Monday, July 14, 2014

We need to teach them this?

The Parliamentary Committee on Standards in Public Life has come out with a list of seven items that new MP's need to take lessons in to bring them up to what they believe are the acceptable standards of public life. Selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership apparently need to be drilled into them in an effort to improve what we think of them.Telegraph.
Newly elected MPs should be put on an induction course to learn “the seven commandments” of standards in public life, a powerful parliamentary committee has said.
Before entering the House of Commons, MPs should be taught about the need to be honest and have integrity when serving the public, the Committee on Standards in Public Life has said in a report.
The committee’s intervention comes in the wake of a series of scandals involving MPs’ expenses and conduct.
Maria Miller, the former Culture Secretary, resigned earlier this year following a series of allegations about her use of the Commons expenses system.
And in June, Mike Hancock, who had the Liberal Democrat whip suspended in January over the sexual misconduct claims, made a public apology for an "inappropriate and unprofessional" relationship with a vulnerable female constituent.
The thing is, these standards should be the norm for pretty much anyone in public life, indeed most are the norm for the vast majority of ordinary people in the UK. It's not like we should have to teach honesty or integrity to anyone, yet headlines over the years have demonstrated that somehow or other Parliamentary life seems to appeal greatly to a bunch of rogues and chancers. Yet I have the feeling that such lessons if they were introduced would do no good at all, the damage having been done before the candidates get there. A further problem is of course the Party system which tries its damnedest to protect its own and will close ranks to try and weather out any storm. Even then if they have to take action the perpetrator is often enough welcomed back after a year or so to the ranks and position they lost.
The very fact that the committee has announced that new MP's need lessons in these things tells us pretty much all we need to know about the quality of some of those applying and the system in place to select them.
God! No wonder some days I think we should just hang them all!

8 annotations:

Edward Spalton said...

It was C S Lewis who wrote " I would rather play cards with a man who had been brought up on the maxim " Gentlemen don't cheat" than with a professor of ethics, however highly qualified, who was not."

When our MPs were caught out cheating the expenses system only a very few were prosecuted. The rest whined that they had "kept within the rules" - yet Parliament was responsible for the rules. Every one continued to sit at least until the end of that Parliament . Not one had the decency to resign.

Whenever you see the words " code of conduct", you can be pretty sure that things are rotten to the core .

Kath lissenden said...

The problem is that as a society over the years these "Standards of public life" or what in the old days used to be called morals, have been bred out of a lot of us.
The change in standards has been brought about by greed and the shift of focus from people/ family onto desire for things/ possessions.
When I was young mums stayed home and looked after children and dads worked and provided. Children generally had a strong moral compass at home to look after them and keep them right. Since the advent of "Feminism" and I have to tell you as a woman I DISLIKE FEMINISTS with a passion, all women have been told they were undervalued as mothers and SHOULD all be working because if they don't work they are worthless,a drain on society and useless. As a result a lot of children have dragged themselves up with little or no decent moral values, they see others with possessions better than theirs and feel entitled so go on to steal 'it's their right' to have nice things because that's what they have learned. The things that which need teaching in childhood as a way of life have been ignored and forgotten by many. It is no good attempting to teach these when at 30/40 or 50 you become an MP because they are a way of life it's way too late by then as greed avarice and selfishness are ingrained.

Mr. Morden said...

What worries me is, all this 'training' will be given, after they are elected and, even if it does not work, which it will not, we can do nothing about it, especially if they are in a safe seat. eg Tim Yeo.

To me, this is just window dressing, so the the Political Class can claim to have learnt something and acted. In truth they have not. If they had really learned something, then they would know that it is the system that needs radical overhaul.

Its just not democratic.

Anonymous said...

Surely the decent thing would be to have all prospective candidates tested and assessed for their honesty, morals and probity BEFORE standing for election - at their own expense.

Edward Spalton said...

Anonymous,
How on earth do you do that?

My father always said that, if a man told you he had very high principles, you could be sure he had very low morals.

It's not infallible but life has since taught me that it's often right.

Anonymous said...

Far better if the Parliamentary Committee on Standards in Public Life was discussing some form of recall by their constituients for an MP.
Than trying to teach them at a rather too late stage in their lives these principles that most decent people already abide by.

Anonymous said...

Edward Spalton,

the same way people are tested for their knowledge of the Highway Code before giving hem a licence to drive.

English Pensioner said...

At one time most MPs had done a job in life and asked what they could put back for the good of society.
Now most MPs have have only worked in politics and ask what can they get out of society.