We now have a new entrant: the Trust Party, set up by the multi-millionaire former Conservative donor Stuart Wheeler. As parties go, this will have a small presence on the scene. Mr Wheeler is standing against Greg Barker, one of the Boy-King's chums in Bexhill. There will be two other candidates. Even the Anti-Federalist League, the precursor of UKIP managed more than that in 1992.
Mr Barker is, Heaven help us, the Shadow Climate Change Minister but that is not what is bothering Mr Wheeler, who seems not to be very interested in political issues, not even in the EU in any sustained fashion. The issue is expenses.
Mr Barker, the Shadow Climate Change Minister, was accused of pocketing £320,000 from buying and selling a flat he bought with the help of expenses.The most cursory knowledge of British history would tell one that the question of fiscal dishonesty in politicians is hardly a new thing. Are these people worse than their predecessors or their colleagues in other countries? I hardly think so.
He owned a home in Pimlico, near the Commons, for 27 months before selling it and moving back to his old address.
There are two reasons why this has become such an issue. One is that there is a general disenchantment with politicians, their constant attempts (often successful) to grab more power from people paralleled by their complete inability to manage anything they take over. There is a vague understanding that with the EU and the various quangos real power has been given away at about the same rate that the MPs have demanded money and greater perks. The question of expenses is merely the symptom not the cause.
This was something Libertas failed to understand last year. They were convinced that people were voting UKIP or, perhaps, BNP solely because of the expenses scandal. So they spent a good deal of time trying to prove that UKIP MEPs were no better than the others, ignoring all suggestions that people might decide to vote for UKIP for some other reason. We know what came of it all.
The other reason is a little more complicated. Mr Wheeler and many others keep telling us that they want to restore faith in politics and politicians. Those are two different issues and one often precludes the other.
Certainly, it is time the people of this country grasped that politics is not a spectator sport. If you don't get involved it will come and grab you. This notion that somehow politics has nothing to do with us is a relatively recent one in Britain and has grown in tandem with faith in politicians. Leave it all to them and they will sort it out. Unfortunately, instead of sorting it out the politicians have brought this country to a point of destruction and the expenses scandal was, in a way, a wake-up call for many people not to trust those b******s any longer. In my opinion, that is an entirely healthy attitude. The last thing we want is a return to the somnolent attitude of the people trusting politicians.
So, while I am highly amused by Mr Wheeler's campaign to discomfort his erstwhile party, I shall not be supporting his rather strangely named Trust Party. Not because it bothers me that he is wasting money on a pointless campaign (Jimmy Goldsmith, whom he undoubtedly wants to emulate made no secret of his political views) - after all, it is his money. I shall not support it because I think the whole idea is silly and pointless. If we really do want to have grown-up politics in this country then we must go on distrusting the people who tell us they know best, that is the politicians.