Has the expenses scandal been forgotten?

Politics Home reports that according to it’s data Parliament’s standing has returned to the level it stood at prior to the expenses scandal;

“For the first time since the revelations on MPs’ expenses claims, parliament’s approval rating has returned to the level that it was prior to the scandal, while the importance attached to corruption as a national priority is fading.”

It also finds that ‘sleaze’ and corruption has moved down the agenda as an important issue;

“35% of voters thought it was an important issue facing the country before the Daily Telegraph’s publications. This rose to 62% over the following three weeks, making it the second biggest issue facing the country. This week’s figures show 39% of the public see political corruption as an important issue.”

People are obviously influenced heavily by what they read and watch and expenses hasn’t been a major news story for some weeks so I am not sure this is a shocking finding.  However, while it maybe the end of the story in terms of the collective national consciousness I am not so sure it is entirely the end; scandal-hit MP’s that weren’t deselected or didn’t stand down as part of the expenses cull will no doubt find the issue returns to haunt them in the literature of challengers when the next election arrives. No doubt the slate of candidates that Martin Bell and Terry Waite are putting together will also give the issue allot of prominence but once again I would expect this will be more on a local than a national level where the debate does indeed seemed to have moved on.

What the long-term impact will be of the scandal is rather hard to tell right now; in term’s of lasting damage it seems that the moment when it threatened a monumental shift in the political landscape has passed. Had it led to long term changes t0 something like the electoral system then it would indeed have radically altered British politics forever but as it didn’t the moment seems to have passed…

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About darrellgoodliffe

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7 responses to “Has the expenses scandal been forgotten?”

  1. Mark Reckons says :

    We’ll see.

    There are still a lot of MPs out there with dubious claims next to their names. I suspect this will come to the fore again in the election campaign, especially in those seats where “dodgy” MPs are standing again. And if they are standing in safe seats, this will be even more newsworthy as it will be harder to get rid of them which underscores what I and others have been saying.

    I think there’s plenty more mileage in this story yet, it’s just we’re in a lull before the election campaign brings it back again.

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  2. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Mark,

    Agreed.

    I don’t dispute that but can’t help feel that it won’t achieve the national profile it did previously but like you say we will see. Sadly, I think the lack of national momentum will impair the moves for radical change….

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  3. Jonathan Calder says :

    I suspect this is a reflection of the fact that people had such a low opinion of politicians in the first place.

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  4. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Jonathan,

    Possibly since it is only a return to a -49% approval rating which is hardly a ringing endorsement but in terms of the general trend of expenses dropping back as an issue I think we have seen other anecdotal proofs of that like the decline in the poll rating for ‘Others’ (although this, of course, is also an effect from being distant from the Euros).

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  5. Mark Pack says :

    Given the degree to which the media coverage has moved on, I’m not surprised by these figures, though see the ones I put on LDV this afternoon for a reminder about how hostile the public still is. One thing for MPs and candidates to bear in mind I think is that in the run up to polling day it’s an issue that can be made a lot of in local leaflets and media, which will drive it back up the agenda for many voters, even if the national media’s attention is elsewhere.

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  6. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Mark,

    I agree that these figures are hardly surprising. I certainly will take a look, thank you :). Like you say I also think it will reappear at a local level in leaflets and in campaigns despite it probably not being on the national radar.

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  7. shadyticker says :

    I would hope the expenses scandal will not be forgotton. Sadly, there are many people here in Britain with short memories. I get so frustrated about it. I wonder why it is? Apathy perhaps?

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