within the rules vs profession

May 11, 2009

There seems to be a notion ubiquitous in the commentariat that the recent allowance scandals bring the profession of being an MP into disrepute, dissuading good candidates from running.

Some general points:

1) Clearly bad candidates have been running up to this point. The British people need to move on from satire and derision into a pro-active realisation that a very large fraction of their politicians are corrupt. The insistance that MPs are respectable is out of touch. 

Remind me why the BNP want to stop aid to africa and spend it all domestically? Because of corruption – maybe they’d prefer to keep it for themselves.

2) MPs are not the only ones who have to work a transparent allowance system. We seem to have less scandals about bailed out bankers these days. Their system is different from that of everyone else – to insist on respectability is out of touch.

3) You can’t call being a politician a profession. To do so is…oh you get it…

On the last point…

For something to be a profession it must have a professional body which acts with neutrality in providing guidelines for best practice, basic standards for its chartered members and instruments for the discipline of its members in the event of unprofessional conduct, or conduct which brings the profession into disrepute.

I’m not saying it is possible to have such a body, but politics is what it is. It hasn’t grown more corrupt over time. Its always been like this through history, all thats increased is transparency, with a few blips, so we see whats really going on. 

Politicians won’t lose the good reputation they never had. The opportunity of course is to make it credible for the first time – this is a genuinely exciting opportunity. But respect cannot be assumed, asserted or demanded it must be earned.

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