Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Parliament of Saints?

The United Kingdom has a corrupt, discredited, sleaze-ridden Labour government, yet the media is choosing to focus on the dawning probability that David Cameron smoked marijuana while he was at Eton College. This, it is asserted, renders him incapable of formulating any credible drugs policy as HM Leader of the Opposition, or of even questioning the Government’s drugs policies in his role as a constituency MP.

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.

17 Comments:

Anonymous dexey said...

If he smoked when he was 15 I don't care at all. I'm glad he tried it and hopefully rejected it.
Wasn't there an allegation that a Labour MP - the initials BB come to mind - was smoking cannabis with his partner at an event in London recently? It never seemed to get followed up.

With Cameron I am more worried about the things he cannot give up. Does his privileged upbringing give him any understanding of those less privileged is my concern. I remember Conservative governments lead by patricians and they were not good for my family.

11 February 2007 at 16:28  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Oh come now Your Grace - all they are saying is that Cameron was a wild child at school just as they told us "Emily" Blair was a little rebel with the same headmaster.

It is not as if he is Mary Bell needing a lifetime of anonymity and Court Orders to protect him from public scrutiny. You must admit that had the British electorate been more aware of the Artful Dodger's propensity to tell "positional truth" and lie his way out of every situation he might not have been thought suitable to begin his first job in Govt as Prime Minister

11 February 2007 at 16:29  
Blogger Cranmer said...

You must admit that had the British electorate been more aware of the Artful Dodger's propensity to tell "positional truth" and lie his way out of every situation he might not have been thought suitable to begin his first job in Govt as Prime Minister

Mr Voyager,

Not necessarily. His Grace happens to believe that God does not grant a nation the leadership it desires, but that which it deserves.

11 February 2007 at 16:44  
Anonymous grumpy said...

Your Grace,
Politics - particularly in Britain - having apparently become a branch of the entertainment industry (rather like 'Celebrity Big Brother' for conspiracy theorists), it is scarcely surprising that we are daily regaled with stories about the minutiae of the lives of our leaders (or putative leaders).
I, for one, would welcome a return to the golden days (not so long ago) when the private pecadilloes of politicians were considered to be of no interest, unless and until a clear conflict of interests was demonstrated.
Rather than rooting through the dustbins of public figures in an attempt to unearth childhood misdemeanours, our third estate might be better occupied - and perform a greater public service - if it were to press politicians to frankness about their real, or intended policies.

11 February 2007 at 17:24  
Anonymous Colin said...

Grumpy,

"branch of the entertainment industry"

True. The ancient Romans had a similar political strategy called ”Bread and Games”. The modern version of this ancient deceptive strategy of politicians is termed "welfare benefits and TV entertainment".

"to press politicians to frankness about their real, or intended policies."

The question is how are you going to press those who have power over you to tell you the truth?

11 February 2007 at 20:10  
Anonymous religion of pieces said...

Is your grace aware of the strange goings-on at his Alma Mater - the Prestigious Cambrige Community Learning Experience - where all police leave has been cancelled to deal with a potentially violent insurrection by cartoon characters?

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/city/2007/02/09/ef79ee97-fec1-4f00-babf-dbd17447b40b.lpf

12 February 2007 at 01:23  
Anonymous Observer said...

The ancient Romans had a similar political strategy called ”Bread and Games”.

Translated normally as "Bread & Circuses" or for the classically-trained Panem et Circenses

12 February 2007 at 07:26  
Anonymous Curly said...

Clearly, the Conservative Party of old was in need of a thorough root and branch reform when the puff smoking young man succeeded to the top job!

12 February 2007 at 09:41  
Anonymous grumpy said...

colin (almost)asked, 'How is one to press those in power to tell one the truth?'
I was suggesting that those who are currently employed by newspapers to find titillating gossip about those in power - or on the fringes of power - should be redeployed. Given the tenacity they exhibit in pursuit of 'non-stories', were they to expend the same amount of time and energy to uncovering 'the truth' about our leaders political intentions, then we might all have a clearer view of where our society is being led.

12 February 2007 at 10:32  
Blogger Newmania said...

"branch of the entertainment industry"

True and it reminds me increasingly on "Its a knockout". Immense effort goes into waltzing along the greasy causeway withoitu any clear idea of why we are engaged in the heroic endevour .

the fact we have a Jeux sans frontieres adds to the sense of unreality.


This governments circus is chiefly gambling , an attempt to deprive the poor of earnt income and thereby reduce them to serfs. Why not do the same with drugs ?

On Cameron he is so wet that were he to roll a spliff it would fall apart in a soggy mess.

12 February 2007 at 11:23  
Anonymous Voyager said...

A Parliament of Saints?

Yes please ! Where is Colonel Thomas Pride ?

12 February 2007 at 14:58  
Blogger Newmania said...

I think the truth of this is that if he were able to say never it would have meant never got caught . There has been a huge reality gap on the use and acceptance of soft drugs and it has put DC is a slight spot but he done all he can to admit the facts which are trivial.

I greatly enjoy his Grace`s willingnes to be forgiving of human frailty but form my point of view the ned of this deveopment is getting the state out of soft drugs which it has no right whatsoever to tell free citizens not to use .

I look at the pub I am about to be thrown out of with my cigarette and feel a rage that Governement has come to this meeting place of men and women and acted like a bullying bouncer.


The weak and vulnerable must be protected from the predations of the unscupulous but ultimately people must be free to choose

12 February 2007 at 15:39  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...

When you note that alcohol and tobacco are both legal substances, you have to conclude that the difficulty isn't over the substance itself but rather WHO consumes it, and WHO profits from it.

And that vast number of civil servants of various kinds, and lawyers, who make a fine living out of the fact it is illegal.

12 February 2007 at 18:05  
Anonymous islingtonian said...

"His Grace happens to believe that God does not grant a nation the leadership it desires, but that which it deserves."

Your Grace, I have come to the conclusion that I deserve a better government than most of my compatriots do. Is there any point in praying for this?

12 February 2007 at 20:53  
Blogger Peter Hitchens said...

Cranmer
may I link to you?

13 February 2007 at 00:14  
Blogger Peter Hitchens said...

Mr Mania
Your postings are normally punctilious in matters of grammar and spelling, having read the above I can only assume that you are either pissed or smoking a huge spliff at your desk

13 February 2007 at 00:20  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Cranmer
may I link to you?


Mr Hitchens,

You, more than most, must realise the rights that come with the ownership of private property. Since your blog is your private property, you are perfectly at liberty to link to whomever you wish.

Your Grace, I have come to the conclusion that I deserve a better government than most of my compatriots do. Is there any point in praying for this?

Mr Islingtonian,

No, for the motive is manifestly selfish.

13 February 2007 at 06:22  

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