April 10th, 2014


Parliamentary Expenses

You're never going to get into parliament without the backing of a party machine. And the party machines want people who are happy to run with the herd, think with the herd, do as the herd does. Sturdy individualists need not apply.

And so we end up being governed by people who have no political ideas or personal ethics apart from those of the herd.

Maria Miller is a typical specimen. She fiddled because everyone else was fiddling, because the herd regarded such behaviour as a perk of the job. She might have got away with it if she hadn't been so arrogant- or if she'd occupied a place a little higher up in the hierarchy.

She's not exceptionally wicked. The problem is systemic.

Some Things Never Change

There are many reasons for reading older books and here's one of them.

That they give us historical perspective- and so a sense of the things that are permanent in human affairs.

For example, you think politicians today are uniquely corrupt and inefficient? Not so. Here's Wells 100 years ago making very familiar and still relevant complaints about the ruling class...and Dickens 150 years ago...and Swift 300 years ago...