Humphrys : Politicians are Liars

The BBC Radio 4 Today presenter John Humphrys is in trouble for implying (in a paid-for after-dinner speech) that all ministers are liars by virtue of the doctrine of collective cabinet responsibility. He further says “there are three kinds of politicians: those who do not lie full stop, those who lie if they absolutely have to, and those who do not give a bugger about lying” Which category does the Prime Minister fall into?

Guido reckons Humphrys is right, party discipline, the whip and collective responsibility engender a lack of individual responsibility and accountability on the part of politicians. But its not just the government benches – remember Basher Davis arguing for ID cards from the front bench on Michael Howard’s instructions and briefing against them privately out of the corner of his mouth?

The U.S. democracy for all its sins – mainly the corrupting of the political class through corporate campaign funding – has politicians who regularly cross party lines on the merits of the issue. Britain does not have many politicians like that, Frank Field and Kate Hoey on the Labour benches are rare examples. We need more politicians who think for themselves and act honestly, not party hacks.

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