It’s a question of honour

I have been involved in Liberal and Liberal Democrat politics, mostly as an activist, councillor and parliamentary candidate, since 1964. During that time there have been thirteen different Prime Ministers, none of whom I agreed with politically at all. Until the advent of the current PM, all of them behaved in a civilised fashion and played the game according to the rules.

There was a time when if you broke the law, or lied to parliament, you resigned. How honourable John Profumo now seems, when compared to the present incumbent of 10 Downing Street. Profumo, for those of you too young to remember, was Minister for War (later Governments changed that to Minister of Defence) in the MacMillan Tory Government of 1959-1963. He lied to the Commons about his relationship with a prostitute, Christine Keeler, who was also having sex with a Russian Navel attaché, thought to be a spy. When the facts became known, Profumo resigned both as a minister and as an MP. There was an investigation by Lord Justice Denning into the whole affair, and if you want a clinical dissection of the scandals of the Tory Government, then read the Denning report. This eventually led to the election of a Labour Government in 1964 as people lost all confidence in the Tories after thirteen years. Profumo, on the other hand, went away and built a new life as a tireless worker for charities in the East End for which he was later honoured.

Compare that with the behaviour of the current PM and his government. Profumo was, more or less, a gentleman who fell from grace and accepted the consequences. Johnson is a bounder and a cad who doesn’t accept responsibility for anything. When did a minister last resign accepting responsibility for his/her mistakes?

The sooner this vile and dishonourable man is deposed, the sooner our country can start addressing the real issues that the whole sorry Brexit saga has brought into sharp relief.

The UK is a sorry state indeed, with a press that largely ignores the facts in favour of its prejudices, politicians who largely shirk their responsibilities in favour of soundbites and a governmental system so centralised and uncaring that a huge number of people feel let down and betrayed.

It’s all utterly depressing. I still have some hope that the Lib Dems might be able to start the process of rebuilding our democracy but am not at all sure how we work to give them the chance.

* Dr Michael Taylor has been a party member since 1964. He is currently active in the Calderdale Party.

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10 Comments

  • Katharine Pindar 2nd Oct '19 - 9:21am

    I am so pleased you have written this, Mick, and that our site has published it. Having the same longevity in the party as you, and having lately enjoyed campaigning with you on a day in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, I am not surprised to be in so much agreement with you. I am utterly shocked and dismayed that our country now has a prime minister who has apparently lost all moral compass, who with his associates in the government is degrading us in the eyes of the world. At least he has not been elected by the British people, and the objective we must aim for now with many honourable politicians is to ensure that he will be deposed and silenced as soon as an extension has been granted by the EU and a General Election can follow. The restoration of the traditional standards of British public life must be strongly stated and recognised, and our party will surely play its part in that.

  • William Fowler 2nd Oct '19 - 9:37am

    In the real world, Boris has largely revived the Conservative’s fortunes, is more popular with the electorate than the other leaders and, apart from Brexit, has largely middle ground policies that will appeal to many. The Left absolutely hate him because he is so potentially popular with the electorate… if he is more interested in mounting young ladies than imposing some dreadful, ever expanding State-like control on the populace, that is probably in his favour. Woe, indeed, an electorate subjected to politicians whose only interest is, er, politics!

  • David Becket 2nd Oct '19 - 10:18am

    @Katharine & Michael
    Totally agree, I am of a similar age, though not as active in the party for as long. (28 years)
    I find it very depressing that one third of the country appears to approve of Johnson. Under first past the post and with a weak Labour leader he could win a majority at an election.
    Even worse is that many of his supporters actively support leaving the EU without a deal, with no concern as to the economic and social damage this will cause.
    It is normal for us oldies to say “the country is going to the dogs”, but it is mainly those of our age group that has elevated this mendacious narcissist to a position where he can do untold harm to our country.

  • @William Fowler

    The gloss can wear off very quickly. The Lib Dems will remember headlines like ‘Clegg more popular than Churchill’ after the first TV leaders’ debate in the 2010 election campaign.
    Boris’ popularity (way lower than Theresa May’s early popularity) could crash very quickly if he fails to leave on the 31 October,or forces no deal. The ‘Get Brexit done’ slogan may have some superficial appeal, but wiser folk know it’s far from that simple.

  • In the end it is the lying that matters most. Who was that chap who had somebody called Goebbels to organize his lies for him…?

  • Barry Lofty 2nd Oct '19 - 12:11pm

    If Boris Johnson is from the real world of political leaders it only goes to show what dire depths we and the rest of the world have sunk. Please Jo, and the other opposition party leaders, don,t let him and his cronies get away with it!! I have been a Liberal since Jo Grimonds time, not particularly active but pretty vociferous, ask my family, and the thought of spending my twilight years under this regime appals me.

  • Jayne Mansfield 2nd Oct '19 - 12:13pm

    @ William Fowler,
    I don’t hate Boris Johnson, I hold him in complete contempt.

    Expressing outrage gives temporary personal relief, but I believe that the vast majority of people in this country , even may I point out, those without higher educational attainments, have a basic decency that will lead to his removal.

    He is on the ropes. The only thing that will free him is a lack of focus and sheer determination from a united opposition, to do whatever it takes, within the law,

    @ Mick Taylor,
    Keep your chin up.

  • Mick Taylor 2nd Oct '19 - 2:38pm

    William Fowler. Despite continued attempts by the media to discredit politics and politicians, it is the only way in a democracy to make decisions.
    Most politicians go into politics to change the world, not to make money or gain status. The tragedy is that a few rotten apples have been held up as the norm and that has not helped the majority of people right across the political divide who actually want to do what’s best for the country.
    If the behaviour of our boorish PM is helping the Tory Party, what a tragedy for the UK that is.
    Personalising politics by attacking individuals rather than the policies of their parties is no way to behave. Sadly, many in our party can’t see that.
    Honour amongst many who reach high office is often in short supply. It would be no retrograde step if Ministers and MPs did resign when caught out in lying to parliament. The problem with our PM and his government (and indeed the Tory Party) is that they no longer know the difference between fact and fiction!

  • William Fowler 3rd Oct '19 - 8:03am

    Mick, agree, politicians are a necessary evil but many justify their existence by making pointless and endless laws that infringe on the public, and en masse end up diluting the laws that do actually matter. I see Boris in a positive light insofar as he is unlikely to introduce laws just for the kicks and more likely to enjoy power for the sake of it.

    Personally, I would like to see the Swiss model, electronic voting and endless referendum, the latter perhaps replacing the HoL and a whole swathe of the political class. HMRC already has the capability of cross checking two massive databases (NI and driving licence/passport) which would form the basis for electronic voting (getting rid of another layer of local govn and their inclination to sell the electoral register with its excess of personal details).

    Less politicians and fewer laws will resonate nicely with the voting public.

  • How anyone, with a liberal bent, can find a single thing about Mr. Johnson to support is beyond me.
    He epitomises everything that is rotten in today’s politics. He has a history of using any means, fair or foul, for his personal advancement. He has pushed the boundaries of bullying, racism and incitement to appeal to the worst instincts in his party and the electorate in general. In short, an ‘absolute rotter’.

    As for his removal; H.L. Mencken”s “No one ever went broke nderestimating. the intelligence, etc could have been penned with Johnson in mind.

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