I'm just listening to Nadine Dorries MP (Conservative) on the 'Today' programme whining on about the 'terror in the eyes' of some people around Westminster because of the 'McCarthy-ite witch-hunt' being mounted currently by the Telegraph.
Does this imply that her name may be coming out soon and she's getting a pre-emptive rebuttal in? She's spinning the story that grown MPs were, on induction into the 'club' (i.e. Parliament), given the 'nod and wink' by the fees office that ACAs were not expenses, but 'allowances' and the job of the fees office was to help MPs 'get them out' (the maximum amount of expenses claimable). If this scenario is true, and I accept it may be, this does not mitigate the personal liability of those who 'milked' the system for all it is worth. Not all MPs chose to go down this route. Frankly her story sounds like she wants to portray perhaps herself and some others as 'new boys and girls' being 'shown the ropes' by the 'old lags'.
However honest an MP may have been before his/her election, any that succumbed to this "don't rock the boat" mentality deserve all they get if their own moral compasses didn't give them guidance as to what was right and what was wrong. I know that in the organisation I worked for it was well-known that some of my colleagues exploited expenses claims, whereas others hardly claimed anything; I was certainly very much one of the latter. I recall also on a few occasions when I was on courses/seminars involving personnel from other very well-known companies that 'per diem' allowances were regarded by some as a simple way of boosting one's regular income by spending as little as possible and pocketing the bulk of such allowances, or using the old 'taxi bill' ruse. Sometimes the brazenness of the people who did this was quite surprising.
To summarise, whilst I certainly hope that this necessary clearing out of crooks and cheats from our public life does not result in a suicide I don't think that any of us need feel at all reticent in continuing to press hard for reform or be sorry in any way that the Telegraph is carrying on, at least for the present, with its daily exposures of the facts of what some of our MPs have been up to. There are some MPs in all political parties who have behaved honourably, whether they happen to have personal wealth or not. Let's not be fooled by the 'spin' designed to get the public to lay-off those quite numerous MPs who have been using every ruse their fertile imaginations could come up with to con the public purse out of money that cannot be justified when submitted to objective scrutiny.