Warning: This post was published more than 10 years ago.
I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!
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The Right Honourable John Leslie Prescott is to have his wrists slapped for staying at Philip Anschutz’s ranch and failing to declare an interest (until bullied into it, of course). My question: Who’s going to do the slapping? Given Mr Prescott’s history of, err, hands-on politics (and no, not hands on that!), who is going to stand there and give him a good slapping?
Those unfamiliar with Westminster disciplinary proceedings may be somewhat lost, assuming ‘slapped wrists’ is merely a figure of speech. They would be wrong. The system works thusly:
- Horrendous, intolerable offences, like taking a two-week part time job whilst not in cabinet without consulting the correct committee are punishable with immediate sacking.
- Major offences like disagreeing with the Prime Minister is treated to a humiliating ‘You’ve let me down, you’ve let the Party down, and most of all, you’ve let yourself down’ speech until eventually you feel forced out of the clique and out of the cabinet.
- If you’re a little bit naughty and abuse your power by sleeping with your secretary, you go over the PM’s knee and have a couple of departments taken off you, but keep your job, salary, and perks.
- If you do something minor, like accepting gifts and holidays from someone before then giving them governmental support (let’s just call it being generally corrupt), then you get a quick slap on the wrist.
- If you do something barely worth mentioning, like, y’know, lying to Parliament or starting an illegal war, then that’s just brushed under the carpet.
See, it all makes perfect sense. All we need now is someone good at ducking!