Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.
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I’ve pointed out before that, for me, one of the worst aspects of the Blair government is that ministers who resign in disgrace are almost invariably rehired, making a mockery of the idea of resigning because it’s the ‘right thing to do’, and removing all honour associated with standing down because you’re not worthy of office. What had never occured to me until today, thanks to a good journo asking an intelligent question of the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesperson, is that these ministers get payoffs for resigning from their posts, and then get rehired. And, on top of that, there’s not any wish to reform the system.
So not only is there no honour to resigning in disgrace any more, but it’s actually incentivised. The politician who’s done something so inescapably bad that they are forced into resigning gets a nice fat pay-off, and then is rehired. So they are, effectively, paid for being naughty. Even Dr Tanya Byron can see that’s not a good idea. And, frankly, it’s disgraceful.
Look at Estelle Morris, for example. Her mistakes put thousands of teenagers’ life plans off course, and caused untold worry and stress in families across the country. So she resigns, apparently very sorry for the mess she’s made. And I truly believe she was sorry – she seems a very open and honest woman. And yet, I guess it’s not all that difficult to be truly sorry when you know you’re going to get a nice big pay-off and a job back in government, with the associated huge salary, within a matter of months.
Tony Blair may have aspired to heading the washing-powder ‘whiter-than-white’ government, but his government is, at the very least, as soiled as the last. He should be ashamed.