Monday, March 13, 2006

Honours List Farce

You know, it is hard to work up a sense of real outrage at the cash for peerages scandal.

Mind you it really is a scandal- it is not just the harmless trumpery of absurd pseudo-mediaeval titles: these fat cats were buying membership of our national Parliament.

Yet I can't say I am surprised- for as long as patronage remains a gift of the Prime Minister, and especially this Prime Minister, then corruption will be an inevitable side effect. But is it really that bad? We do regard the desire to be "The Right Honourable The Lord Scrod of Bottley" as fairly harmless- and it is less economically damaging than to demand 25% of a government contract in exchange for your dubious financial support for the ruling party.

Nevertheless, with every drip of slime, it is not just the image of the compromised and morally dubious Blair government that falls- it is the far more corrosive "you are all the same" that damages politics as a whole. Blair is not "a pretty straight guy"- he has been in office too long for that.

What frightens me is that the alternative for many people is an even more cynical, shallow and opportunist figure: David Cameron. Personally, I am more and more of the opinion that the Public Schools seem rather too good at producing the smooth and well practiced liar.

Privilege and class are not quite dead in our supposedly meritocratic country- hence the absurd desire to be part of a system that continues to award the five classes of "The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire" as a reward for good works. Five classes? Oh yes MBE for lollipop ladies, OBE for charity work, CBE for nearly a knighthood, KBE for senior government approved figures, DBE for actresses...

Mind you, as far as social mobility is concerned, I look forward to the first comprehensive kid as the PM- we still have not had one...yet.

No comments: