Sunday, 6 March 2011

Political Principles, Honesty and Integrity

When entering politics I have always believed it is important that a candidate must be able to demonstrate honesty and principle. Entering politics is, in general, done with an underlying belief in either socialism or capitalism - either strategy which must be also based on the ability of self-governance and any candidate aligns him/her self with a party that 'ticks most of the boxes'.

Having taken the decision to become an elected politician - at whatever level - the next decision to be made is whether that means representing the views of those that have elected you; or whether you view politics as a career path to further personal glory and wealth. The fact that that last question even has to be raised demonstrates the nadir to which the politics in this country has descended.

It must surely be the aim of any potential politician to be a representative of his/her electorates views, assuming he/she has any honesty and principle, eschewing personal gain or position. Obviously some MPs must serve in Cabinet and in so doing may well have to implement decisions that go against the wishes of those they represent - together with having to support those decisions in Parliaement, come a vote. Because of this their constituents are, in effect disenfranchised, as those MPs holding Cabinet, Ministerial, or PPS office are unable to stand in Parliament and plead a case on behalf of an individual constituent. This highlights yet another deficit in our democracy and - digressing slightly - might just warrant the institution of a 'second' MP for those constituencies in order that the constituents views can be represented.

I suppose the best example, out of the present MPs, who puts his constituents above personal gain is Philip Davis whose website states:
"Representing your interests, not self-interests.
I have made it my duty to work for Shipley in Westminster and not for Westminster in Shipley, I am working for your interest, not self-interests. Above all, I will always put my constituents' interest above my political career..."
That belief of Philip Davis should be put to every MP currently holding office with the question: can you prove likewise - and the silent and/or negative response would be deafening!

In which case, it is necessary to question the motives of certain MPs - and to focus on one, in particular, let us take Dr. Liam Fox - presently Secretary of State for Defence (an MP whom Richard North, EU Referendum, holds in high regard - not!). This is the man who stood for Leader of his party in 2005 and whose speech, at that Leadership Election, included these words:
"One thing I learned as a young doctor was that if you don't listen to what the patients think is wrong with them, they won't listen when you tell them what is wrong with them. We could learn a lot from that........This party needs to concentrate all our efforts on setting out a vision for the country we want to lead. And we mustn't lose sight of our own achievements. I am proud of how this party changed the face of Britain. You don't set an agenda for the future by trashing your past..........Let me give you one: there is no such thing as government money, only taxpayers' money. Let me give you another: you cannot go on squeezing wealth creators to finance an ever hungrier government machine........Europe is becoming economically stagnant, its share of world trade falling. That is bad news for Britain because it will damage our prosperity. That is why we need to have a bold new vision for Europe. The EU is locked in the past. We need an agenda for the 21st century. We need to break away from the whole outdated concept of "ever closer union". The inevitable destination of "ever closer union" is union. The Conservative party should never accept that Britain's destiny lies in a united states of Europe.........We need to re-establish pride in what it means to be British, pride in our national identity. We have spent so long focusing on diversity that we have forgotten to focus on what we have in common: free speech, a fair rule of law, our history and heritage, economic liberty and democratic government based at Westminster."
Admittedly, Fox also stated, by inference, that our nation should remain within the EU and lead that body in a new direction; which looks to me now and at the time as 'hedging his bets' - however...... In so doing Fox never made clear whether he was advocating a 'free-trade' agreement - something which may well have cost him the leadership.

Returning to the point about principle, a number of questions arise with regard to Liam Fox:

If Fox believes that there is no such thing as government money only taxpayer's money, why is he a member of a government that seems to believe that taxpayer's money is a bottomless pit?

If Fox believes that it is impossible to squeeze wealth creators in order to fund an ever hungrier government machine, why is he a member of a government doing just that?

If Fox believes that the Conservative Party should never accept that Britain, in turn, should never accept its destiny lies in a united states of Europe, why is he part of a government that believes it does?

If Fox believes that we should have pride in our national identity; that free speech; our history and heritage; economic liberty and a democratic government based in Westminster are important, why is he a member of a government that does not believe in any of those qualities?

If Fox believes in a democratic government based in Westminster, why does he (a) accede to a system whereby MPs are forced to vote as their party dictates rather than how their constituents would wish them to vote and (b) why does he serve in a government that believes in subservience to Brussels?

Liam Fox is not alone, as consider those MPs who agree to serve as Cabinet members, Ministers or PPSs. All MPs accept they are elected to represent their constituents, so why do they accept the positions offered? Principles, or personal gain?

There is much wrong with our democracy - as I have written previously - and all the above is but one part of that deficit. How can we trust our politicians if we cannot trust and rely on their honesty, integrity and principles?


Edward Spalton said...

May I second your remarks about Philip Davies MP ?

A few years ago some colleagues approached him to make a binding commitment about the need to assert Britain's sovereignty (against all comers but with the EU mainly in mind).

He did so gladly and immediately made it known. We advised caution in case he might be deselected. He could have kept quiet until after nominations for the next election had closed. His reply was

"I would rather sit in one Parliament with a good conscience than have a career here with a bad one".

Shipley is fortunate in its MP and the last election boosted his marginal majority to over 10,000 - so, it seems his constituents like the style and substance too.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

ES: If only we had 649, or 599, like him!

TomTom said...

Shipley is fortunate in its MP and the last election boosted his marginal majority to over 10,000 - so, it seems his constituents like the style and substance too.

Yes, it was a seat held by Marcus Fox, who was a good constituency MP but became too involved in the '22 and lost sight becoming a big apologist for the government and he lost to Chris Leslie, Gordon Brown's photocopier