Suspicious Minds and Convicting Politicians

From Guido’s point of view the year has got off to a very good start. One Minister has fallen on his slush fund, a senior opposition MP has been exposed for pigging out in the public trough and his little piglets never again will suck on the public teat.

When Guido first started this blog he took the view that politicians were held in too high esteem, that they considered themselves to be the ruling class rather than public servants and that the media far from being feral was too tame in its treatment of politicians. That was part of the motivation for starting the blog. From time-to-time the Peter Riddells, Sir Michael Whites and Polly Toynbees of the world complain that it is impossible to report on politics well if you start from the position that they are all scoundrels and have no sympathy for politicians or the practise of politics. Sometimes they specifically addressed that criticism directly to Guido.

Guido never said all politicians are greasy-pole climbing, self interested scoundrels. He does however have a suspicious mind and this is basically his default view until proven otherwise. It takes a certain kind of egoism to want to be a politician. The louder they claim it is because they “want to make a difference”, the tighter you should grip your wallet.

The more you meet politicians, the more you realise that they are not as others. For the ambitious climbing the greasy-pole is all, life for them is a non-stop reality TV show, with power and all its trappings as the prize. Political self-interest is their supreme motivation. Policy is a tool of partisan self advancement, slogans are stepping stones to power and the public is to be manipulated for votes in a democracy of spin. These politicians are really dangerous.

For those who realise that becoming an MP is probably the upper limit to their achievements there are broadly two types; the good constituency MP and the porcine politicians.

The “good constituency MP” is the stuff of legend, furthering his voter’s interests, dealing with their problems with a staff well versed in welfare issues, righting wrongs and often acting as the counsel of last resort to people suffering at the hands of the massive bureaucratic state that politicians created in the twentieth century. They may take on non-partisan causes which are in the public interest – John Hemming’s work on child protection springs to mind, protecting children from social workers and legal indifference.

In contrast the “porcine politician” is contemptible. So long as they keep their local newspaper happy and don’t get caught shagging the intern they are a lifelong burden on the taxpayer and little use to anyone but the party whips. Generally they want a quiet life, the occasional junket to the West Indies to “study” efforts to combat global warming will suffice. If they are not the type to know their interns carnally they may employ the wife to supplement the housekeeping. Exploiting the car mileage allowance yet claiming for two first class return train tickets every week, claiming a second mortgage allowance despite their constituency being on the London Underground and charging the full daily subsistence food allowance (no receipt required) are all par for the course. If they are particularly greedy, helping out lobbyists can be rewarding.

Sometimes a porcine politician does good things, sometimes a usually decent constituency MP gets caught with his hand in the till or on top of a research assistant. These are of course generalisations.

It seems to Guido that the public has an innate wisdom, it knows this and it knows it is being spun, but is too weary of politicians to care. Too busy getting on with their lives to be bothered about politics. Unfortunately the politico-media nexus is too lazy or too embedded in the Westminster Vilage to try to change things for them. Imagine you are Sir Michael White, thirty years in the Lobby, having spent most of your writing career rubbishing good journalist’s stories on behalf of unattributable sources. Those sources are your claim on the front-page. You are not going to jeopardise them and tear up your meal-ticket to Shepherds. Therein lies the problem. Until the media changes from reporting what they are spun to always questioning the behaviour and motivations of politicians, we will be cursed with the political class we have. The current orgy of politician bashing is however a good start.

Newsnight seems to be on top of the zeitgeist, night after night Crick and Grossman have been unveiling political skullduggery, Hencke at The Guardian, Sam Coates on The Times and Chris Hope on the Telegraph and a few others seem keen to tell it like it is, so hopefully like sharks they will get a taste for political blood. Politicians will then out of self interest temper their ways.

It will require us first seeing a few politicians jailed pour encourager les autres. The people want it. Give the people what they want and it might even do wonders for newspaper circulation.



