A Very British Revolution (Paperback)

The Expenses Scandal and How to Save Our Democracy

Martin Bell

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The revelations over MPs' expenses that began in May 2009 ranged from petty thieving to outright fraud and sparked a crisis in confidence unprecedented in modern times. This was a 21st-century Peasants' Revolt – an uprising of the people against the political class. Ordinary men and women with political views across the spectrum were by turns amused, incredulous, shocked and then bitterly angry as the disclosures on MPs' expenses flooded out. From Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's bath plug to Conservative MP Sir John Butterfill's 'flipping' of his constituency home – a now-notorious manoeuvre that required him to refund GBP60,000 to the taxpayer – the exposure of MPs' expenses revealed Westminster's culture of quiet corruption like never before. Drawing on his experience as an MP and as a member of the Committee on Standards and Privileges, Martin Bell explains how the expenses crisis arose and, most compellingly, lays out his prescription for healing the deep wounds inflicted by the scandal. As Martin puts it: 'The revolution will not be complete until all the rogues in the House are gone and public confidence in the MPs remaining is restored.' This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revive British politics, and the rebuilding starts here.

Martin Bell OBE is one of the best-known and most highly regarded names in British television journalism. As a BBC reporter he has covered foreign assignments in more than 80 countries and eleven wars including Vietnam, Nigeria, Angola, Nicaragua, The Gulf and Bosnia, where millions watched as he was nearly killed by shrapnel. In 1997 Martin became the first Independent MP to be elected to Parliament since 1950, and he has since campaigned tirelessly for trust and transparency in British politics.

The book took 10 weeks to write and reads quickly off the page.Eastern Daily Press
The journalist turned accidental MP has an insight not available to reporters.Eastern Daily Press
I am especially interested to read Martin's new book…And I am recommending that everyone buys his book.Douglas Carswell, MP for Harwich and Clacton
Adversity, Bell reminds us, can actually be quite useful.Tribune
Bell doesn't mince his words condemning the 'corrupt' politicians who have 'lost our trust because they pick our pockets.'Sunday Herald
His latest book is scathing about those who become MPs without having done much else in their lives other than politics. He judges – as I do – that much of the recent debacle would have been avoided, if so many of those who made it to Westminster had a career pattern other than school, university, researcher, aide to MP and adoption as Parliamentary candidate.Tribune
Bell is right when he emphasizes that the real problem with the expenses scandal is not the money: it's the fact that MPs make up their own rules, and effectively end up writing their own cheques.London Review of Books


about this book

ISBN: 9781848310964

Price: 11.99 GBP

Pages: 246

Publication date: 24/09/2009


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