Listening to Gordon Brown going three rounds with the incomparable Evan Davis this morning was like settling down to one last Yuletide showing of ‘Escape to Victory’. You know exactly how it will end, how improbably white the t-shirts will be, but there is something reassuring in listening once again to the familiar phrases, the implausible plot lines……..then it finishes and you realise that you have wasted precious hours of your life and are no better off. The debris of the Christmas party is still there, waiting to be cleared up.
So it was this morning.
‘What I’ve seen offends my Presbyterian conscience’ sayeth the Son of the Manse. The Iron Chancellor for 10 years. The Prime Minister for 2 years. An MP for 26 years – has he only just seen it? Did he submit his own expenses for 26 years and not realise what was going on? Can he really be that socially inept that he has never had a conversation with another MP and realised that they were all on the gravy train? As Chancellor, did he never query the vast amount of tax payers funds that were accounted for by MPs expenses? ……and he never said a word until the Telegraph rolled its presses? No wonder the economy has crashed – we’ve had a Chancellor for 10 years who couldn’t see the money dripping out right under his own nose.
He says he wants to see ‘more citizen involvement’ and he will set up a ‘National Council for Democratic Review’ – and bring in large numbers of people from ‘outside the political process’ to run it. If they are people ‘outside the political process’ then they are outside the democratic process – unelected in common parlance, albeit presumably they will be ‘citizens’ in their own right, but don’t bank on recognising them as such, the definition of citizen is pretty elastic these days. How can anybody, with a straight face, tell us that we can improve democracy by undemocratic means?
He says he has ‘a duty before we go to the country’ to clean up the process. He says he wants ‘constitutional reform’ – would that be the same ‘constitutional reform’ he said only six months ago that he didn’t have time for – make time, you’re running the country remember? He says he has ‘a duty’ – he has had that duty for 26 bally years, I’m not a Presbyterian, but does a Presbyterian conscience only kick in when bludgeoned by bystanders – isn’t it supposed to be sniffing around for any opportunity to do its moral work?
He says ‘if someone is on trial for fraud’ then they are ‘likely’ to have been ’suspended from the party’ and not be a candidate……likely? How likely exactly? ‘Likely’ implies that they could possibly still be standing as a candidate – in which case it is even more ‘likely’ that the voters will have lost patience and the candidates are even more ‘likely’ to be suspended, not from the party, but from the nearest lamp post.
Asked about Margaret Moran and whether she has the authority to represent her constituents, he says ‘ she is going through a due process by the authorities in the Labour party’ – what Gordon? Your Presbyterian conscience is salved by the idea of fraudsters judging other fraudsters? Are we not taking the Magna Carta’s ‘judged by your peers’ a little far here? He says he has wanted to reform the system for years, but couldn’t, ‘because it was a matter traditionally left to Parliament – not the government’……..isn’t that what an Early Day motion is for Gordon? In 26 years you never thought to bring one yourself, to suggest to the Government that they debated reform of MPs expenses? What about last July, when Jacqui Smith, Margaret Beckett et al, voted down suggestions for reform? Or January, when Harriet Harman proposed excluding MPs expenses from the Freedom of Information Act? You were the Prime Minister for God’s sake, you have absolute privilege in the House of Commons, why didn’t you speak up? What were we paying you for as an MP? What were we paying you for as Prime Minister? Where was your compass pointing all that time?
On Damian McBride he say ‘when someone makes mistakes, they are sacked, they go, that is the end of the matter’ he admits that senior Cabinet Ministers may have come to him and suggested that McBride was not a person to be at the heart of the Government, but he says, ‘there is controversy surrounding all press advisers, Alistair Campbell, Peter Mandelson, some people like them and some people don’t like them’ – too much tittle-tattle so so his moral compass fails to register!
He says ‘with the record he’s had in the past’ that he is ‘in the best position to clean up this political system himself”. His past record includes 26 years of failing to notice the financial shenanigans that his 645 immediate colleagues were engaged in until a newspaper was about to publish them, 2 years of failing to listen to the ‘tittle-tattle’ of senior Cabinet advisers on the suitability of his key strategic advisor until a blogger revealed his misdeeds, 10 years of failing to regulate the financial system he was in overall control of until it crashed to the ground, and 58 years of misreading his ‘moral compass’.
I don’t understand a moral compass that has to be threatened with exposure, or penury, or legal action before it swings into action. If Gordon does, I don’t want him running the country.
- Deconstructing the erratic compass « Curly’s Corner Shop, the blog!
- June 2, 2009 at 2:07 pm