Posts Tagged ‘1848 French Revolution’

Maria Miller, Government Corruption and the French Revolution of 1848

April 13, 2014

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Maria Miller: Tory MP forced to resign for expenses fiddling, paralleling the 1847 prosecution of French Minister Teste for corruption.

One of the causes of the French Revolution of 1848 was a couple of scandals involving government ministers. The duc de Praslin was arrested and brought to trial for battering his wife to death because he was in love with an English governess. He committed suicide before being sentenced. A former Minister of Public Works, Teste, was tried in 1847 for using his position to gain industrial concessions. The effect of the two scandals was to reinforce opposition to the Prime Minister, Guizot, and ‘together these cases were taken as a revelation of the manner of life of the governing classes’. (Peter Jones, The 1848 Revolutions (Harlow: Longman 1981) 30).

We’ve had a series of scandals concerning child abuse committed by senior members of the Tory party and Cyril Smith, the Liberal MP. Maria Miller has just been forced to resign despite opposition and support from David Cameron because of the way she fiddled her expenses. She then showed her absolute contempt for parliamentary standards by issuing a derisory thirty-second apology, while one of her aides threatened the Daily Telegraph when they broke this story. And there is the continuing scandal of the Tory and Tory Democrats MPs pushing through the privatisation of the NHS in order to gain government contracts for their own healthcare companies.

For many people now, like the French public in 1848, these scandals – and particularly the expenses fiddling and government corruption – show the corrupt morals of the governing classes. Cameron and Clegg had better act before the mob star5ts gathering outside Whitehall, singing the ‘Marseillaise’.