There is a nonsense with regard to the MPs' expenses scandal which has started to take hold.
It is an obvious spin, an obvious attempt to deflect attention away from the main story and has the usual Mandelsonian paw-marks all over it. We are supposed to have our eyes diverted to the awful spectacle that journalists and reporters also fiddle their expenses. In fact, their sins are far more egregious than those of poor, overworked politicians, who only keep claiming mortgage allowancews for houses they have already paid for because the poor dears are so overworked and anyway, they are so incompetent and inept with sums, they could not possible be expected to manage their own household accounts.
Except for the fact that newspapers are commercial operations and if they either choose or fall into a lackadaisical accountancy regine, that is their problem. Their shareholders may eventually pull them up over it if they lose too much money this way, but the shareholders can choose not to invest their money in the enterprise and can pull it out when they wish.
MPs have been stealing money from taxpayers who have no say-so in whether their taxes are collected - unless they are rich enough to avoid paying any or all of it, of course.
The attempt here is to make us all, by extension, feel that what MPs are doing is nothing more than when we inadvertently put a company pen in our pocket on the way home or use the company telephone to call for an ambulance when we have just shredded our leg on a piece of unsafe company equipment.
We are supposed to think: "There but for the grace of God go I" except that we never will because we do not have moral shaped holes in our brain and we are not thieving bastard scum like politicians.
Anyway, things are changing before our eyes. There is something in the air.
Love is in the air
Everywhere I look around
Love is in the air
Every sight and every sound
No, no, no. It's not that at all. It's something more like this:
And I try, oh my God do I try
I try all the time
In this institution
And I pray, oh my God do I pray
I pray every single day
For a revolution
No, there is not quite revolution in the air, but there is an accumulating public anger which may become fury and rage.
Jon Snow on Channel Four News a few days ago basically shouted down Liam Byrne with something like this: "You have already said that three times now and I do not want to hear it again. I want an answer to the question I have put."
The fastidious politeness we are used to seeing when politicians are interviewed will start to go out of the window. Once you cease to trust people, you very soon start treating them with contempt. The veneer of public deference will soon give way to very open humiliation.
On the same programme, Krishnan Guru-Murthy interviewed, among others, Chris "Corby Statesman" Huhne in front of a small public audience. The politician tried to shout down and browbeat a member of the public who dared to question how abstemious and frugal he was with public funds. Immediately, another member of the audience kept saying through a sneering grin: "You don't get it, do you? You just don't get it!"
No, politicians do not get it, but they will.
This is what Al Franken says in his book Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them:
In her book A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century, Barbara Tuchman writes about a peasant revolt in 1358 that began in the village of St. Leu and spread throughout the Oise Valley. At one estate, the serfs sacked the manor house, killed the knight and roasted him on a spit in front of his wife and kids. Then, after ten or twelve peasants violated the lady, with the children still watching, they forced her to eat the roasted flesh of her husband and then killed her.
That is class warfare.
Arguing over the optimal marginal tax rate for the top one percent is not.
The problem for the commentariat like us is that if the poor do rise up, we may look like just the same rich pickings.
"No, look, it's all on credit - here are the receipts - I'm poor just like you!" may not save our skins.
Perhaps we should resign our chatterati status before we have it thrust down our throats.
The common people may not speak in such lovely sonorous tones and drop their erudtion with such careless insouciance, but they may be the ones who pull these robber barons from power.
Like a dog lying in a corner,
they'll bite you and never warn you.
They'll tear your insides out.
'Cause Everybody hates a tourist,
especially one who thinks
it's all such a laugh.
Yeah, and the chip stains' grease
will come out in the bath.
You will never understand
how it feels to live your life
with no meaning or control
and with nowhere left to go.
You're amazed that they exist
and they burn so bright,
while you can only wonder why.