The politicians still don’t get it

70% of UK voters bemoan “ a broken society” (although 60% are optimistic about the future). The MPs expenses scandal rumbles on. In the pre-election period politicians’ appeals for public trust will be tested as never before. They’ve got a lot to do. Mary Riddell in the Telegraph has a fine piece exposing the gap between rhetoric and record. In the Commons today, Labour is testing the waters of support for a controversial change in the voting system, too late for this Parliament to pass it. David Cameron launches a vicious personal attack on Gordon Brown because his spin doctors tell him Brown is Labour’s weakest link. In the same speech, he unveils Conservative constitutional reform plans of Gladstonian highmindedness for “fixing broken politics.” The next corruption target says Cameron is the ӣ2 billion lobbying industry” which has a big presence at Westminster, with some MPs being approached more than 100 times a week by lobbyists. He should know all about it. He was a lobbyist himself, for Carlton television. So how clean are the Tories themselves? Rachel Sylvester scores a bullseye in the Times.

The Tories are currently operating a revolving-door policy in reverse, with 28 prospective parliamentary candidates in winnable seats working as lobbyists or PR consultants. And can Mr Cameron really claim to be spearheading a new era of transparency when his own election campaign is being funded by a man who refuses to say whether he pays tax in this country

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London