If I still cannot find it in me to feel overwhelming moral outrage because of MP's expenses it isn't because I think fiddling expenses is fine. It isn't. It is for three reasons.
1.) Given any set of rules people adapt themselves to it in a general fashion and think no more about it. Hence the Menzies Campbell response on Question Time, that he did as he did and never stood far enough away to examine the moral status of his claim until it was brought home to him. I don't think most people 'plot' to put smaller items here or there. Mostly they are too busy with other things. Furthermore, I don't think they regard themselves as dishonest in any way. They do what has been done, what goes on being done, what is within the rules and within the realms of habit. It's a kind of anaesthesia. I suspect much of corruption is a form of anaesthesia and that what we regard as corruption in far away places would not immediately strike the local culprits or indeed their victims much of the time as corruption. Then something happens. People emerge from anaesthesia into full consciousness. It's as well this happens, but it's not a time for stringing people up. Apart from those who actually defraud the state of course. They should be charged with a criminal offence. The rest should be severely lectured, and, if their constituents fancy, be deselected and left to learn. Venial sins for the most part. The rest of the time they are either good constituency MPs or they are not.
2.)The sight of moral outrage, the prospect of a feeding frenzy, the sound of the mob baying for heads, is revolting, always hypocritical and terminally malicious. Much of the outrage in ordinary people is displaced frustration and that is understandable but it soon becomes what people think of as justified rage. Fair enough. We are right to feel angry about injustice. We should be angered by it. But the feeling of self-righteousness is one of the most repulsive human conditions and I thoroughly distrust it. This is despite of any political allegiance. It often leaves a worse stink than the original crime which is often petty though cumulative, and spills a great deal more blood.
3.) The role of the press is never innocent. They don't expose bad practice purely for love of justice. They do it to sell papers. Daily. You can't blame them for wanting to sell papers, but it's best to keep that in mind. Press outrage is always tinged with the deepest cynicism. Whistleblowers are good. Exposure is good. But listen to the sound of the voice shaking with outrage and note the well-worn tropes and trigger words.
Just notes for myself, if you like. There is, I think, a serious danger that thorough disillusion with proper politics will benefit only the vicious and the fundamentally crooked. I am damned well going to vote on whatever principles I have. I will never not vote.
As for the rest, civilised comments are welcome, should anyone wish to comment (though I have no intention of living by or for comment and will carry on writing this blog for the sheer delight of it, as long as the delight lasts) the rest can bugger off. Filthy ad hominem comments will be chewed and spat out into the outer darkness with an extra relish.