Peter Hoskin

Clegg’s hundred day plan

Clegg's hundred day plan
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You've got to love Nick Clegg's declaration that "warm words, rhetoric and consideration are not enough," in an article for today's Guardian, and hot on the heels of some, er, "warm words" in the Independent yesterday.  Although, in seriousness, I imagine that one of Clegg's proposals will be fairly popular: no more holiday time for MPs until they've fixed the mess in Parliament.  The political class shouldn't despair, though: the Lib Dem leader is setting out an "action plan" to get it all sorted within a hundred days.

I do sympathise with Clegg's claim that MPs should just "get on" with the cleaning job at hand.  After all, one of the more frustrating aspects of the expenses scandal is that the parties could have preempted it with simple, immediate action (e.g. publishing expense claims online) in the wake of the Derek Conway affair last year, or even before then.  But, now that this is "about more than expenses," can - and should - similar quick fixes be found for the electoral system, the composition of the House of Lords and party funding?  Hm.  My worry remains that, in their race to take the lead on all this, the politicians are now taking a things a little too quickly.  And - crucially, self-defeatingly - they're in danger of leaving the public behind.