Peter Hoskin

The point of no return

The point of no return
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Look at pretty much any newsapaper front cover this morning, and you'll see the word "blackout," along with blocks of black ink meant to represent those censored expense claims.  Flick through the pages inside, and the tone of the coverage is - rightly - vituperative, with the consensus being that yesterday's expenses release is little more than an insult to voters.  The Sun's headline pretty much sums it up: "What a bunch of blankers".  Yep, just when MPs thought it couldn't get any worse - it has.

On the question of whether MPs can restore the public's faith in Parliament, the Indy's Andrew Grice writes that, "Probably it have gone too far now ... there is no turning the clock back."  After yesterday, it's even harder to disagree.  Not only is the expenses scandal appalling in and of itself, but the most high-profile effort at "transparency" so far has utterly backfired - and will be taken as a sign that MPs still just don't "get it".  In turn, this will fuel the opinion that the current "bunch of blankers" need to be done away with before reform can begin proper; that there needs to be a general election and wholesale change.

Sure, all politicians have been more or less tarred by this scandal.  But each of those black redactions reads like another nail in the coffin of Brown's premiership.

UPDATE:
The Telegraph have just published the Cabinet's expenses in full.  Access them here.