Huge hill to be climbed by MPs

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IF a week’s a long time in politics, how interminable must it be to spend 12 months behind bars?

Disgraced South Yorkshire MP Eric Illsley is about to find out after behind jailed for fiddling his expenses.

It is a heavy price to pay...but a just one. The people who voted for him were entitled to nothing but the highest standards from their MP.

He let them down and he let down the parliamentary office, its expenses system plundered for thousands of pounds over a three year period.

In his favour, it should be said that he admitted his guilt and thereby saved the taxpayer from having to fund a trial to expose his greed. And he, belatedly, stood down as an MP, which was also the right thing to do.

But the damage had already been done and the trust of the public towards their MPs is at an all time low.

There is a huge hill to be climbed now before Members of Parliament can once more hold their heads high atop the moral high ground.

Let’s have more transparency

THE balance of power in Sheffield is on a knife edge, so it’s no surprise to see the main rivals endlessly bickering. We are used to them trading blows in the council chamber, but now MPs are airing the same issues in the Commons.

Don Valley MP Caroline Flint accused the Lib Dems of trying to pull the wool over the eyes of city folk by delaying job cuts in Town Hall services. Then Clive Betts weighed in by predicting far more redundancies than the 270 jobs announced last week. Back in Sheffield, Lib Dem leader Paul Scriven hit back accusing Labour of scaremongering. Which is all standard knockabout stuff, unless you happen to work in the public sector and fear your job is under threat.

What workers want are honest answers about their future. Let’s have an end to the rhetoric and see more transparency.

A precious talent

IN this day of instant stardom - and an equally hasty return to the realm of oblivion - it is good to see that Sam Nixon has made a name for himself. He was the lad from South Yorkshire who wowed the nation on TV’s Pop Idol show.

He may not have won the contest (he came third) but he has since shown that he is a bundle of talent which will not be suppressed. He is now teamed up with comedy partner Mark Rhodes and a huge favourite with youngsters across the land, not least in his home town of Barnsley where he had a great welcome the other day.

Today’s instant fame television shows are responsible for more than their share of overnight successes. But Sam and Mark are proof that talent is a precious commodity, wherever it springs from in the first place!