Occupational thoughts

Covering life on the home front.

Death by media scandal

with 2 comments

If you’ve been following the news these recent months you’ll have noticed a chain of ‘expenses scandals’ each with it’s own bit of public outrage.

In the beginning there was the scandal over bankers’s bonuses. The reason this was a scandal was because some banks had been bailed out by the government at great expense to the taxpayer. Now that we had put billions into the banks we were finding the bankers walking away with it in their pockets. The government paid £20 billion to the Royal Bank of Scotland, which in turn paid £1 billion to it’s senior managers.
The outrage over this is perfectly reasonable and justified. There was resounding dislike for the bankers before this as they were widely seen as the instigators of the credit crunch. The prevailing chant of our ‘put people first’ march through Oxford town centre was “Our jobs are not for sale: put the Bankers into jail” and “Bankers Wankers”.

It is a pleasure to be here with you today. I’d like to start by thanking the National Children’s Bureau, for hosting this speech, and also for your tireless work over the last 40 years on behalf of children and families. And because play – one of your recent campaigning priorities - is a central part of any happy childhood and essential to learning and development, today, I am pleased to announce that I have agreed with James Purnell, Secretary of State at DCMS, that, we will now take on dual responsibility for play as well.

It is a pleasure to be here with you today. I’d like to start by thanking the National Children’s Bureau, for hosting this speech, and also for your tireless work over the last 40 years on behalf of children and families. And because play – one of your recent campaigning priorities - is a central part of any happy childhood and essential to learning and development, today, I am pleased to announce that I have agreed with James Purnell, Secretary of State at DCMS, that, we will now take on dual responsibility for play as well.

That scandal slowly subsided as people accepted the injustice. Journalists wrote many articles condemning the practices of bankers. It is ture that they run in small elitist circles, only employing those who were with them at Eton or if they ‘knew your father’. When bankers fail they’re given a pat on the back and told either they can ‘do better next time’ or ‘retire with a big pension’. 9 days later Alistair Darling limited the bonuses to £340 million. However, they still had their big cars, big houses with swimming pools. Fighting the careless attitude of the bankers seemed too difficult to overcome, the people gave up and left, the bankers won.

Then along came another scandal, the Telegraph published the MPs expenses. As expected a raft of unhappy taxpayers shouted their dissent from the tabloids. A couple of intersting things about this scandal is that although all three major parties were implicated, they all ran around pointing fingers at each other until the whole population reinforced the widely-accepted notion that all mainstream politickers were lying cheating scumbags. I want to clear this up by joining the blame train, these early figures show the Lib Dems as claiming the highest expenses:
The average Labour MP expenses is £5,566.73
The average Conservative MP expenses is £6,327.90
The avergae Liberal Democrat MP expenses is £6,511.46
Those numbers come from only a small sample of  20% of the expenses claims.

Second thing is that Gordon Brown’s personal expenses are next-to nothing, yet he was blamed for the entire Labour party.

Third thing is that some of the expenses are understandable but got drowned out by the media din. To cite an example: claiming a £17 rail fare is justified if the government asks an MP to commute to location X. That’s not unreasonable, it’s sensible. The not-sensible things are the unnocupied second homes maintained by some (probably quite happy) cleaners at the expense of yours truly.

The result of this scandal is as follows: the trust lost in the mainstream parties caused voter turnout to fall in the European elections which caused 2 BNP MEPs to get elected. The media attention was turned away from the bankers.

An MS Paint approximation of the public's reaction to expenses scandals.

An MS Paint approximation of the public's reaction to expenses scandals.

The last scandal of this kind is the BBC expenses scandal, wherin the director of Future Media and Technology Ashley Highfield bought an iPod for £217. The excuse given for this was that it was to test out some sound equipment. Admittedly he could have used a cheaper Mp3 player but the expense doesn’t fit the public outrage levelled at him from the angry taxpayers and liscence-fee payers. In a slightly more expensive move, Mark Thompson cut short his family holiday and used a private plane (at a cost of £1,277.71) to get back to London as quickly as possible to sort out Jonathan Ross and Russel Brand. It’s not him being greedy and conspiring to waste taxpayer’s money, it’s a reasonable expense.

Over the course of these three scandals an initial response to bankers siphoning one billion pounds in bonuses was watered down to moral indignation over some poor bloke who bought an iPod to test out some sound equipment.

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Written by Pierre

June 30, 2009 at 14:33

Posted in politick

2 Responses

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  1. u should be a writter for the gaurdian…..

    andriy

    June 30, 2009 at 17:53

  2. Only joking 😛

    Alex Hannam

    June 30, 2009 at 15:07


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