Monday, 18 May 2009

When in a hole, stop digging

Perhaps, there was a point in Michael Martin becoming the Speaker of the House. Maybe the toffs needed to be told by a Glasgow shop steward without any academic qualifications. Maybe the point needed to be made that anybody can raise to the top, even someone like Michael Martin.

But it has not worked and it has backfired.

Instead of the Man of the People, instead of keeping his feet on the ground, he has become the worst of them all. It tends to be the case that those who find wealth without risking their own, and with little effort or application, become easily accustomed to their new found riches.

The Labour Party stalwart, the man from Springburn, only the other day whinged like a spoilt kid against the pro-Tamil protesters outside Parliament. If The Daily Telegraph, not a traditional ally of socialist guerrillas, writes that these was one of the most polite and well managed demonstrations seen in Westminster, I for one will believe it.

Michael Martin however, in his chauffeur-driven car, complained bitterly during one of his interventions that his car had to drive around the square because of the pesky protesters. Pity the man.

Today, amazingly still in the job, he put out a statement with the s-word. Once upon a time, “sorry is the hardest word” worked as a journalistic cliché. After the empty apologies of the bankers, and the unsincere apologies of the least than Honourable Members, sorry does not mean anything. He said today he is “profoundly sorry”. [statement]

I, and any other person I speak to, am very clear that they are only sorry they got caught out with their pants down. They are not sorry about what they have been doing, they are sorry it became public, despite the Speaker’s best efforts to prevent disclosure at a cost of thousands of pounds in legal fees.

But today, when an MP raised the issue of a motion of no confidence, he dismissed it out of hand. If he had any morals, he would stand down but what can we expect from the man who furnishes his home, and gets his wife and her mate taxied around at our expense?

The BNP are obviously loving this and I would be surprised if they don’t get a few MEPs at the European Elections in June.

I remember the “Things Can Only Get Better” campaign (watched from The Clansman pub in Barcelona), followed up in the book, and since living in the UK since January 1999, and I have met many a Labour party activist who sincerely believed that the party would clean up politics, tackle the causes of crime and focus on education. And what we got was the privatisation of the NHS, tuitions fees, the Iraq war, sell-off of Royal Mail, and a perverse infatuation with the banking industry that has landed the UK in an absolute mountain of household and national debt, and a banking sector that is mostly insolvent. And then this.

Then, they complain when the public say they are all in it for themselves, and that they are all, save a handful of exceptions, a bunch of thiefs.

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