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Monday, 13 April 2009

Damian McBride’s Email

The newspapers this morning are dominated by stories about the leaking of Damian McBride’s email about the plan to smear leading Tory politicians. It is difficult to believe that the newspapers would have run with the stories that appeared on the proposed Red Rag website. I cannot imagine any newspaper editor publishing stories about how David Cameron once had a sexually transmitted disease or that George Osborne once had a relationship with a prostitute, Natalie Rowe. These stories are not relevant to the ability of Cameron or Osborne to reach high office. The really interesting question is why the stories about the corrupt and unethical behaviour of our leading politicians do not reach the mass media.

A few years ago a senior Labour cabinet minister was accused by a junior civil servant of sexual harassment. It was not the first time that this minister was accused of this offence. However, the woman concerned accepted the promotion she was offered and the minister was allowed to keep his job. The Conservative Party of course found out about this story but did not leak it to the press. This might seem quite surprising as a cabinet minister using his position of power to sexually harass a young woman is despicable and is a good enough reason to bring the man down.

The reason for this is that both of our two main political parties have a long list of illegal and immoral activities committed by their rivals. If for example, the Tories used this story about this minister, Labour would have leaked the story about the sexual behaviour of William Hague. This is even worse than the story about the sexual harassment of a clerical worker.

More importantly, the two main parties keep out of the press stories concerning political corruption. In this way they can appear on television and argue that we have the cleanest political system in the world. In fact, we have one of the most corrupt democracies in existence. One of the problems is that with our first past the post system is that it allows us to be ruled as a two-party state. Labour and Conservative leaders are willing to join in this conspiracy of corruption in order to maintain the status quo.

The Labour minister involved in the sexual harassment case was eventually dismissed by Blair for incompetence. Yet, every time there is talk of a leadership challenge he appears on television suggesting he might be a good future leader. I am not sure he will get the woman’s vote if his secret was revealed.

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