Remind me; why was Mr. Martin forced to resign today?
According to Nick Robertson from the BBC, he outlined the following five reasons:
1. He failed to see this crisis coming.
2. He presided over the system which encouraged MPs to fiddle their expenses or to claim them to the max.
3. He wasted time and money on fighting calls from taxpayers to see what MPs were doing with their money.
4. He did little to stand up to those MPs who resisted reform.
5. His reaction to the publication of MPs' expenses was to call in the police and to attack those MPs who criticised him, rather than using his position to apologise to the country or to speak to MPs on behalf of the electorate.
It is all rather vague, nebulous and ill-formed. There is ample use of words like "presided", "wasted", and "failed". There are no concrete accusations like "he claimed money for a non-existent mortgage".
The first four reasons could be easily re-written, removing Mr. Martin as the subject and replacing it with Mr. Brown. It would also work with the names of at least 200 MPs. As for the last reason, it goes along way to explaining why poor Mr. Martin couldn't provide sufficient leadership to prevent MPs from scamming the taxpayer. Reforming the allowance system would have amounted to a fundamental critique of MPs behaviour and lifestyles.
The question is, therefore, why is Mr. Martin taking the long walk when other far more reprehensible individuals remain firmly entrenched in their positions?
It is, of course, a rhetorical question. The answer was evident to anyone who watched today's deplorable spectacle. Poor Mr. Martin was pushed forward, rather like sponge, to absorb our anger. Brown is now following up with a press conference promising "far reaching reform", in an effort to rebuild public confidence in parliament. It looks depressingly familiar; the politicians old-one-two; offer up a victim and promise reform after a committee has deliberated.
However, UK voters are unlikely to be very impressed by today's exercise in hypocrisy. That lofty talk about the reputation of the house and the need to restore confidence in parliamentary democracy looks rather hollow compared to the seedy business of flipping homes to maximize allowances.
There are election coming; the first is European elections on June 4th. Next year, we have the big one; the general election. The people's voice will be heard, the House of Hypocrites will be deposed.