The Great Debate UK

from UK News:

Echoes of Italy’s Clean Hands revolution

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The shockwaves reverberating through Westminster as the MPs' expenses scandal unfolds have been compared with the "Clean Hands" bribery scandal that effectively demolished Italy's post-war political establishment in the space of a couple of years in the early 1990s.

If things are going to get that bad, the guilty politicians are going to have an uncomfortable time.

As a reporter in Rome at the time, I remember how surprise turned to anger then just as it has now as the public began to realise the sheer extent of the corruption that was helping to line the pockets of the country's leading politicians and their parties.

The morning newspapers brought fresh revelations almost daily of how the main political parties routinely demanded kickbacks in return for government contracts. There were the "golden sheets" for example in which invoices for linen and bedding were inflated to thousands of pounds, and the exorbitant demands placed on suppliers to hospitals, which caused particular anger.

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