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A Very British Revolution: The Expenses Scandal And How To Save Our Democracy

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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. The author explains how the expenses crisis arose and, lays out his prescription for healing the deep wounds inflicted by the scandal. 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. The author explains how the expenses crisis arose and, lays out his prescription for healing the deep wounds inflicted by the scandal.


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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. The author explains how the expenses crisis arose and, lays out his prescription for healing the deep wounds inflicted by the scandal. 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. The author explains how the expenses crisis arose and, lays out his prescription for healing the deep wounds inflicted by the scandal.

30 review for A Very British Revolution: The Expenses Scandal And How To Save Our Democracy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Icon Books

    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 Conser 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 £60,000 to the taxpayer - the exposure of MPs' expenses revealed Westminster's culture of quiet corruption as 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. -------------- ‘The book took 10 weeks to write and reads quickly off the page.’ ‘The journalist turned accidental MP has an insight not available to reporters.’ Shaun Lowthorpe, Eastern Daily Press feature ‘I am especially interested to read Martin’s new book...And I am recommending that everyone buys his book.’ Douglas Carswell's blog, MP for Harwich and Clacton ‘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.’ ‘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 ‘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

  2. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    This book was interesting, but it wasn't what I was expecting or hoping it would be. I was looking for an interesting and informative history of the expenses scandal. There was certainly some of that. But there was also a lot of "I knew they were rotten and it wouldn't have happened if I was in charge." I respect that Martin Bell has a personal opinion, and an intelligent, well-reasoned one honed by years of experience as both a journalist and an Independent MP. His eight suggestions for improvi This book was interesting, but it wasn't what I was expecting or hoping it would be. I was looking for an interesting and informative history of the expenses scandal. There was certainly some of that. But there was also a lot of "I knew they were rotten and it wouldn't have happened if I was in charge." I respect that Martin Bell has a personal opinion, and an intelligent, well-reasoned one honed by years of experience as both a journalist and an Independent MP. His eight suggestions for improving parliament and preventing anything like this from happening again ampere, on the whole, very reasonable and practical. But there was far to much "me, me, me," for the taste of this reader. I wasn't impressed with his constant shoehorning of Iraq and Afghanistan into the book. I agree, running into war hastily was a bad idea and the dodgy dossier was a sorry time in British politics, but it was a different sorry time. I realise that as a former war correspondent Mr. Bell has very strong opinions on the matter, but they should be the subject of another book, not this one. I clearly missed the boat on reading this book when it first came out. The Kindle version I read has not been updated to reflect the fact that since it was first published, there has been a general election and nothing has changed. The best parts of the book are the hopeful descriptions of the change coming in British politics thanks to this scandal: the next general election will be revolutionary, people will not re-elect these people, there will be more Independent members because people no longer trust the main parties. It simply has not happened like that. We ended up with a coalition of posh rich white men who have no understanding of day-to-day life for regular voters and a group of middle-class white men who had ideals once but were so desperate to be taken seriously that they've sold out to the rich men. This wasn't a Very British Revolution. It was no revolution at all.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Townsend

    This book has great parts, mediocre parts and poor parts. I wanted it to be fuller in explanation. It gives the feel of a book rushed out to cash in on the expenses scandal. That said, it does give some interesting arguments. However, the feeling after reading it is to go out and throw custard pies at them all. Freeloaders par excellence.

  4. 5 out of 5

    David Rowbotham

  5. 4 out of 5

    Linda

  6. 5 out of 5

    Neil

  7. 5 out of 5

    Megan Farr

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kat O

  9. 4 out of 5

    Pierre Meyer

  10. 4 out of 5

    Adrian Faloon

  11. 4 out of 5

    Vicky Wong

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dr

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dale

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Max

  16. 5 out of 5

    Connaire Demain

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carl Barton

  18. 5 out of 5

    David Rayner

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mr. I.T. Donald

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jessica White

  21. 5 out of 5

    M J Leaver

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susan Lowry

  23. 5 out of 5

    Phil Rogers

  24. 4 out of 5

    Graeme Eyre

  25. 5 out of 5

    Fabio

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ifonly

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  28. 5 out of 5

    Adam

  29. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Ash

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