Because of the number of otherwise intelligent people who seem happy to defend the corruption of our leaders. There are some thick bastards defending them too, but my impecunious Athenian friend has already fisked Never Trust A Hippy (never a truer word spoken) and so I do not need to waste my 2009 Swearword Allowance on Paulie's deeply pathetic post. Besides, I'm not sure that I would be able to keep my sanity after wading through the non-sequiturs and straw men.
But, I must admit that I am disappointed to see PDF echoing at least one of Paulie's points: this point is that, basically, if the MP does not go on the make, then he will be corrupted by private interests.
Given that the only people in parliament who aren't stupid are on the make, which situation would you prefer: the one where they shaft their allowances until their salary approaches something liveable; or the one where they actually rely on directorships, companies, think-tanks, European institutes, and other people who'll happily reward them in exchange for making public policy that serves the paymasters' interests?
Where to start? First, as I have said before, is it too much to ask that those who would seek to govern our lives are not corrupt? Because, essentially, both Paulie and PDF are asking "would you like our MPs to be corrupt this way or that way?"
I don't want them to be corrupt at all, actually. Were I an MP, I wouldn't fiddle my expenses, and I wouldn't line my pockets in return for making policy. Why?
Because I am not corrupt.
Now, I don't know what happened in the lives of Paulie and PDF that they are so unable to conceive of someone not being on the make, but it is rather sad. I feel for the both of them.
Second, I am very happy that PDF considers more than £61k to be merely "higher than you'd get for cleaning windows with your tongue", but I might venture to suggest that he is, in fact, incredibly privileged. An MP's basic salary is more than twice what I have ever earned and yet I seem to be able to resist the urge to fiddle my expenses. Who'da thunk it?
Third, there is a very basic and repulsive hypocrisy here. Unlike the rest of us, MPs have an exemption from HMRC as regards their costs. Were my employer to offer me a second home, or pay my petrol costs into work, or anything else of that sort, then I would be taxed on it as a benefit in kind: MPs have an exemption from this rule. That is hypocrisy.
If my company does not put in receipts for expenses, HMRC can prosecute. MPs tried to exempt themselves from a requirement that they make of us. That is hypocrisy.
Fourth, we employ these fuckers: were I fiddling my expenses, my boss would be justified in sacking me. He would be justified in doing so, not only because I would be costing the company money, but because I had betrayed a trust. I would have been dishonest. We employ MPs, and so why the living fuck should we put up with our employees fiddling their expenses?
You see, the sad thing about all of this is that Paulie and PDF expect our lords and masters to be on the make, one way or another.
But they expect those evil private companies to buy our MPs instead. Of course, being the libertarian that I am, I am no less hostile to that corruption than any other. But then, as someone or other said, if you give the legislators such power, the first thing that will be for sale is the legislators. Remove almost all of their power, and private companies will not want (or need) to buy their compliance.
As I have said before, there really is only one reason that I would want to thrust myself forward as a potential Parliamentary candidate: to prove that you can be in the House of Commons and not be corrupt, not be bought. I would be the most honest and passionate MP that has ever crossed the threshold of that House.
As you know, a new MP gets to make an inaugural speech. I know what mine would consist of, and Cromwell's succinct rendering of what I would like to say appears below...
"It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.
"Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?
"Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are yourselves gone!
"So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. In the name of God, go!"
That Paulie and PDF believe that one would only do the job in order to enrich oneself just shows how debased our political system has become.
Our legislators have been bought, and this practice is now so routine that some people find the idea of an honest MP to be inconceivable.
How very, very sad.
UPDATE: one thing that I would like to add is that, had MPs not so blatantly abused the system, then we would not need to see their expenses. Therefore, we need to treat them like the naughty children that they are: they lied about their homework and so now we are going to check their homework, every night and in minute detail, until they have got into the habit of doing it properly.
And if they still don't do what they are supposed to do, then we shall have to spank them. With a piece of two-by-four. Embedded with rusty nails coated with lemon juice.