On the basic premise which would be agreed by most, accountability should be in proportion to responsibility and responsibility in proportion to power. If everyone were accountable to their conscience, it would be fine and the world would be a better place but reality encroaches and makes it so that we have to design the rules based on there being people who do not have a conscience to restrain their behaviour.
Who is affected the most by Maria Miller's misuse of her expenses? You could argue that everyone is because if she can get away with it then it will spread and it's corruption by any standard in mature democracies. Considering how widespread we actually know the practice was(and likely still is), why does the public not perceive more political activity in Westminster as being likely steered by corruption? Policies should be receiving considerably less public support and getting more scrutiny from journalists, but that doesn't happen. So, ministers like Maria Miller often get caught out on the mundane- is expenses misuse worse than exchanging favours with lobbyists to advance certain legislation? I'd say that making policy on the basis of favours, gifts and post-ministerial job opportunities is far worse and affects more people more significantly. Yet Maria Miller is responsible for fabricating history over the 'never reviewed' Disability Living Allowance, the hiring of a patsy to provide a fig-leaf cover for closing what was left of Remploy, briefing select newspapers with Ad Hoc Analysis data spun to create outrage over figures for Asthama and Obesity being main disabling conditions by claimants. She insisted that DLA reform was necessary because the benefit over-lapped with local support across the country(which was also being cut) whilst at the same time asking the National Autistic Society for individual contact details because the new assessment needed configuring and guess what? The government weren't able to simply use the information they had from their own databases of local service users because no such statutory services exist for Autism.
The consequences of her actions when she was Minister For Disabled People are still not known fully and the government is still implacably imposed to a cumulative impact assessment. We know people are committing suicide, others are starving to death or having their existing conditions and circumstances deteriorate with lethal consequences.
How many people died because Miller didn't want to pay mortgage interest? None. How many have died because she wanted undue promotion in government and whatever rewards will await her after 2015? We're still counting, but if she's going to be snagged on this then it is a classic case of Al Capone- the gangster who could not be stuck with murder and extortion and was instead caught out on his tax evasion. Miller will not be held to account for her greed, her cruelty or her pride, but her incompetence. Considering she was actually one of the most competent out of all the Coalition ministers, that should worry the rest.
Incompetence will finish this government.