Saturday, 4 December 2010

David Chaytor and Phil Woolas

MPs have never been popular but things have gone worse for them since 2009 when The Daily Telegraph revealed the details of how there was alleged misuse of expenses. Most MPs claimed it was a matter of interpretation. They had to live in a second home because they had to do their job in London. Even this defence was not particularly strong as the household items that were bought didn't fit with the need to carry out the job. Decorative and artistic items were an expense. They did get advice and they did get the expenses, but some things were obviously wrong. And now we know they are illegal with the news that David Chaytor has pleaded guilty to three charges relating to his expenses. The previous claims of innocence and not guilty pleas mean that it will be some time longer before MPs return to their normal level of contempt but at least David Chaytor admits (finally) he was wrong.

Compare that with Phil Woolas. Five judges have now found him guilty but Phil prefers to listen to the electorate, but the electorate will not get another chance to vote for him in the next three years. Phil does not recognise any mistakes. He feels that he is a victim of law and does not regret anything. I only heard him defend himself on points of law, not on the points of criticism. He doesn't like his punishment that bars him from standing in the by-election. He just doesn't get it. There is no contrition. It is also really annoying to hear his Labour supporters claim that he is not a racist and the "Liberals" have called him racist. They (his supporters) are reading different newspapers and watching different television reports to me. In fact they are on a totally different wavelength. It must be their way of dealing with the guilty verdicts. Phil is guilty. His sentence should include rehabilitation and maybe one day he will accept the verdict. Like all those found guilty his punishment should relate to his behaviour and if he starts to say sorry then we should reduce the punshment.

Maybe MPs will never rise to their usual level of contempt in the public's eyes.

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