Saturday, 23 May 2009

Head In The Sand

Polly Toynbee, writing in the Guardian, about the need for a change of leadership in the Labour Party, rightly criticises David Cameron in this, which includes:

"Meanwhile David Cameron's ruthlessness smacks of firm leadership, while Labour lags behind. He has shamelessly lopped off a few expendable grandees' heads to hurl to the mob, while shielding anyone close. Protecting the brand, the Tories say, and it works. There is no justice or logic, so duck palaces go but Michael Gove's £7,000 flipping, Oliver Letwin's tennis court and Francis Maude's horse manure pass muster."

Her article also contains this passage:

"A new leader with clean hands, a cabinet cleansed of anyone with malodorous expenses: that means no flippers, property dealers, big food-eaters or lavish furnishers. Take a deep breath: that means exile not just for Hazel Blears and Jacqui Smith, but for a host of cabinet ministers with less than fragrant expenses. That's a terrifying thought for Labour, but only a savage act of House cleaning, with famous faces removed, might persuade voters that Labour is worth listening to again."

Those two extracts demonstrate exactly why Cameron's 'cleansing' has been selective to say the least and why Brown now faces an impossible task in any reshuffle he may wish to carry out.

However, more importantly, Toynbee has inadvertently stated what needs to be done with the present House of Commons, regardless of political party. All MPs who have 'furnished their lifestyle' at the public's expense should, as a matter of course and regardless of their 'standing/position, be deselected, whether or not they have repaid money.

To paraphrase La Toynbee, only a savage act of in-house cleaning might persuade voters that politicians are worth listening to again.

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