“I am Spartacus!”

Mick’s got the serious view of the ongoing MPs’ expenses row, and there’s been another casualty, but I’m still laughing at former Telegraph literary editor Sam Leith’s riffing on Spartacus at his new home in the Guardian.

Only the analogy isn’t as exact as they would like you to think. Imagine, rather, if each slave had said: “I am Spartacus … well, at least in spirit I am. I don’t say Spartacus did right (and let me be the first to say sorry, Caesar, even though I’ve done nothing wrong) – but the reason for this whole uprising thing was that the Slave Uprising System is rotten to the core, see, and it made provisions for revolt that are outdated and, frankly, corrupt. There. I’ve said it. And the sooner we can – put that crucifix away a minute, would you, it’s making me nervous – get down to the task of fixing the system, the better.”

He does have a serious point..

The purpose of these MPs’ declarations is not to take responsibility collectively, but to avoid taking it individually. They are an attempt to shift the emphasis from content to form – thus defanging it as a party- political issue and, instead, making it a problem for politicians to solve. Of course, form matters: the system is open to corruption. But it is individuals who choose to exploit it.

, , ,

  • Rory Carr

    Very good, Pete, if a bit long-winded. Long-winded of Leith that is, one would never accuse you of that crime. However I feel that the cover of today’s Private Eye sums it all up rather more neatly. I am obliged to describe it as it is not yet available online.

    Underneath a headline which screams:


    a picture of the House of Commons. From therein a speech bubble arises:

    “Shame we got caught!”

  • Pete Baker


    The difference being Private Eye’s cynicism.. rather than scepticism.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    The Daily Telegraph is running a story on the Robinsons’ expenses in the morning.

  • Pete Baker


    Mick’s noted that in the linked post.

    If we could keep to the actual topic here?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Yes, massa.

  • Pete Baker

    Well, if you feel aggrieved, Gonzo..

    You can, of course, put up a post on that exact topic yourself.