It’s the story that won’t end.
The Daily Telegraph is on day 20 (yes, T-W-E-N-T-Y) of its never-ending expenses witch-hunt. Question Time is running prime-time bear baiting sessions of our elected representatives. The talk radio phone-ins crackle with the righteous indignation of a thousand callers, who make up in vehemence what they lack in eloquence, exclaiming that they’re all as bad as each other and they should all be banged up.
Heads have rolled, the party leaders have promised their own transformation of our broken politics (© everybody), and still the fire rages through our public discourse.
It is, of course, possible that the country may be slightly over-reacting. While much of the outrage is genuine, and understandable, I surely can’t be the only person to be slightly underwhelmed by the whole thing.
This isn’t just a natural aversion to the angry, braying mob (although it may be partly that Daniel Finkelstein’s column today on this issue was compelling).
It’s that, compared with the rest of the world, our pet food-expensing and moat-claiming MPs just aren’t that bad. Consider the widespread vote-buying in recent elections across South America, the billions in EU aid diverted into Swiss bank accounts linked to senior Palestinian officials, or Mrs Mugabe’s well-known shopping trips to Paris in Air Zimbabwe planes.
And if you prefer your sleaze a little closer to home what about Silvio Berlusconi changing Italian law to avoid personal prosecution? Or the van full of cash which used to drive around Paris every Friday afternoon dispensing bribes to municipalofficials? Even sleepy, above board Switzerland has been rocked by a series of scandals which suggest political complicity in a series of shady financial dealings.
Nobody likes the idea that the British taxpayer is getting ripped off, or that public servants are taking liberties with our hard-earned cash. But, if we were pressed to choose between real corruption and our watered-down, duck-pond version, I think we know which one we would choose.