The expenses scandal: Britain's best political exposé?

Joe Holloran looks back on the moment MP's got caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

Joe Holloran
10th December 2018
Image:Public Domain Pictures

Political exposés and scandals emerge every year or so, to varying degrees of publicity. Many people know of the ‘Watergate Scandal’ or ‘The Iran-Contra deals’. Other more recent and closer to home journalistic exposes are less well known but deserve to be brought back into public consciousness.

These are often the actions of a small group of individuals seeking personal gain. However, the expose I wish to discuss is something that was made public nine-years ago but has had little done about it; The ‘Cash for Influence’ scandal.

MP’s, Lords and minister off all parties offered freely to lobby the government for private interest firms. These varied from these working for foreign governments to secure trade deals despite their human-rights records, to large military, pharmaceutical and energy suppliers seeking to secure an ear (and votes) of these politicians for as much as £120,000 per year. Despite these stories exposing only the surface level corruption at the heart Westminster, they were quickly pushed off the news agenda. For some reason, the public cares less about their MP’s ties to corporate bungs, then who they sleep with or what their sexual preferences are.

The public's consistent shock at these revelations perhaps speaks more to our unrealistic expectations of their morality. Personally, I do not care about the personal activities of these people, so long as they are consensual. I do care, however, about the fact that those who set the laws of the land do not follow them, that the rich and well connected are able to bypass these laws, and most importantly, that the media downplays the role of bribes and private contracts that our MPs are taking.

Maybe the time has come for the news media to focus less on exposing where these MPs put their penises, and more time concerned with what is being placed in their back pockets. Because ultimately, a democracy where the debate is set by the whims of corporate lobbyists, is no democracy at all.

Warning: The below video may contain ads. All rights belong to Channel 4.

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