the final call for MPs’ expenses?


So the verdict has been delivered, the proposals have been made and the discussion has begun. Sir Christopher Kelly has made his recommendations against a backdrop of unprecedented public interest and the feedback is dribbling out. Unusual that, MPs are normally so much more forthcoming. But all major party leaders have immediately accepted the thrust of change and more or less told their parliamentary party to like-it-or-lump-it but please don’t complain about it. Why has it come to this? As I’ve blogged before, the relationship between the general public and their representatives is so damaged that any attempt to moan about reform is simply seen as electoral suicide. Do you remember Gerry Malone, former MP for Winchester? He complained about losing his seat by 2 votes, demanded a re-run and lost the decider by 21,556. The public don’t much like voting for sore losers. These reforms are broadly in line with what is standard business practice and they should be welcomed. Like many, I would be happy for MPs to eventually be paid more to go alongside these changes.

It left me wondering though- do we as church have something to learn here? The pressure from those of us watching on from outside has concentrated the minds of MPs bringing them to a more consensual approach to decision making. Unseemly battles (too often the way of Westminster) have been discarded for making changes in the public interest. Are we so-minded when considering controversial proposals? Do we conduct ourselves in a way that encourages those looking on to ‘see our good deeds and praise our father in heaven?’ I’ve often thought that the most effective way to inoculate the non-believer from following Christ would be to let them sit in on a church meeting. Now, I’m not arguing that all our decisions should be made with people pleasing as their rationale. But I do think that greater transparency might encourage us to think more about our conduct when deciding the colour scheme for the church building. Would we be happy to put our church meetings on youtube?

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