Author's Note: I am not the Devil's Kitchen. Cross-posted from Mr Eugenides.
Misdirection, they call it. While you're watching the magic wand, or Ronaldo's feet windmilling around like Michael Flatley on speed, you're distracted from the real business at hand.
And so it is today. While all this Heathrow shit goes on, and the moronic John McDonnell channels the spirit of Ron Brown, MPs are quietly refilling the gravy boat:
Remember the clampdown on MPs expenses which was promised after it emerged Derek Conway was paying his sons to work for him? Full transparency and an end to the John Lewis list? Well a year later, and on a busy newsday, Harriet Harman has announced the watering down almost all the restrictions.
According to a document unveiled with no fanfare on the same day as the Heathrow announcement, the House is preparing to block the publication of all receipts for MPs expenses, which had been ordered by an Information Tribunal.
See the results here.
And in order to prevent us from seeing receipts for what they buy, the Freedom of Information Act must be altered - for precisely which purpose the egregious Jack Straw has today laid a Statutory Instrument before the Commons.
There's been a bit of sniggering in the last day or so about some of the expenses claims submitted by Scottish MSPs, details of which have just been published by Holyrood. But the wider point is, surely, that at least in Scotland we have the right to see what our elected representatives think they can send us the bill for - potted plants, Christmas cards, a sat-nav - and the very publication of these frivolous and, in some cases, downright fraudulent claims makes it less likely that such abuses will recur in the future. Westminster is determined that no such light will be shone on the dark recesses of their expenses system.
Let's make this clear; if you are furnishing your home with my money, then I demand to know how much is being spent on what. This is not a burdensome requirement; it is the basic fucking minimum I am entitled to expect. No agent of the gigantic state apparatus that these people have constructed to empty my pockets would accept my airy assurances in place of a receipt, so why should we accept it of them?
Do go and read Sam Coates' rundown of the myriad ways in which the good times will continue to roll, and - particularly if you have a blog - please don't let this story die.
They will get away with this for precisely as long as we let them.