I watched tonight’s Channel 4 dispatches programme which showed the MP for Luton South, Margaret Moran, effectively being interviewed for a job with a fake lobbying firm, despite the fact that she is officially “off sick” and hasn’t attended the House of Commons since last April. I watched and I got angry. Even though I more or less new what was going to be in it and was not at all surprised at any of its revelations. I still got angry.
What can you make of a politician “too sick” to attend and play her part in the law making body to which she has been elected – a politician “too sick” to serve her constituents, to meet with them, turn up to constituency events and represent their interests – but a politician apparently not “too sick” to attend a job interview with a lobbying firm? What can you make of it but be very very angry.
But we shouldn’t just direct our anger at Margaret Moran, as self-serving and disreputable as she is. Don’t let anyone try to convince you that she is just one rotten apple in the barrel. The black sheep in an otherwise snowy white flock As much as she should be held responsible for her own misdeeds, her outrageous expense claims, she is also a symptom of both a rotten political party and a rotten system that let her get away with it.
The Labour Party in Luton have had plenty of opportunity to distance themselves from Moran. To condemn her actions. To take action against her. Liberal Democrats in Luton have provided some of those opportunities, through council motions and questions, to give Luton Labour politicians a chance to go publicly on record. Yet every time they stood behind her. Only very recently would they admit to the mildest of criticisms of her, and even then I suspect only as result of pressure brought about by the coming general election.
Remember also that Moran isn’t the only Luton Labour politician to profit from allowances and expenses while failing to fulfil the public duties they were elected to do (‘No-show councillor sacked‘).
But the Labour party nationally should be condemned for giving someone like Moran the opportunity to build a political career. Remember that the Labour Party at one time saw fit to make this woman a Government Whip, responsible for the conduct and behaviour of other MPs!
But more important than getting angry at the Labour party, is to get angry about the corrupt political system that they support. It is the way we do politics in this country that provides the space for people like Moran to gain positions of power and influence. So we should get angry about the way vested interests fund our politics. We should get angry at the way our unfair electoral system distorts the national debate, denies voters choice, and distances politicians from their electorate. Get angry with the way the establishment parties fight against transparency and openness. We should get angry and then work for, vote for, change.
OK, rant over. I feel better for that.
This content was originally posted on my old Strange Thoughts blog.