Via @LouiseBolotin: The transcript of comments made by Stephen Fry in an interview on the BBC News site:
“Although, of course, anybody can talk about snouts in troughs, and go on about it, for journalists to do so is almost beyond belief, beyond belief.
I know lots of journalists; I know more journalists than I know politicians.
And I’ve never met a more venal and disgusting crowd of people when it comes to expenses and allowances.
[Interviewer: “Not all of us surely?”]
Not all, but then not all human beings are either. I’ve cheated expenses. I’ve fiddled things. You have. ‘Course you have.
Let’s not confuse what politicians get really wrong. Things like wars, things where people die, with the rather tedious bourgeois obsession with whether or not they’ve charged for their wisteria.
It’s not that important. It really isn’t. It isn’t what we’re fighting for. It isn’t what voting is about.
And the idea that ‘oh we’ve all lost faith in politics, because’… it’s nonsense. It’s a journalistic made-up frenzy.”
Louise Bolotin, a freelance journalist, has written a response on her blog – she says Fry has got it badly wrong. Here’s an extract:
“I have news for Stephen. The expenses culture for journalists ended a long time ago – at least 10 years ago – when the accountants moved in and put an end to it. The scandal at the Houses of Parliament, however, has been going on a long time – only MPs can vote on their expense allowances and they just keep voting to continue.”