Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Be Honest, Mr Cameron, We Deserve That At Least

The nature of political debate, especially around election time, is rather depressingly childish in this country. Instead of convincing us of the rightness of their cause, all of the parties would prefer to destroy the credibility of the opposing view, and frequently by disingenuous or dishonest means. Everybody is a little right, after all. We could probably even find a crumb of truth in the blatherings of the Conservative Party, if we looked hard enough. What we should be doing is making an informed decision about which party seems the most right, according to our sensibilities and our outlook, and voting for them.

Take David Cameron's response yesterday to the news that three former Labour MPs were seeking legal aid to defend the charges against them relating to fraudulent expense claims. Yes, it is reprehensible that they should do so; but it was equally reprehensible for Mr. Cameron to be declaring in rabble-rousing tones out in the street that the Tories would seek a review of legal aid procedures once in government, so that disgraced MPs could never do the same thing again. He knows, unless he is spectacularly ill-informed, that the right to legal aid is already means tested in most crown courts, and that the same procedure is being rolled out for all crown courts in the next few months. But he preferred to make it appear, to a public who would probably not research the true facts, that the system under Labour was soft on the manipulation of welfare.

It is not, in this case, only the former MPs, scandalously identifying a loophole in the legal aid system, who should look to their consciences -- not that they, or Mr. Cameron, will bother I suspect.

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