The accounts in this morning’s press are shaming, even by the standards of this saga of pornos and sugar-daddies. IPSA’s staff have been reduced to tears by raging MPs, they have been sworn at and told that the system they operate is a ‘fucking abortion’. Owing to legislation introduced during the previous parliament, I’d be prosecuted if I informed the guard on a delayed train that he and the system he ran were ‘fucking abortions’. The hypocrisy of MPs, which has accompanied the expenses scandal at every turn, is stomach-turning, indicative of latent amorality and fatuous arrogance.
The continued deceit, self-entitlement and bullying mask an important issue. The solutions to the expenses crisis were rushed by a government that produced half-baked policies like trailer-trash pop out kids. Sir Thomas Legg, a mandarin with a dud reputation, was appointed Witch-Finder General and contrived an unmitigated fiasco, over-charging MPs and leaving the system open to legal challenge. IPSA followed: an inflexible and overbearing system which, as Tom Harris has pointed out, puts MPs and staff at constant odds. Neither a general election nor the new system has proved cathartic; what will? Scrapping IPSA and starting again (with a little thought this time) would seem the sensible option.