A perfect picture of British politicians still not "getting it" came with Saturday's news that photographer Simon Roberts has been commissioned by the Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art to document campaign activity in the run-up to polling day. Yes, taxpayers will be paying for Mr Roberts to travel around the country in a motor home during the campaign to shoot a few pictures.
The Advisory Committee's announcement gave no indication of how much this will cost and, in the greater scheme of things, it probably isn't a lot. But against the background of the MP's expenses scandal and the ever-ballooning government debt load, surely this august committee whose mission is to look after Parliament's art collection could have sent out a stronger signal that correcting both problems (their expenses and the national debt) can only be met by a relentless battening down of the spending hatches.
Given the wall-to-wall media exposure the campaign will receive, a few more photos for Parliament's art collection really are a luxury the country can do without. Egregiously, Mr Roberts himself is asking the public to send in yet more photographs of local campaigns for an online gallery, with some images selected for display at the official Commons exhibition after the election. Just what taxpayers want to see their money spent on - pictures of politicians.
Mr Roberts says "I'm particularly interested in the relationship between politicians and the public." Let's hope he snaps arrogant politicians on the receiving end of some airborne tomatoes and rotten eggs.
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