Posts Tagged ‘sleaze’

The Monday column: British politics has been reduced to farce

06/11/2017, 10:00:14 PM

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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The honours system stinks. Here’s how we can fix it

05/08/2016, 05:59:41 PM

by Kevin Meagher

How many times down the years has British politics had one of those sporadic bouts of angst – some of it even real – about the system for awarding political honours?

Those moments when we just know the system is being abused and that so many of those awarded honours are thoroughly undeserving.

Inevitably, infuriatingly, the moment passes. Nothing is done, until the next time a dodgy peerage or questionable ‘k’ surfaces.

David Cameron’s resignation honours, published last night in full, should now be a line in the sand.

They are probably the most egregious shopping list of acolytes, time-servers, hangers-on and financial backers that an outgoing PM has ever sought fit to reward.

Can you imagine the furore if Tony Blair had given Alistair Campbell a knighthood? Cameron has given one to his press secretary, Craig Oliver.

There are awards, too, for a ‘conference planner,’ a Conservative Central Office bureaucrat, a Tory activist, chauffeurs, spin doctors and policy wonks. Meanwhile, there are six peerages for former special advisers and for Andrew Fraser, the treasurer of the Conservative Party.

(more…)

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