Corruption – an integral part of parliamentary politics

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People go into bourgeois politics for diverse reasons, but few are able to resist the opportunity to use their membership of parliament or government as a way of lining their own pockets. Their loyalty to the state as it deceives  and exploits the population is amply rewarded by large salaries, bribes, luxurious privileges, and ‘plenty of time on their hands'.

The ongoing MP expenses scandal at Westminster revealed this basic truth of the workings of the democratic machinery of the state. It's certainly interesting to know the ugly details of the swinish greed of those whose job it is extol the principles of equality and social responsibility.

It's also instructive to see the increasing scale of the politicians' avarice: it seems that the more capitalism sinks into its irresolvable crisis, the more those responsible for the system try to save their own skins at the expense of the population with ever greater theft from the public purse. The colossal bonuses paid to top bank employees, often the same people who were responsible for losses of billions of pounds during the credit crunch, echoes in the private sector MPs' sordid milking of the public cow. 

But a question needs answering. Why does the bourgeois press and other media parade all this venality in front of our noses on the front pages and the first item on news bulletins? Why not continue to keep it quiet in order not to enrage the mass of the population which is  meanwhile sinking deeper into poverty?

The bourgeoisie learnt long ago - possibly with the enquiries into child labour in the factories in the 19th century - that it couldn't completely hide the vast corruption and inhumanity of the system from the eyes of the working class. It had to find a way of presenting it to them which would preserve the existing social system from any serious threat from the exploited and divert the latter into false solutions. Thus, the most intelligent and powerful ruling classes in the world have sometimes give us a glimpse of the truth while, at the same time, portraying their intrinsic, exploiting nature as something temporary, exceptional, or if widespread, something that can be reformed if enough energy and pressure is applied through the existing democratic machinery. Here the leftists today show their worth to capitalism by pretending we can ‘smash' all the various abuses of the system.  

Thus the MPs' expenses scandal was uncovered by a persistent and courageous lone journalist (already dramatised in a TV film); MPs have been sacked, and have had to repay the expenses they falsely claimed, while senior politicians have united to pledge to clean up public life, blah, blah, blah.

However this familiar process of redemption after a public scandal has not been very convincing; the electoral process has not yet been reinvigorated. Today the bourgeoisie has less room to manoeuvre and the scandals are more and more enormous.

The corruption of MPs is not an abuse of the system, it is the democratic system.   

Como 6/3/10

see also

Expenses scandal: cynicism is not enough