"I returned on Thursday to find my country in one of its periodic fits of moral horror. At such times, witches have been burnt, monkeys hanged as French spies and Catholics hounded out of office". (Matthew Parris)
"The continuing systematic humiliation of politicians itself threatens to carry a heavy price in terms of our ability to salvage some confidence in our democracy.” (Archbishop of Canterbury)
"I think both MPs and Parliament itself are undoubtedly on the brink of a nervous breakdown." (Daniel Finkelstein)
"after a fortnight of bloodshed on the green benches of Westminster, the public reaction to this matter is in danger of getting out of hand" (Independent)
A number of high profile talking heads are now starting to suggest that public reaction to the MPs expenses scandal is over the top. Is it though? Without rehearsing the sorry tales of fraud, theft and suppression of the truth, perpetrated by our Parliament, some seem to be saying that the public mood needs to be taken down a decibel or two.
The Independent makes the assertion that "the row is now in danger of eroding the democratic health of the nation". Well, yes it would, wouldn't it? Those who love to feather their nests, those who have fucked us with a rusty rasp and told us how we must all pull together in the financial crisis, those who tell us that all the CCTV, all the DNA collections, all the databases and all the snooping on our communications, have said it is all for our own good, and that if we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to fear.
After 18 months of this Parliament trying to suppress the details of their own misdemeanours, by statute, by the courts, by ministerial diktat, and by sheer bloodymindedness, they now have a taste of what Freedom of Information means. It works both ways suckers.
What do all these worthies fear? Why, suddenly, after unleashing Typhon they are fleeing in terror?
Do they really believe the people-without-pants will once again run riot, a drooling ochlocracy hell bent on decapitation and properly audited accounts?
I think it's much more subtle than that, despite the rhetoric. MPs and media pundits love to tell us that "the public are intelligent and understand the issues", in that rather condescending way that they are very good at. How come then that they have suddenly turned into a baying mob?
I think the British public are one ahead of the talking heads on this. They know full well what the stakes are, but like catching your partner in-flagrante, they wish to engage in a frank exchange of views. The establishment is terrified of losing its grip on control, which says more about them than the intentions of the British Public.
Today, the only story in town is that the Daily Telegraph have had Nadine Dorries blog removed by a legal challenge. Nadine has been having a very public nervous breakdown over the expenses scandal and has become increasingly hysterical on TV and Radio, making rather desperate claims about conspiracies and that there will be mass suicides from the ranks of MPs, due to their sudden loss of public esteem (yeah).
So where does it leave the people who matter, that is, you and me?
I think we need to maintain the pressure. If Parliament is weak, it will fall, and good riddence. There is no rule that such instutions should last forever. There are compelling alternatives, but of course, they do not want you to consider them for a moment.
A ravage out of season, made by thoughts
Unhealthy and vexatious. With the hour,
That from the press of
Its freight of public news, the fever came,
A punctual visitant, to shake this man,
Disarmed his voice and fanned his yellow cheek
Into a thousand colours; while he read,
Or mused, his sword was haunted by his touch
Continually, like an uneasy place
In his own body. 'Twas in truth an hour
Of universal ferment; mildest men
Were agitated, and commotions, strife
Of passion and opinion, filled the walls
Of peaceful houses with unquiet sounds.
The soil of common life was, at that time,
Too hot to tread upon.
Written by William Wordsworth, from The Prelude - observations on a visit to Paris during the Revolution.
The people are not some ruthless mob, they seek only justice and change. I believe, like Wordsworth, that a "benignant spirit was abroad, which might not be withstood" Bring on the Revolution.
"it is simply impossible for Gordon Brown to reform any of this properly. He would be destroying the system that gives him power."
Charles Moore in The Telegraph