journalists than I do although the Guardian's Ian Jack admits Fry has a point, or at least he did do when journalist's employers had some money.
Because (lastly) I'm lost in admiration for quite a few of the ones I do know, and this week I've been learning more about journo-campaigner Heather Brooke whose single minded and courageous exploitation of Freedom of Information law has led to this week's events. She's written a superb piece about the long legal battle she fought to wheedle the disclosures out of the authorities only to be beaten by the Telegraph at the last hurdle. The moral victory belongs to her at any rate.

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