Monday, January 23, 2006

Telegraph declares: “Tony Blair was right”, shock

It’s bash the LibDem day for the Telegraph's leader writer. Under the headline: “The Lib Dems are a laughing stock – again” he* concludes; “Tony Blair told his activists: "Never underestimate the Tories; never over-estimate the Lib Dems." He was right. On both counts.” The Daily Mail comment writer feels: “It's' hard not to feel at least a twinge of sympathy for the Liberal Democrats.” But goes onto demonstrate that it’s possible.

The Times leader writer says: “Sympathy for Mr Oaten has to be balanced against the extraordinary recklessness of his behaviour. … [for him] to assume that … he might be able to rely on the polite silence of those who sell themselves for sex was an example of being “in denial”.”

I rather agree with Max Hastings in the Guardian when he writes about his regret “that so few politicians are undone by failure in the performance of public office, so many by personal embarrassments.” and he’s certainly correct that “this sort of stuff still sells newspapers in millions” but a lot of the rest of his piece is blatant anti-Labour tripe.

My main worry is that able people are increasingly put off public life. It is possible to have a more (financially) rewarding and private life in a boardroom than on the green benches of parliament. We are all losers if our insatiable demands for scandal are driving good people away.


* it may be a she but I doubt it. We need a word for person of unknown gender; (s)he is too clumsy.

1 Comments:

At 19:51, Blogger Aunty Marianne said...

In my experience, and apparently Paxo agrees with me, those who stand for office are of high-octane, high-performance, exhibitionist character. They think they work hard, many do, and they consequently play hard. Happens here in the EP too, all nationalities, not just ours. Show me a calm sober focused elected representative and I'll show you someone who blundered into a desperate selection committee whilst looking for the village hall's toilets and was too unassuming to say no.

They've all got skeletons and only the rarest is bright enough to get them out of the closet before the press do, c.f. Simon Hughes, who, unlike Oaten, hasn't done anything wrong, but now looks as if he's ashamed of it. In contrast, Chris Smith is greatly to be commended for revealing his HIV status, for example.

The correlation between the sort of able, focused, self-disciplined and open people we really need in representative assemblies, and the admittedly superb horse-trading self-publicists that get there, is at best haphazard, and often seems inverse. I'm (tragically!) skeleton-free, but I wouldn't stand for all the tea in China.

 

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