For all who love the idea of Parliamentary democracy, this has been the worst week of our lives.
Over the last decade it has been bad enough to see too many powers given away to Brussels in three major Treaties we did not want.
It has been compounded by giving away too many powers and duties to unelected quangos and external bodies.
It has been made worse by the rigorous timetabling of business, preventing Parliament from having its proper say on important issues, and taking away the time weapon from Opposition.
Now the last vestiges of dignity have been stripped away by an expenses system that was too generous and by the way some MPs have used it.
Where does it go from here?
The need for urgent reform has become clear to the Leaders of the three main parties. The Prime Minister, who should have the votes to drive through reform, has tried and failed to initiate urgent reform that will work. The Leader of the Opposition has come up with a reform plan. He is now imposing those parts of it which he can introduce unilaterally on his own party in the hope that other parties will do something similar.
The Cameron plan has several aspects. They are all designed to cut the costs of MPs, and to bring their claims more into line with public expectations.
In future no Conservative MP will be able to claim the big range of items to furnish and maintain a second home which have been common and legal but not wise under the old scheme. If an MP wants and can afford a swimming pool, sauna or massage chair they should pay for it out of their taxed income.
All claims made by Conservatives will be published on line as they make them, allowing press and public to see what is being claimed.
The Conservatives will abolish the £10,000 a year communications allowance introduced by the present government, saving more than 5% of total expenses.
The Conservatives will reduce the number of MPs by 10%.
These measures would produce a substantial saving for taxpayers and would remove the most unacceptable features of the current regime. Overall they should cut costs by around a fifth.
The problem is how we can do enough as a whole House of Commons. Presumably the governemnt still wants to hear from Chris Kelly, commissioned to review the whole system and come up with proposals. That will mean delay until near the year end. I guess the Labour party will come to the view that the range of items that can be claimed under the second homes scheme has to be cut. Meanwhile the public is far ahead, with many wanting the public provision of accommodation for MPs to replace the pay it and charge it system that currently operates.
This Parliament is drifting dangerously, and looks incapable of making the important decisons that need to be made. A General Election would be good, but is very unlikely. A new Speaker is urgently sought by many, but that too looks unlikely unless enough Labour MPs decide they need to do that.
This week-end the Prime Minister, as the Leader of the large majority party, needs to think again and consult widely. We need Labour votes for reform. If he does not agree with the Cameron plan, he needs to offer us one which we and most of his MPs agree with or can recognise as an improvement.