THE DAILY TELEGRAPH has so far published a list of 100 MPs who have wrongly claimed expenses - ranging from a mere 75 pence for a scotch egg to hundreds of thousands of pounds for dodgy second home deals. The electorate is thoroughly disgusted and there is a. growing distrust of all MPs and politicians in general.
But the system has been corrupt for a long time and we have to ask why has it all been exposed right now? Public opinion polls have show popular faith in the honesty of MPs has been pretty low for the last 25 years or so.
And we must remember that if 100 MPs have been named - the other 546 have not been. So far as we know, the majority of MPs are honest – in this respect at least. Notable among those not named are left-wing Labour backbenchers like Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Bob Wareing, George Galloway, Glenda Jackson, John Austin and John Cruddas. The list of those who have been named is notable for the number of senior front benchers of Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrat parties.
This ties in with the philosophy that has dominated western imperialism for the last three decades and which was behind the launch of New Labour: "Game theory" as propounded by John Nash. This is basically a justification of extreme capitalism - the idea that life is a battle of all against each in which only the strongest and most selfish survive. In some respects this echoes the gloomy 17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes. But Nash goes further and claims that and people who try to be kind, co-operative and considerate are all hypocrites and liars. This is the theory that gave rise to the pronouncement that "greed is good".
But whereas Hobbes saw the state as a necessary independent and honest referee in this battle-for-life, the Nash theory looks on the state machine as a rich field of plunder for all who can get into it. This is the ideology of Thatcherism and New Labour. It is hardly surprising that its followers have taken it for granted that they were expected to work the expenses system as much as they could for their own good. They even told each other that a generous expenses system was compensation for a salary that was low in comparison to private sector company directors but could not be raised because of public disapproval, It says a lot for those MPs who do not exploit it.
But we must remember that MPs are not the real ruling class - the bankers, landowners and captains of industry are. It is a bit like the world of crime. The big criminals need the co-operation of dozens of minor officials in government, local government and the judiciary, So they seduce weak bureaucrats with a little a little petty corruption ("go on, everyone's doing it"). But once they fall for it, they can be endlessly manipulated and silenced, for fear of exposure, disgrace and losing their jobs. So it is with the MPs and the real ruling class. The real ruling class, using papers like the Telegraph and the Daily Mail, is out to undermine public confidence in parliamentary democracy as it now operates .
If we had a strong working class movement, ready to set up a communist workers' state in the near future this would be a good thing. The system is corrupt and designed to keep the working class down. But we can be certain the real ruling class is not going to try to replace the existing system with anything remotely more progressive, The Telegraph editorials are already calling for a serious reduction in the number of MPs ("they're all a waste of money"). If they want to privatise the whole function of the state, why would they need MPs?
The ruling class does not want the working class rallying to defend what few democratic rights it has because it wants to take them away, so it publicly exposes and mocks the system and paints any kind of democratic political activity as a waste of time and money.
This is another stage in the creeping fascism that threatens Britain and we had better be on our guard.