As noted by Mr Eugenides yesterday, poor Yasmin is in a bit of a quandary over the subject of expenses:
Dreading a pandemic of generic invective, I tried to pretend I couldn't speak English when I jumped into a cab last week, but drat it, was recognised by the corpulent bloke driving me: "They're all the fucking same, in the same boat, looking after each other. Hard working people like us have had it with you lot", and on and on.Oh, dear, poor you. How awful to have to step outside your cozy meejah bubble.
Nice attempt to deflect reality with the old ‘me no speaky da engrish’ routine. Now, that’s not all kinds of embarrassing, is it?
I was on my way to Westminster, as it happens, to see an honourable Labour politician who still merits the adjective. Just. And only on expenses. His voting record shows him an instinctive follower, less able to stray than a wildebeest migrating across the Savannah.That certainly sounds familiar to anyone who has studied the affair in any detail, so it seems her cab fare was wasted. Hope she got it back on expenses…
I wanted to talk to him about why parliamentarians on the left had lost their ethical bearings and found instead a righteous sense of entitlement, giving themselves the right to cheat the public for some greater good known only to themselves. He tells me to try and understand. They feel they're worth it, that they have done no wrong, that it was tough for them to reach places previously forbidden to them.
But Yasmin didn’t receive the next bit well:
By this time I was ready to spit out my black coffee over his smart, pink shirt. Black and Asian parliamentarians caught up in the long string of allegations of corruption – going back many years – display the same warped morality.You mean, they aren’t any different from anyone else? Well, there’s a shocker, eh?
Perhaps this is grossly unfair, but I do feel more revulsion and fury when those on the respectable left or black and Asian people turn out to have been implicated in this latest bonfire of the vanities. We should expect better from them than the grandees Douglas Hogg, and Michael Ancram and others with moats, tennis courts and many other such burdens. Imagine what the political landscape would be today if every single one of those found out were right wing toffs? But they are not.Oh, how illuminating!
It seems Yasmin, despite her advanced years, treats a certain type of politician (decided purely by race or allegiance) with no greater objective discernment than a pre-teen swooning over her latest pop idol or soap star.
And is cast into the same depth of despair when it turns out that they are flawed. Just like any other normal human being.
They are all sleazy takers now. But there is a difference – a difference likely only to intensify public disgust.Yes, well, tell us something we couldn’t all see right from the get-go. But then, most people are aware that politicians are people just like themselves. We don’t put them on a pedestal, because we know the dangers of doing so.
Let us name it "Cherie syndrome". You have the abilities and ambition to get to the top and when you break through, you feel both a sense of victory and nagging bitterness. John Prescott personifies this at its most unpleasant; Cherie Blair embodies its persistence and clasp.
Well, some of us, anyway:
I personally know many of the denounced characters, past and present. Baroness Uddin was an indefatigable community worker for women in Tower Hamlets. She had a disabled son and I was in awe of her energy. When Shahid Malik got into Parliament, a young Muslim man from the north, my joy was boundless. I can't bear it that these people have allegedly milked the system and that some committed socialist Labour MPs may have done the same.I’m not seeing a connection here between life circumstances and sainthood. Why should the fact that they did good works or had difficulties in their life automatically qualify them for some kind of hero worship?
People are people – complex, maddening, contradictory and capable of deceit and nobility in equal measure. They are more than the ‘image’ they represent – that’s tokenism in its purest form.
Those who should have known better have exploited and degraded their own testimonies of poverty, want, racism, exclusion, and lived socialism. That makes their corruption worse than avaricious toffs who always were amoral.Heh! No assumptions there, eh, Yasmin?
How could someone this naïve and prejudiced ever be considered suited to the role of political columnist for a major daily newspaper?