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Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).

Friday, 12 June 2009

MPs' expenses: Let him who is without sin ...

I don't know how many weeks the UK have been living through a constant barrage of media comment on the scandal of MP's expenses.

I want to throw my hands up and shout, 'Yes - we got the message weeks ago. You can stop now! There are other things happening in the world other than the construction of duck islands!!!'

But it has made me think a little about hypocrisy. There is no doubt that lots of British MPs have violated the spirit of the law even if not the letter. There is no doubt that they have played the system for their own benefit and that people are right to be angry.

What annoys me is the moral superiority that so many people seem to be taking on this issue. They are 'outraged' at the 'despicable behaviour' of the MPs. According to some the British public rightly wants to see MPs publically executed (I presume that this is just rhetoric). But I have little doubt that many of those taking the moral high ground condemn themselves with their own words.

Do they ever illegally copy music?
Do they ever fiddle their work expenses?
Do they claim for things that are against the spirit if not the letter of their company's guidelines?
Would they not have used the system in exactly the same way as many current MPs if no rules were being broken?

I do not doubt that in all the angry rhetoric that has been flying around there have been bucket loads of hypocrisy. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

The current scandal invites us all, amongst other things, to look again at our own behaviour and to make sure that it is straight before we start hurling abuse at others for doing things that have uncomfortable analogies to things that we ourselves do.

I think that I would have found the unceasing moral outrage more palatable if it was accompanied by some more humility, introspection, and a desire to set our own houses in order.

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