'He said there were "far more important things going on in the world" - but became agitated when Ms Gracie asked why Mr Martin had tried to block the publication of expenses.'
If I had written this in first year English, I'd have been assaulted by my teacher. In what way is the statement 'became agitated when Ms Gracie asked why..." in any way a dependent clause of the first? Its not. Its intention is to destroy the impact and importance of the statement. And this is the pivotal statement in this whole story.
MP's expenses are utterly unimportant. Not only would most of them pass the reasonable man test, but the amounts of money are pitifully small. In relation to all British government expenditure, they are a tiny fraction of a droplet in the ocean.
Our MP's are not by any standard corrupt. By world standards, they are cleaner than clean, and thank God thats true. So why this demented witch hunt by the newspapers and TV news people?
There are two answers I can think of, both unpalatable. First, there is nothing going on for the newshounds (if only they were) to get their tiny baby teeth into, so this made-up story will do for cheap thrills. The second is worse- it is a cynical ploy to destract the population of this country from scrutinising the positively stupendous amounts of taxpayer wealth being thrown at various dubious projects up and down Britain.
Last year, it was revealed that the NHS spent 100 million pounds per year on translation services, so it can provide 'free' healthcare to somalis and bangladeshis and every other dreg that washes up on these shores in their own language. A hundred million pounds would cover the MP's expenses in toto, and much much more. Those translation services actively militate against immigrants assimilating here, and becoming useful and productive. A dismal lose-lose situation for the poor bastards paying the ginormous tab.
So the next time a whole NewsNight is spent chewing over some poor MP's claim for curtain rods, try to remember the big picture...