First the banks, now our MPs (and even a couple of noble Lords). If the legal profession was not already convinced of the benefits of strict regulation, this week's news surely removes all doubt.

The weaknesses of the House of Commons system are fairly obvious: it was set up by exactly the same people as it was intended to benefit; it was loosely drawn; it was kept too private for too long; and it was inadequately policed. (I do wonder how the Commons authorities came to approve some of the more outlandish claims that have surfaced - one question I haven't seen asked yet.)

Sadly it seems we live in a world where people no longer look to the spirit of the rules, or read them against any assumed codes of ethical behaviour: if the rules can be read that way, it must be OK. End of story. That may be justifiable from a legal point of view, but especially where public representatives and public money are involved, the other controls have to come into play as well. Thank goodness for freedom of information - too bad if those same MPs didn't realise what they were voting for.

Where this leads us of course is the sharp contrast with the legal profession, among others. Lawyers who dread the visits of the Law Society of Scotland inspectors, or chafe against the latest set of practice rules, should rather hold them up to the public as showing that here is a profession that is well run, whose members can be trusted, and if others are to be allowed to do the same job in the future, they should be challenged to show they can match these standards.

And all, in Scotland at least, without the need for an expensive "umbrella regulator" such as the Legal Services Board.

Oh, and is it possible to review the various codes that operate in different walks of life, and in the light of recent experience, identify those that should be ringing warning bells? Preferably before it costs us all another packet?