Leaked expenses receipts published by the right-wing Daily Telegraph over the past week have revealed wide-spread fiddling by members of parliament totaling millions of pounds of taxpayers' money. The satirical magazine Private Eye's front page features a photo of a packed House of Commons and lampoons the greedy politicians it pictures with the headline "Swine Fever Hits Britain".
The pig flu epidemic is the bigger story globally.
Comedian Stephen Fry said to a BBC Newsnight television reporter: "It's a journalistic made up frenzy."
He added: "It's not that important, it really isn't."
"Anybody can talk about snouts in troughs and go on about it. For journalists to do so, it is beyond belief. I know more journalists than politicians and I've never met a more venal, disgusting crowd of people when it comes to expenses and allowances. Let's not confuse what politicians get really wrong - things like wars, things where people die - with the rather tedious, bourjeois obsession about whether or not they have charged for their wisteria."
Fry told Michael Crick: "This has been going on for years and suddenly because journalists have discovered (the story) it's the big issue."
Fry admitted that he too had "cheated things and fiddled things" and that the expenses revelations should not cause people to lose faith with politics and stop voting. See the full interview here: