It rather looks as if the so-called “new politics” is dead. The cleansing that the General Election was supposed to have brought seems to have vanished in just a few days. The Government is now mired in “sleaze” stories – the sort of stories that were supposed to be behind us given the way the political parties had taken action against those who had been embroiled in expenses problems and the electorate’s verdict on those that had survived that process. Both David Cameron – and to an even greater extent Nick Clegg – had been incredibly sanctimonious before the General Election. Now their words are coming back to haunt them.
What have the last few days brought?
- David Laws forced to resign following revelations that he had broken the rules on claiming second home expenses to make payments to a partner. His arguments to try and justify himself and the attempts to turn this into an argument about sexuality have been comprehensively debunked.
- Double questions about Danny Alexander’s expenses (flipping and Capital Gains Tax avoidance) and his choice of Special Advisor.
- Stories that a top Tory donor was nominated for a peerage, but then had to withdraw after “questions” were raised about his tax payments.
None of this looks good for the “new politics”.
And what was Nick Clegg thinking when – in the first Leaders’ debate in the General Election – he called on the other Parties to come clean about flipping houses, pocketing huge profits and avoiding capital gains tax and asserted that not a single Liberal Democrat MP had been involved? Had he forgotten Danny Alexander, his closest aide?