The Great Debate UK

It is up to us, not politicians, to clean up politics


guy123- Guy Aitchison is a contributing editor at openDemocracy and writes regularly for its UK blog, OurKingdom -

The Labour politician and intellectual Richard Crossman once described the British constitution, with a sovereign Parliament at its centre, as a “rock” against periodic “waves of popular emotion”.

As MPs reflect on the recent expenses scandal during their 82-day summer break, many will be tempted to congratulate themselves for once again weathering the storm of public outrage.

At the height of the crisis the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition were competing with each other to propose ever-more radical constitutional solutions to the catastrophic loss of trust precipitated by the Telegraph’s revelations of MPs’ shameless, and in many cases fraudulent, abuse of taxpayers’ money. Gordon Brown called for “a written constitution”, David Cameron for giving “power to the powerless” and Nick Clegg, whose party has long been calling for reform of a “rotten” Westminster system, demanded change in “100 days”.