Whilst being totally accurate in saying, "MPs look as if they still don`t get it", the Guardian editorial last week underestimated the damage done by the latest scandal regarding misappropriation of taxpayers` money by elected members. Miller`s totally inappropriate punishment and apology will no doubt have added thousands to the numbers intending to vote Ukip in the forthcoming Euro elections, but the fact that it was left to "MPs on the standards committee to adjudicate" will not have gone unnoticed by the electorate either, especially as they overruled the recommendation of the standards` commissioner that she pay back more than £44,000.
The debates with Clegg emphasise how Farage`s popularity can partly be explained, not just by his views on Europe, or even on immigration, but by his assertion that Britain is being ruled by a political club in their "Westminster bubble", divorced from life`s realities. The sight of ministers rushing to be seated near Miller on the third row of government benches, to show their solidarity as she made her "Whatever 31 second" apology, proved his point, and moreover, was little less than sickening!
Cameron`s failure to dismiss Miller, allied to Miliband`s lack of insistence that MPs should be barred from making judgements on colleagues which overrule the commissioner`s suggestions, will have made Farage`s week even better.Speech writers for the party leaders will already be writing, ahead of the May election results, how Ukip`s success has been a "wake-up call" and "lessons will be learned". Give me strength!
Whilst Cameron is right to say that voting in a general election is "too important to be reduced to X Factor style button pushing", his insistence on retaining the present system speaks volumes. His policies have done nothing for young people, with youth unemployment far too high, social mobility shrinking rather than increasing, and private renting reaching rip-off levels, but the most-likely-to-vote brigade gets pension freedom and more tax-free saving opportunities. Labour would do well to cash in on this, and propose immediately future change in location of polling booths to supermarkets and shopping centres, and also, college and university campuses. It would be interesting for the potential voters to see the Tory reaction.