Publication Type: Journal article / chapter
Countries: UK
Authors: Emma Crewe
Funders: ERC

Healthy democracies require ethical leadership and respect for rules, but since the 2000s we have witnessed serious attacks on standards in the UK Parliament. Two narratives about scandals will reveal cultural and social aspects that are often ignored by the public, journalists and parliamentary scholars. A slow development of conditions led to a scandal over misuse of expenses in 2009, while rule-breaking in Parliament during Prime Minister Johnson’s term in office emerged more suddenly, in part out of the rupture of Brexit. Making sense of these cases about standards, and the connections between them, requires a theoretical approach that goes beyond looking at the bad behaviour of individuals or rotten cultures within a malfunctioning system. In the gap between the two, you find relationships. I make an argument for a relational, cultural and historical approach within which people act in complex configurations of interdependence as both individuals and socialised actors.