Yesterday (13th July) in the House of Commons there occurred an event for which all politicians should hang their heads in shame – and of which the Hansard report can be read here.
It was an aberration of all that for which the House of Commons and politicians supposedly stand. What was presented to the public was the unedifying sight of politician after politician pontificating on principles that they are only too keen to “cherry-pick” as and when it suits them.
The media does not escape criticism either because of the manner in which that event was reported.
Politicians queued to vilify what was termed frankly disgraceful accusations of widespread law breaking by sections of the media, alleged corruption by some police officers and the failure of a political system, the latter in which they have played an active part.
We witnessed Gordon Brown making a rare appearance, only his second it is believed since May 2010, in a legislative chamber to which he was elected to attend in order that he might represent his constituents. When he appeared it was not to voice the concerns of his constituents, but to rant about his own perceived ill-treatment by some sections of the media. He said that in their behaviour towards those without a voice of their own, News International had descended from the gutter to the sewer and that the tragedy is that they let the rats out of the sewer.
Prior to Brown we were informed by Ed Miliband that Rupert Murdoch had been forced to bend to the will of Parliament; that today Parliament had shown an ability to speak without fear or favour; that the House and Members of all parties had given voice to the people and that the country wanted its voice to be heard. He also said that the will of the public was clear and that now Britain’s most powerful media owner had to bend to that will.
Not to be left out of this orgy of criticism Sir George Young then informed us that Parliament could not only reflect the public’s mood but be a champion for its causes. He maintained that as with the expenses scandal, the right approach was to a reach a political agreement on the right way forward and that he feels that we are fortunate to have a House of Commons that is independent of Government.
What I find unedifying – and I feel sure that I am not alone – is the sight of politicians applying principles as and when it suits them. Did not MPs descend from the gutter to the sewer when attempts were made by them to stop the publication of their expense details? Why has Parliament not given voice to the people on the question of this nation’s membership of the European Union, especially when it is obvious that that is what the people want?
If media owners have to bend to the will of Parliament and thus the people, should not Parliament bend to the will of the people? If, as we are continually informed, no-one is above the law, just who are these politicians who consider themselves above the people whose elected servants they are? It is important, for the avoidance of doubt, to stress the word servants! The passion that these self-opinionated, so-called, politicians have exhibited, supposedly to echo the disgust felt by the people, ranks as the height of hypocrisy.
To now turn to the subject of our media, Steven Glover writing in the Mail questions why the media as a whole should be led into the dock at the expense of the few rogue elements within. We have a leader in the Daily Telegraph with the heading “Politicians are playing an unedifying game”, a statement that is undoubtedly true.
However, whilst making the case that it was investigative journalism by the Guardian that exposed the present scandal and that it was politicians who were in thrall to News International, it is a pity the newspaper does not also admit that journalists were also in thrall of the politicians – the latter omission showing yet another example of hypocrisy. As I have maintained previously it has been impossible to distinguish in whose pocket was who, where the relationship of politician and journalist was – and still is – concerned.