Opinion polls tell us that the public believe British politicians are sleazy. A vast excess of media attention was given to the cash for peerages scandals ad the Abrahams donations to the Labour party.
It was not just the neurotically anti-Labour tabloids. The broadcasters. in spite of their duty of balance, lavishly reported every hint or innuendo of sleaze however minor. The interpretation placed on every set of circumstances was always the worst.
As a member of the sleaze busting committee, I tried to avoid defending the accused until the investigations had been completed. But the media had their agenda: - ‘All accused were innocent until they are proved to be Labour.’
To snorts of derision from broadcasting interviewers, I always maintained that our political system is one of the least corrupt in the world. Besmirching its reputation without evidence was doing permanent damage.
This week’s news that there will be no prosecutions in the Abrahams case as there was no prosecutions for cash for peerages. Anyone notice any screaming headlines – or even modest ones?
The public salivate for bad news. Corrupt politicians’ sell newspapers. Innocent politicians’ are not news.
There was no build-up or excitement but the Government came close to defeat in the Commons this afternoon. 31 Labour MPS backed an amendment to the Energy Bill moved with authority and charm by Labour’s Alan Simpson.
The result was 210 for and 250 against. Nearly 200 MPs were absent campaigning in the London and local elections. Had the Tories got their act together a major advance could have been made for renewables.
The amendment sought mechanisms to feed small renewable energy sources into the grid. This has worked brilliantly in Germany who are far ahead of us with clean renewable energy.
The rejection by the Government Minister Malcolm Wicks was ominous. Big investors had warned against diverting funds from the main energy developments (i.e. nuclear) into two many renewables.
The head of Electricite de France said recently that the nuclear plans could be scuppered by diverting investment into other areas. The problem is that big nuclear is always late, over budget, expensive and rarely works as promised. Renewables are practical, readily attainable and have worked on a massive scale in Germany.
Alan Simpson produced a killer fact. 'Half the food produced in the UK is wasted. If waste could be used across Europe for energy generation, the continent would no longer need gas from Russia’ There was an audible ‘whow’ from MPs.
On the basis of reason and the environment Alan Simpson won the debate. The Minister spoke up for the brute force of vested interests.
The environment lost.
David Cameron boobed at Question Time today.
The subject he picked was the wrong one. The public are on Gordon’s side on 42 days detention. The Conservatives can be painted as soft on terrorism.
On the day before he election, the House was puzzled that Cameron did not go on London or Council issues. He made another tactical error in demanding the Gordon Brown should make the issue one of confidence. The only way hat many of us on the Labour side will vote for 42 days is if it is made an issue of confidence.
Fort the first time ever, Gordon Brown wounded Cameron with sharp insults. Is Cameron losing his touch?