The Monday column: British politics has been reduced to farce

It used to be said that a week was a long time in politics.

Not this past seven days, they have gone in a blur.

Every day, fresh revelations about our priapic politicians – ranging from the sordid to the pathetic to the downright dangerous – have filled column inches and clogged the airwaves. In the process, British politics has been reduced to farce.

It started with a Tory MP sending his secretary to purchase dildos. It ends with rape allegations and a trickle of MPs being suspended or referring themselves to their party’s hastily beefed-up disciplinary committees.

Forty Tory MPs are said to be on a list of miscreants, with the whips office being reduced to a chaperone service, ‘man-marking’ sozzled sex pests.

A defence secretary, forced to resign after a string of moments of madness.

A government whip, Chris Pincher, is also gone after allegations he made a pass at a young man.

Theresa May’s closest Cabinet ally, the first Secretary, Damian Green, left fighting for his political life after allegations ‘extreme’ pornography was found on his computer (an allegation, to be fair, he flatly denies).

The Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, has had to plead with the Iranians to disregard his words after a criminally loose-lipped Commons performance blithely cut across the case of a British citizen locked up in Iranian custody while Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary, the most junior occupant at the Cabinet table, has been exposed as dissembling about meeting foreign leaders without her bosses’ knowledge.

Not to be outdone, Labour has its own list of six MPs who are thought to erred from the path virtue. Two MPs, Jared O’Mara and Kelvin Hopkins, are suspended. Others will follow.

As this farrago of drunken lust and stupidity continues to unfurl in all its ignominy, Brexit has dropped out of the headlines.

Some will be thankful for the relief; but we should not be so easily distracted. Critical issues about our country’s future are being side-lined.

Interest rates are creeping up, even though the economy remains in a precarious state.

While no-one is watching, the Government floats the suggestion it could cough up £53 billion in an EU divorce settlement.

Centrist politics remains demoralised and leaderless as ideologues from the left and right dominate.

The NHS is spluttering to a standstill, starved of investment.

Housing remains in short supply and unaffordable for millions.

Living standards and wage growth remains flat, despite a record number of people in work.

Yet our parliamentary system has found no time to discuss any of these burning injustices.

British politics has been brought into disrepute this week. Not just because of the salacious stupidity of our elected representatives and what they have done.

Rather it’s because of what they are not doing.

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17 Responses to “The Monday column: British politics has been reduced to farce”

  1. And while all the fun is going on extracts from Gordon Brown’s book are being published. What new news did we find out? Well not a lot we didn’t already know. While Gordon tries to revise history we do have confirmation that Tony Blair was quite OK with telling lies to people faces.

  2. swat says:

    We need Open Primaries in selecting MPs and get away from jobs for life in safe seats. Which means every MP is up for selection at every GE.
    They need reminding that they are there to serve, not to line their own pockets; an honest MP is one comes out poor than when they went in.
    And we need to recall those MPs that transgress.
    And if they cross the flooer an immediate by election.

  3. Anon says:

    What is Labour Uncut worrying about – wasn’t it the idea; to belittle and degrade our Westminster Parliament and hand its powers over to the European Union.

    Our democracy has been a farce for many years, and Labour Uncut’s heroes of New Labour played a huge part in the dismantling of our democratic institutions.

    The whole idea of Common Purpose and the Third Sector was to remove power from the democratic will of the people and place it in the hands of so-described ‘representative’ NGOs: it didn’t matter who we voted for, the same ‘placepeople’ would occupy the positions of power.

    The EU referendum was the biggest, and most credible, democratic mandate that has been achieved in the UK for many years.

    The walls are crumbling, so let us hope that Labour Uncut will be on the only side that matters – the people’s.

  4. Alf says:

    We’ve never need a proper socialist Labour government more. Let’s all get behind Jeremy and push through real change!

  5. Anne says:

    We now have the revelations from the Paradise Papers.

  6. steve says:

    Looks like John Wall has been disappeared.

    The New Labour Thought Police have been busy.

