05/06/09 11:46 Filed in: Granite Chips
When we were assimilating the seriousness of the international money crisis at the end of last year we were warned that these were unprecedented times and that no-one really knew what the future held for us.
Few of us would have dreamt that just months later we would be facing political turmoil, also on unprecedented scale.
The irony, of course, is that both these crises have been fired by the same ugly human failing. Greed.
The bankers and financiers took on riskier and riskier deals and investments to feed their greed for obscene salaries and bonuses, totally out of touch with the real world.
Meanwhile our political leaders – while seeing the need to make the Scottish Parliament operate a more transparent system – dithered and dallied about reforming the Westminster expenses system. Was that simply because of pressure of work? Or was it because they wanted keep their gravy train running for as long as possible?
Either way, the greed of a few of our elected MPs has shocked the nation. We feel let down and betrayed by people who should have earned our respect.
How could those who have been exposed imagine it was morally right for our money to be used to pay for some of the more extravagant claims, or even for the maintenance and cleaning of their privately-owned property?
Disenchantment with politics was already at an all time high. All that this expenses scandal has done is to increase that disillusionment while all but destroying our respect.
That is the real tragedy for the many MPs who are genuinely in politics to serve their electorate.
So what happens next?
- Will the turmoil strengthen the desire for an independent Scotland? (The attraction of the union has been for its financial stability and political strength, both now very much in question.)
- Will the unprecedented disenchantment open the door to fringe parties with more outlandish and distasteful views?
- Will we be seduced by a leader who promises us a bright new hope for the future?
- Could this give the real lunatics the keys to the asylum?