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Bishop of Lichfield speaks out on MPs expenses scandal

The Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill

The Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill

The Bishop of Lichfield has defended the “decent and honest MPs” in the wake of the expenses scandal – but claimed that some should be sacked.

The Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill’s comments come in the wake of Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant’s call for an independent review of MPs pay and expenses.

A number of MPs have faced questions from across the media after the Daily Telegraph began publishing details of their expenses.

But the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill said:

“I’ve been absolutely scandalised by some of the stories of what is coming out; and I’ve felt like I don’t want to vote either; or at least I don’t know how to vote.

“But then when you step back a bit, you realise that the vast majority of MPs have not been fiddling their expenses and we must be careful not to bring down the whole democratic system.  What’s important is that it is not so much the system, it’s the people.  And some people just need to be sacked.  But for the rest of us, we need to keep on exercising our vote so that we can insist that all the decent and honest MPs reform and clarify their expenses system.”

And despite the scandal, the Bishop of Lichfield has urged people not to give up on the political system.

He added:

 “There’s one thing wrong with a democracy that isn’t working very well; and that’s no democracy at all.  And if you think of the systems that we have had in the past, and they have had in other parts of the world when democracy has failed, it’s actually even more important that we vote at this moment than usual.

 “I’m just looking at the history of The Potteries, when it was the pottery bosses who had the say over thousands of people’s lives.  The result was terrible poverty and we don’t want to go back to a system where a few powerful people have all the say.

 “It is important that, even if it is difficult to know how to vote at the moment, that all of us should use our vote and use it to the best of our ability; otherwise the whole democratic system might be in danger.”

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3 Comments

  1. Colin

    17th May, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Quote -“we don’t want to go back to a system where a few powerful people have all the say.”End Quote.

    Do you mean like when Blair took us to war!
    Or when Brown signed us into the new”Constitution”!

  2. Mark Julian Smith

    24th May, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Cromwell 1652 “the nation loathed their sitting”

    In an entry relating to November, 1652, Whitelocke describes a conversation with Cromwell in which the latter referred to the “pride and ambition and self-seeking” of the members, “engrossing all places of honour and profit to themselves and their friends:; to their “design to perpetuate themselves and to continue the power in their own hands”; and to “their meddling in private matters between party and party”. All this was leading up to a state of things that was becoming intolerable. The army began to have a strange distaste against them”, and thus it had come about that “the nation loathed their sitting.”.

    Why are we still at the same place? Because we never left it.

    The relationships in the decision making processes in how we relate to each other in politics and business with ever decreasing accountability and more importantly contradictability have not changed since feudal times under whatever system. The relationships are still based on the extremely old notion of sovereignty. Rather than basing a society on who can gain the most from others is the winner creating a constitution based on enabling the independence of others first would be a start.

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