"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
The subject of 'principles and honour' is one on which I have posted previously but one to which I return, having been prompted by a 'commentary' piece in today's Daily Telegraph (print edition, as it appears not to be available on line). The article is written by Brian Wilson, Labour MP from 1987 to 2005 - who served as trade and industry minister, under the heading: "Cable's folly hurts his self-serving party the most".
"The problem with Mr. Cable and his fellow Liberal Democrats is not that they are afflicted with a surfeit of high principle. It is that they have more faces than the town hall clock - and a willingness to display whichever one a particular audience wants to see."
The problem is not just one that is applicable to Vince Cable and his fellow Liberal Democrats, it is one that is endemic within our politics today. Until our political elite are able to divest themselves of their wish to be all things to all men they will never regain the respect of the electorate for politics and themselves.
Writing on the subject of Cable's 'openess' to the two Telegraph journalists, Wilson writes:
"Every minister has faced exactly the same problem. There are things going on in government which they, personally, do not like. Yet one thing they cannot do is talk about any of that. It is called collective responsibility."
To anyone with a brain it must be obvious that within the Coalition there are numerous differences of opinion on a number of topics - which begs the question that if those differences are known, why then can they not be discussed? 'Collective responsibility' is just a political ploy designed to attempt to cover up dissension and does nothing to restore principle and honour to politics. By having open discussion on differences of opinion, surely means that (a) the MP concerned then has to publicly justify his level of principle and honour, whilst at the same time allowing his constituents to judge him as a person. It also raises another question, one on which I have also posted previously and this is: just how much are principles and honour coloured by the lure of power and the financial reward that power brings to the individual?
Today in Parliament it seems we have few that have principles and deserve the sobriquet of 'honourable'. Two that spring to mind are Philip Hollobone, MP for Kettering and Philip Davies, MP for Shipley. The first has no PA, research assistant nor diary secretary, refuses to pay his wife for her work as he does not believe that would 'be right'. The second believes it his duty to work for Shipley in Westminster and not for Westminster in Shipley whilst also promising to always put the interest of his constituents above that of his political career.
Perhaps more MPs of the calibre of Philip Hollobone and Philip Davies might just restore the trust that the people of this country should be able to have in their elected representatives, coupled with the fact that our MPs would then have earned the right to the title of 'Honourable'?
Just another thought......................