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…