  7. John Wall says:

    @steve – I’m still around and wondering about the stupidity of someone who goes on holiday to somewhere with lots and lots of heritage but spends their time talking to politicians, that’s a sacking offence in my book!

  8. Anne says:

    While I don’t share commentators optimism regarding Brexit – as the saying goes we are were we are. I still believe it is now a damage limitation process. The best way forward is a general election because Keir Starmer and his team are much more realistic to the situation.
    A general election is looking much more likely because of the incompetent of the Tories. Mrs May does not have control of her cabinet, her party so how can we expect her to control the country.

  9. Tafia says:

    More revealations in the Times tomorrow from the ‘Paradise Papers’ – this time about Labour councils. Two examples:-

    Merseyside’s Labour-run Sefton council purchased the £32.5million New Strand shopping centre through a company based in and registered in Luxembourg, allowing them to avoid £1.6million in stamp duty. The council then took out insurance against the possibility of HMRC chasing up the cash.

    Warrington’s Labour council paid more than £200million for a business centre through an offshore company to benefit from a saving of £10.5million.

    (not forgetting the Labour Party rent Labour HQ for £1million per year from a tax-exempt offshore company and that some Housing Associations in Labour-run Wales are using off-shore companies as well)

  10. John Wall says:

    @Tafia – It used to be said that Conservative scandals tended to be sexual whereas Labour’s were financial…..

    Having been in (local) government there’s a widespread belief out there – and not without evidence – that a lot of taxpayers money is wasted, so why pay any more tax than you need to?

    Anybody who’s engaged in “Discount for cash?” because VAT is 20% is evading tax.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if some unions offered their members things like tax efficient inheritance planning…..

  11. Tafia says:

    @Anne, yet agian bleating utter garbage.

    Go and read the Fixed Term Parliament Act and then explain how a General Election can come about and explain the mathmatics behind it. Its not the old days (pre-2011) anymore.

    (PS – It’s not difficult to understand either)

  12. Anne says:

    I would of thought that Lewis Hamilton would have been in with a chance of sports personality of the year after his 4th championship win, but with his tax evasion antics I hope not. I think what the Paradise Papers do highlight is the massive inequalities that exist, and the greed that exists in those of the haves.

  13. John Wall says:

    @Anne – Lewis Hamilton has avoided, not evaded, some tax – and that’s entirely legal. Don’t blame him for using the rules.

  14. Tafia says:

    Anne, Tax Evasion is a serious crime and you have just said Lewis Hamilton is engaged in it. Even the Guardian goes to great lengths to say Hamilton enaged in tax avoidance which is perfectly legal (and if you contribute to a DC pension scheme you are engaged in it as well), which means you either have some evidence to back up your claim off evasion, or you have just liabled him in the public domain – which given that the advisors to professional people regulalrly google their clients names to see what is being written about them, is probably not your smartest move.

    PS – Most of whats in the Paradise Papers relates to tax avoidance (legal), not tax evasion (illegal). I used to have my own business with 12 employees and I can assure you HMRC will even help you with tax avoidance. And I can guarentee you that tmost – if not all people on here, possibly even you, have bought things from ebay that were shipped from abroad and haven’t told HMRC so that they can levy the VAT on the item’ Thats tax evasionb.

  15. Vern says:

    It really does appear that the UK is awash with some of the worst types of people in politics, entertainment and the church. Is it a cultural problem unique to the UK or is this elsewhere too I wonder?

    When I read about Labour 25 (which is a disturbing piece of information if true) I wondered if this was the reason that Tom Watson suddenly drew a halt to his own investigation into the Westminster sleaze ring. He discovered it wasn’t just the Tories but Labour has as many skeletons and bad apples too.

    How do we clean up politics so people begin to trust politicians again as I think voter apathy will prove problematic over the coming years and elections. …

  16. Anne says:

    O dear, sorry if I have accused poor Lewis of doing something illegal – as I understand the story he was to use aircraft for work pusposes but was in fact was using it for pleasure.

  17. John Wall says:

    @Vern – There are problems and like MP’s expenses it applies to all parties. However, I think that, proportionately, it’s fairly low level.

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