It's not the system. It's the people. No system will prevent a thief from stealing. We may perhaps have less sympathy for a foolish householder who leaves his doors unlocked, but the fool is still wronged if burgled. The burglar is still at fault. Though I heard some cheeky pleas in mitigation in my brief time as a defence lawyer, it would be an impertinent thief who argued that it was not his fault he stole as the doors were open. Still less if they were open to him because he was a trusted servant.
The only plea in mitigation I could offer for dishonest MPs is that they were urged on, incited and abetted by their Speaker, the sorriest specimen ever to hold that august office. He occupies it by the brute force of Labour's majority, against all parliamentary tradition. He was put there to be partial to his own party and can only be judged a success by that one measure. He is a tribal thug, unfit for any office of trust.
I have already expressed my frustration that my limited command of Anglo-Saxon limits my ability to express my contempt for this crew of gutless sneak thieves. Mr Eugenides lays into the Speaker today as I would have been proud to be able to do. His writing, whether or not peppered with ripe Anglo-Saxon, is always splendid;
As a fellow native of the finest city in these isles, moreover, I do not say this out of some misplaced sense of snobbery. It is not the fact that he is from Glasgow that is the problem, but rather the fact that he is a Glasgow Labour MP of the very worst sort - a bovine, chippy, venal, knuckle-dragging, tribal, narrow-minded, grasping, slow-witted, nepotistic, mentally subnormal dullard. In other words; a Glasgow Labour MP.
Archbishop Cranmer forlornly calls upon the Queen to exercise her own limited constitutional powers for the first time in her long reign. He does so in powerfully expressive words;
I fear he has as much hope of God intervening personally, though I think she would be well justified in law. It is obvious to the slightest intellect that, not merely the government, but this whole parliament has lost the support of the people. It has no mandate. Gordon Brown is too small a man to do the right thing. If indeed, after an immoral career of manipulation, mendacity and malice, he retains the slightest notion of what it is.