A Parliament of Saints?
When one’s actions as a 15-year-old become a legitimate foundation for doubting one’s integrity as a 40-year-old, it is not only time to confront the media’s puerile obsessions, but to ask what sort of Parliament we want. If one has had a lifetime of experience in the ‘real’ world, it is likely that one comes with ‘baggage’. In order to avoid these ‘embarrassments’, it is increasingly the case that our parliamentarians left school, went to university to read politics, became an undergraduate expert on almost everything, became a parliamentary researcher, and were then promoted on a favoured ‘list’ system to be an MP. They are virgins in every sense except the one to which the term used to apply.
There may indeed be some personal choices or participation in pursuits which may render one unfit for certain offices of state. It has been said that homosexuality might be a legitimate bar from those government posts which relate directly to the issue: how can a homosexual be the minister with responsibility for families? But even this may not be as clear-cut as a vegetarian minister purporting to promote British beef, or a teetotal minister with responsibility for licensing. These, of course, are not matters of illegal behaviour, and drug-taking is. But if Mr Cameron smoked marijuana when he was 15, or even if he snorted coke when he was 21, Cranmer does not care. It is not that drug-taking is a pursuit which should be ignored, but the reality is that Mr Cameron has moved on, and his ethics have matured with his years. His sins may have returned to haunt him, but in a democracy it is for the British people to decide the extent to which those past sins are acceptable. The more reformed and redeemed characters there are in Parliament, the greater is our hope of moral and social progress.
Since Cranmer is subsidising the BBC’s harassment of Mr Cameron today, in the interests of fairness and impartiality, he hopes to see the entire Cabinet questioned on the sins of their youth over the coming days.