I've been thinking a lot about this sentiment over the last few days ( and I do mean the sentiment - not the Ken Livingstone book).
The saga of 'hackgate' sees the third and fourth of our great institutions fall under the microscope and to be found wanting. 'The world will never be the same again' seems to be the general sentiment. But is this true?
The banks, we were told, were in for wholesale and radical change with an end to the 'casino culture' that had pervaded them before. So the timing of the news, in this week of all weeks, that financial institutions in the City of London paid out £14 billion in bonuses last year is rather ironic. As is the news that many of them now lie exposed to horrendous risk should Greece et al default on their loans. Another bail out beckons. Plus ca change.
After the expenses scandal, we were told politics would never be the same again. Here the signs were more encouraging. A record number of MPs decided not to stand for re election, promising a change of guard at Westminster. And in the election, the people spoke too, refusing to give one party a clear majority, the wisdom of the masses asking us, the Lib Dems, to act as a brake on the worst excesses of ( as it emerged) a Conservative government.
But, despite out best efforts, has anything in politics fundamentally changed? The voting system for Westminster will not alter, and indeed a common question I get asked by friends outside the party is 'what were you thinking of, worrying about AV when the country was in economic meltdown'. I may not agree with them - but so many people say it that it's clearly a popular sentiment. Now we see the struggle with Lords Reform as well and I wonder - come 2015, will anything in politics really feel so fundamentally different.
Now we come to the press and the police. On the press, the outrage at the practices employed by the News of the World (outrage not particularly echoed in many of the tabloids) is being slowly replaced with mutterings about the dangers of over regulation of the press ( a real danger of course, but one that mustn't be allowed to mask the wild west lawlessness that has been going on for too long) and even a sentiment that actually, all this stuff in the press is really the fault of the public. Similarly, while we have seen two 'honourable' resignations at The Met, neither Stephenson nor Yates is acknowledging they did anything wrong and therefore I wonder if there is any real appetite for change.
I hope I'm wrong. Maybe the judicial inquiries will reveal all and we shall have a root and branch restructure of the press, press regulation, and even the police. But in truth, I'm not holding my breath.