Once again, the public has to read between the lines on what exactly was unacceptable. He also said that Blears had apologised. Maybe to the PM but not that I've heard, unless her cheque counts as silent contrition.
Later on, it was Hazel's turn.
(The Prime Minister) has every confidence in me and thinks I'm doing a great job.
Once again Miss Blears demonstrates why the public are disenfranchised with politics.
The bigger picture of the MPs' expenses 'scandal' has nevertheless captured the public interest. Because we can all relate to it. This affects all parties, not just Labour. It affects politicians standing with all of us.
This is about accountability and money. New Labour's champagne capitalism and Joe Public. City bonus 'culture' and civil / criminal laws on income and tax.
Stephen Fry has described the story as a “made up journalistic frenzy”and suggestion of its importance as “nonsense”.
I have a lot of time for Stephen Fry, but to dismiss the issue by accusing journalists of hypocrisy, admitting his own guilt in fiddling expenses, and imploring us all to admit the same does nothing to justify this dismissal at all. Even in 2009 two wrongs still don't make a right, and collective guilt is not an excuse for continued immorality.
Fry's comments came in the same week that he hosted a launch event for Vote Match – a web application designed to encourage voting at the forthcoming European elections. Fry's level of involvement in this project is questionable – he managed to bungle his initial promotion of the site on Twitter by giving the wrong url which linked to a gambling site. The correct address is votematch.co.uk – which contains a number of questions and checks your answers against the manifestos of the main parties. It is sparse, unengaging, utterly boring and has as much chance of stimulating votes as Hazel Blears has of being promoted to Chancellor. UPDATE 3 June 2009 - Blears has resigned from the Cabinet.
Fry has been roundly criticised since his Newsnight interview, not least by Piers Morgan who called it “pathetically pompous grandstanding” showing a “staggering lack of understanding”. But then he would. And in fairness Fry has expressed some regret about the interview.
The story matters because politicians are entrusted to govern our lives, to make the difficult choices and make sure our taxes are spent wisely, not on themselves. Capitalism's flaws have been exposed and we are now witnessing the slow crumbling of the establishment. If we're lucky it could be the start of a bloodless revolution.
I think that's quite important Stephen.