Right now Boris Johnson and his party, though, are surrounded by the whiff of rot.
The irony is that, had they not had the supreme arrogance to try and tear up a long-standing standards consensus before performing a U-turn in the Owen Paterson case, it may have all gone away without lasting public reproach.
Instead, contemptuous and politically witless logic has got them into a position where Sir Keir Starmer was yesterday able to brand the Prime Minister a “coward, not a leader”. So there’s another association that’s not so easy to shake off.
At a time when there is so much for MPs to be working on as the country recovers from a torrid two years, having to worm out of sleaze accusations is such a waste of energy – but more, it helps to feed the corrosive perception that politics is for bad and not good.
In reality, a majority of MPs are dedicated public servants working hard for their constituencies.
Even some who do work in other roles – Labour’s Dr Rosena Allin-Khan in the NHS, for example, or Royal Navy reservist Conservative Penny Mordaunt – take positions which contribute towards society.
The lucrative dealings of some, however, highlighted by the recent furore over paid lobbying and favours, contribute only to the electorate’s cynicism about Westminster more generally – leaving the impression that being a Parliamentarian is complementary to self-interest and, in turn, drives the lazy, dangerous narrative that politicians are ‘all the same’.