Thursday, 31 December 2009

Cleaning Up Politics

Cleaning up politics is alleged to be one of Gordon Brown's pledges of the new year - it was a pity he missed the opportunity to fast track legislation in the Queen's Speech to augment this but his latest pledges are seen as the last throw of the dice for his party in the run up to the election.

How bad did politics get?

Well let's not go over old ground but the revelations this year made us all extremely angry at a time when British families were suffering most as a consequence of the credit crunch and recession. It is now alleged that some 6 politicians are under police investigation for suspected fraud, mainly to do with claims on second home allowances for phantom mortgages. To be honest, there should be many more - Tony McNulty and Hazel Blears spring to mind but we get the age-old claim that they did everything within the spirits of the rules at the time, a convenient excuse to hide a flagrant disregard for common decency.

But there is much more at risk than just expense claims. What the whole drama illustrated was the priority of the individuals in politics to look after themselves ahead of acting with true conscience. It makes you wonder what people really thought about major issues like Iraq and Afghanistan but kept quiet as it would upset the gravy train. Surely more individuals other than Clare Short and Robin Cook questioned Tony Blair's decisions, particularly on Iraq? How many were reminded of their 'obligations' to support the party rather than vote with decency in mind?

There are more decisions which could be scrutinised but for many people, trust flew out of the window. How can you back people like Julie McBride when she fails to see that what she did was immoral and should be illegal? We clamp down on benefit fraudsters and tax evaders but these abusers of the taxpayer have played a game with us all forgetting all sense of moral values. Yet it seems that politicians will get away with it; they will sit at the next election and they will likely get voted back in. For those 'Zombie MPs' who have already said they will step down, they hang on for the last milking of the system, the pay off for losing the election - the parliamentary equivalent of the Premier League relegation pay off.

Why do we let disgraced MPs have that opportunity to finally screw us when the very reason they are going is because we have found out that's what they did?
It is at this point that leadership is called into scrutiny. Why have Brown, Cameron and Clegg not acted and simply sacked those individuals who have transgressed and admitted it? Why are they allowed one final shafting of the public when they have been royally doing so for some time?

My point is that if the party leaders cannot see the problem properly, how can we trust anything they do? This is a pretty fundamental issue about trust and they seem to care little about their own sinners, allowing them a final hurrah rather than acting to clean the whole system up and getting rid of the rotten eggs now. Then again, trust is something politicians abuse time and again - they are happy to tell us whopping great lies and justify them later when they manipulate the facts of the time.

It is little wonder that we have them all debating the Green Book, whether they should pay back what was claimed and whether they are bunch of thieving swines. It is in their blood - by definition if you want to be a politician then you are probably not morally strong enough to be one.

It will take far more than talking a pledge to clean up the system - it will take a fundamental overhaul of the political system at all levels of Government. I will bet my tax increases over the next 10 years that it will never happen.

No comments: