Legg Report is the wrong response to expenses scandal…
Today the Legg report comes out and it raises the possibility that once again the expenses issue will become centre-stage at least for one day. I would love to see an issue tracker poll on this issue because while I expect it will spike again briefly today I can’t help but feel that alot of the anger over the issue has dissipated.
This is probably helped by the fact that it is a non-party political issue; no one party is that keen to make a big thing of it because no party is innocent and all the leaders realise the lack of wisdom in throwing bricks in glass houses. I would still expect it to resurface in local contexts as the opposition parties seek to capitalise on a possible ‘reverse incumbancy’ effect. Mike Smithson says that while this is bound to have an impact his betting advice is not to ‘overreact’.
Widely trailed has been the demand by Legg that over £1million be repaid and this may go a little way to sating anger. However, my view of the Legg report is dim because it was conceived as a reaction to a mood which to my mind came close to witch-hunting many times. Legg’s remit was wrong; he does not seriously look, for example, at the fact that staffing allowances should probably be increased to allow for the payment of interns. The sole purpose of Legg was to saté public anger not to look seriously at how people from all backgrounds can enter politics and it was not conceived of to show the public that the brutal truth about democracy is that it costs money and in some instances probably should be costing more.
If the public were asked do they want to only be represented by those whose background provides with the financial means to do so then I feel their attitude would soon change. Legg should not be the final word; a report inquiring into the above issues should be the next priority and it is the changes it could bring that would have a more lasting positive impact on our democracy than the punitive Legg report.