I only just managed to watch On Expenses, the BBC4 one-off drama about the expenses scandal - which seemed less about the expenses scandal and more about doing a hatchet job on Speaker Martin.
I suppose in more ways than most I'm closer to the political classes under attack than the indignant members of the public, whipped up into a froth-mouthed frenzy by chequebook journalists. I was in parliament whilst the latter part of the business was playing out, I had the great privilege of watching the hustings for the current Speaker from the Gallery. I didn't recognise any of the locations the programme makers purported to be in the Palace and there was something truly odd about the Chamber itself.
For sure there were some heinous indiscretions by MPs who should have known much better, and it has been healthy to expunge the sense of entitlement that had crept in over the years. It was deeply ironic that the biggest scandal to rock Parliament in generations came under Labour stewardship - the party that rode the crest of an anti-sleaze wave to historic victory.
I think the Telegraph were largely wrong irresponsible in their coverage of the issue - there was a timetable for publication of the expense figures that really should have been respected to save unnecessary embarrassment. I don't think wrongdoers should have been protected, but the whole thing made a mockery of an entire political generation, the effects of which will be felt for even longer. In taking the opportunity of this drama to reinforce an image of offensive ineptitude the makers have lent a false patina to history that will only prolong the healing.
4 hours ago