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Charles Clarke says Cameron is the most successful PM for over a century…

“Under Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives gained 99 seats. They lost 211 under John Major, gained one under William Hague, quickly and wisely got rid of Ian Duncan-Smith, gained 32 under Michael Howard and have so far gained 133 under David Cameron who, to the great surprise of many (including senior Conservatives), has turned out to be the most electorally successful Tory leader since 1900.”

Top Posts This Week

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.

Facebook

ENVIRONMENT MAYOR TOTTY WATCH: BRAZIL EDITION ENVIRONMENT MAYOR TOTTY WATCH: BRAZIL EDITION
HAIN GRAVY TRAIN HYPOCRISY HAIN GRAVY TRAIN HYPOCRISY
MONBIOT SKINS & COOKS SQUIRREL ON NEWSNIGHT MONBIOT SKINS & COOKS SQUIRREL ON NEWSNIGHT
DAVE’S CARBON BAGGAGE DAVE’S CARBON BAGGAGE
Daylight Robbery: Met Chain Themselves to £216 Billion 10 Year IT Contract Daylight Robbery: Met Chain Themselves to £216 Billion 10 Year IT Contract
Trumps Hair: Toupee or Not Toupee? Trumps Hair: Toupee or Not Toupee?

BURNHAM BLOWS DOG WHISTLE LINE BURNHAM BLOWS DOG WHISTLE LINE
DCMS FUN POLICE CALLED OFF THE CASE DCMS FUN POLICE CALLED OFF THE CASE
NEW PEERAGES LIST IN FULL NEW PEERAGES LIST IN FULL
WELSH FIRST MINISTER CONDEMNS STEEL WORKERS WELSH FIRST MINISTER CONDEMNS STEEL WORKERS
MOAT CLEANING EXPENSES SCANDAL MP AWARDED PEERAGE MOAT CLEANING EXPENSES SCANDAL MP AWARDED PEERAGE
CHICKEN TORIES CHICKEN TORIES
1 IN 5 CORBYN SUPPORTERS VOTED FOR CLEGG 1 IN 5 CORBYN SUPPORTERS VOTED FOR CLEGG
CORBYN ESCAPES #LABOURPURGE CORBYN ESCAPES #LABOURPURGE
VOICE OF AN OIL DRILL VOICE OF AN OIL DRILL
Wind Turbines: Subsidised Sun Beds Wind Turbines: Subsidised Sun Beds
FLASHBACK: EVERY DAY SEXUAL SEGREGATION FLASHBACK: EVERY DAY SEXUAL SEGREGATION
Control the Camera on this 360° Crossrail Video Control the Camera on this 360° Crossrail Video
Flashback: Labour Leader Vote Hijack, Could Rivals Do a Balotelli? Flashback: Labour Leader Vote Hijack, Could Rivals Do a Balotelli?
Andy Burnham Everyday Sexism Andy Burnham Everyday Sexism
Burnham Threatens to Quit Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet Burnham Threatens to Quit Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet
GORDON DOOMS YVETTE (?) GORDON DOOMS YVETTE (?)
MPs’ Deleted Tweets Twitter Don’t Want You to See MPs’ Deleted Tweets Twitter Don’t Want You to See
Corbyn: ‘I Don’t Support Putin, But…’ Corbyn: ‘I Don’t Support Putin, But…’
Foreign cash funding In campaign should be illegal Foreign cash funding In campaign should be illegal
Corbyn v Train Jihadi Corbyn v Train Jihadi
JEREMY CORBYN EQUATES ISIS TO US MILITARY JEREMY CORBYN EQUATES ISIS TO US MILITARY
MILIBAND’S TRIBUTE BEARD MILIBAND’S TRIBUTE BEARD
CORBYN AT PMQS CORBYN AT PMQS
JEREMY CORBYN’S SENSIBLE JUMPER ADVICE JEREMY CORBYN’S SENSIBLE JUMPER ADVICE