Until now, I have not written a word on this subject. My partner is an MP, along with many of my friends. I did not want to become involved in arguments about who claimed what allowance, and that isn't my intention now. But in the past few days I have talked to MPs who have been abused in person and by email, who have been spat on in the street and pursued by angry constituents screaming "you piece of scum". Even if they haven't been listed in the Telegraph, they have been accused of being liars, cheats and thieves.Well, Joan, that's probably because they are expecting their names to appear in the next 'Telegraph' exposure, and want to get in first!
It doesn't matter whether you are a minor television celebrity, a former glamour model or a politician; anyone who ventures into public life may find themselves the target of a degree of vitriol disproportionate to any offence they are deemed to have caused. Now it is happening to MPs and the degree of loathing is the same whether there is evidence of fraud or the person concerned has merely used (as even David Cameron has done) a now discredited expenses system.Hey, if they couldn't stand the heat, Joan, perhaps they shouldn't have got into the kitchen with the intent of gorging themselves on the contents of the fridge and stealing all the cutlery. Should they?
And here comes the hyperbole:
The sense that we are in the midst of a crisis has been stoked by banner headlines – it is as if 9/11 has happened every single day for the last two and a half weeks – and people have been encouraged to believe that we are governed by a uniquely corrupt political class that requires condign punishment.You are really comparing this to 9/11, Joan? Really?
Because I'm having a bit of trouble reconciling the deaths of innocent people due to murdering terrorist scum as being in any way, shape or form like the justified wrath of the public on learning that their elected representatives have been living high on the hog on taxpayer's money. Maybe it's just me, though...
But rightwing commentators hate Labour governments, and they were ready to risk undermining public confidence in the entire political system to discredit the Labour party.I hate to disabuse you of your cherished victim complex, but blaming the 'rightwingers' for lifting the lid on the whole sorry mess isn't going to fly, given that the blame and shame seems to have been equally spread amongst the parties...
But there's no stopping her, she's on a roll:
In this uniquely poisonous atmosphere, years of conscientious public service count for nothing; decent people are being terrorised out of public life and the perverse consequence is likely to be their replacement by a motley collection of minor celebrities, attention-seekers and outright fascists. Democracy itself is under threat, not because a handful of MPs have behaved greedily but because the public reaction has been (and continues to be) hysterical. The spectacle of a House of Commons populated by TV celebrities, obsessives who blame the EU for everything, and members of the BNP, fills me with horror.Me too. But I'm not blaming the public for that, Joan sweetie. I'm blaming the corrupt MPs who have used the expenses system to feather their own nests, oblivious to the problems they were storing up for themselves, smug in the knowledge that no-one would find out. You see, I'm not the sort of person who blames the victim of a robbery for reacting to it with justified anger.
But I see you are:
The British public – not all of them, but the smug guardians of morality who are enjoying this crisis so much – say they are disgusted by the behaviour of our elected representatives. Let me say that it works both ways: for the first time in my life, I am sick of my country. I am sick of the daily undermining of democracy, and sick of the sadistic pleasure people take in humiliating decent public servants. Even so, I will go on urging my friend not to give up her seat. She is a brilliant constituency MP, and I don't believe anyone should give in to bullies.Now, that really takes the biscuit!
'Bullies'..? Who's been doing the bullying for the last few years, Joan? Pub smoking bans, hunt bans, green inititatves, waste disposal rules, restrictions on photography, on demonstrating outside Parliament without a licence (unless you are a Tamil, it seems), threats to cut off treatment for 'lifestyle' illnesses, dire warnings on drinkers and the 'obese', the harassment of motorists, etc.
I could go on, but I think most people get the point.
Not you, though Joan. You'll never get the point, no mattter how slowly and clearly it's explained to you. Will you?