Thoughts on Britain’s Expenses Scandal

I haven’t really posted anything about the ongoing Parliamentary Expenses Scandal in Britain. While I have a great interest in British Politics and have been watching the story with great interest as it has played out – I generally avoid talking about British Politics on Anglotopia.

One reason really, I’m not British and it’s not really my place or fair for me to comment on, criticize or express my opinion on the matter when there are Brits out there who may take issue with that.

Sure, I have my opinions on British politics as I’m sure Brits have opinions on American politics as well. But, until one day in the future when I hold a scarlet passport – it’s not really my place to criticize a system, that even I don’t understand fully yet.

Besides I don’t really want to say that I’ve been entertained by the scandal – because Brits are genuinely, angrily upset about the whole scandal and I don’t want to act like I get enjoyment out of their political system being flogged on the world stage.

That being said, The New York Times had a very well balanced, outsider’s view of the whole scandal this week that I thought I’d share.

It gives a rundown of the scandal, it’s effects and how it may end up changing British Politics forever.

From the article:

There have been no angry mobs storming the House of Commons, nor much of anything in the way of organized protest. But the mood of anger is palpable in every pub and on every bus and train. It concerns far more than the latest scandal, touching grievances that have been building gradually for at least 30 years — perhaps for nearly a century — about the growth of a self-serving political class, arrogant habits of rule and an inward-looking cadre of senior civil servants, for all of which the most appropriate adjective seems to be “high-handed.”

Now the popular resentment has reached proportions that are drawing comparisons to the situation 180 years ago, when the Great Reform Act of 1832 was speeded through Parliament by riots in several cities. That act laid the basis for modern democracy in Britain by widening the males-only franchise and shifting power to the country’s cities from the “rotten boroughs” controlled by rural grandees.

Some of the Parliament members caught up in the current turmoil, and as many who have not been, argued in its early stages that the expenses scandal was no more than a storm in a teacup — involving at most £30 million to £50 million in dodgy claims over the past five years. A mere bagatelle, as these proponents would have it, at a time of government-financed bank bailouts that have cost British taxpayers tens of billions.

Overall, it’s a very interesting read and it’s a good commentary on British politics and where they’re heading.

Check it out here.

If you’re at all interested in my opinion – I think it’s time for Gordon to go and for a good number of MP’s (from both parties) to go with him. Though, I think they should wait until public anger has cooled a little bit before calling a game changing general election.

Read More at Anglotopia


  1. avatar says

    Yes, these are interesting times here in Blighty. I think what gets people the most is the \breath-taking arrogance\ that shows how thoroughly the leaders have distanced themselves from the people. They treat themselves like royalty, poke into our very private lives and then say we had no right to question what they were doing. I think they should give the guy who leaked this information a medal.