The disgrace of Derek Conway has indeed been a sorry affair. Its most interesting aspect for me has been the way in which every report has mentioned that he embezzled taxpayers money (e.g. Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Daily Mail).
This is presumably harped on because it is supposed to make his offence more lurid. By this logic it is not the fact that Conway is an MP and a fraud which is so opprobrious as that he is an MP and a plunderer of the public purse.
I agree that it is deplorable that taxpayer's money should be misappropriated. What makes me even more angry than the case of Mr Conway is that this has become the business of half the government. (I recently discovered the excellent "Burning Our Money" blog which carries egregious examples of how taxpayers' money is abused almost daily, e.g. here.)
Why should I as a taxpayer really be any more angry that part of the money which is taken from me by the state goes to subsidise an undergraduate's nights out rather than, say, the Health and Safety Executive's recent ladder amnesty, or the Learning and Skills Council's report on the possibility of establishing a trade body for equality and diversity professionals?
By all means let us castigate Derek Conway for his grasping, underhanded and dishonest behaviour. But how absurd that most of us have also been bemoaning his embezzlement of public money while tacitly conniving in our enormous government doing exactly the same thing on an infinitely grander scale every day.
As a postscript, I note that the Mail's coverage contains a clue as to why Conway's affairs might have been brought to the public's attention to begin with:
He has been in the Commons since 1983 and in recent months has been talked of as a future Speaker.Not any more.