Cash for access: where did our politicians go so wrong?

Ruth Porter writes for the Daily Telegraph

What's saddest about the latest "cash for access" scandal is that it highlights yet again just how low the level of public expectations now is. It is probably, and depressingly, true that it won’t hurt the Conservatives particularly, because the public expect it of politicians of all stripes.

It’s easy to point to specific instances: the expenses scandal, or Hewitt and Hoon’s gaffe with a lobbying company, but it’s not just the little things that count. Culture is more than the sum of its parts, and the general thrust of how politics is conducted is the problem.

Most of the public think the government is cutting the national debt: not adding to it or even maintaining it at current levels, but reducing it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yet, why do they think this? Simply – they have been misled. George Osborne’s presentation of the "granny tax" as a