thinking outside the tank

Claiming the moral low ground

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In their own language, ‘we will take no lessons’ in the morality of large bonuses in the financial sector from politicians who claim ‘no wrongdoing’ when dipping their snouts in the trough of allowable expenses for second homes. To me there is substantially no difference between an employment contract which has a bonus written into it and the rules of parliament that define the expenses that MPs may claim. These are legal arrangements.

What MPs don’t seem to see is that this is a moral question not a legal one. There is moral outrage at the ongoing delivery of taxpayers’ money to the architects of financial failure. Likewise, there is moral outrage that MPs claim money that they don’t need, simply because the rules allow it. If this kind of abuse were occurring in the real economy, Revenue and Customs would be seeking actively, and retrospectively, to close the loophole.

I once worked alongside a North Sea diver who was paid more the deeper he went. He admitted looking for depressions in the seabed that he could step into to claim extra money. In a moral topography he would find those low points filled with both bankers and politicians.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst 2009

Written by netkingcol

March 22, 2009 at 9:51 am

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