Friday, 7 January 2011


Bye bye to a fraudster.

Bye bye to a liar.

Plenty still to go, though.  When will they learn; there is no excuse for lying in order to gain public office.  There is no excuse for deliberate and conscious fraud.  The MPs who lined up to whinge that Woollas should be let off because otherwise the Courts might become involved in the electoral process should be asked, bluntly, why they don't understand that the Courts have always had a role in elections, and why they think it should be ok to lie to us.  The MPs who have told us what a good MP Chaytor was despite being a fraudster should be asked, bluntly, exactly what level of criminal venality you can compensate for by turning up in the Chamber once in a while to do what the whips ask you.

This news is, I think, unreservedly good for our system of democracy.  Both convictions have said, loudly and clearly, that our politicians are not above the law.  They must not only make our laws, they must also observe them.  Now, if the CPS would be so kind as to get going and take a good hard look at the other 644, I'd appreciate it.

But I wonder if we could go further in bringing our politicians to heel.  Radio 4 suggested this week that the death penalty should be re-introduced, but as a voluntary opt-in.  Stand up in public and say you support the death penalty, and your name will be noted.  If you are later convicted of something serious, then the sentence will be that you will be taken from this place... etc etc.  Although I find the death penalty abhorrent, I find that concept strangely tempting.  It chimes with my favourite proposed law, that anyone uttering the phrase "Those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear" with serious intent should immediately have publicly accessible webcams fitted in every room of their house*.  But both suggestions are, I now realise, just shadows of the policy that we should actually be putting in place, which is:

Any MP who votes in favour of the creation of a new criminal offence should be monitored for the rest of their life for conformity with that law.  Their past life should also be scrutinised, and the law should apply to them (and them alone) retrospectively.  Any infringement of the law that they voted for should automatically receive a sentence that is twice the harshest penalty that their law provides for.  

We could call it the Hypocrisy Act 2011.

Postscript - We could also allow for rewards for those offering evidence, and for those involved in the prosecution, so that enforcement would be contracted out and not a drain on the public purse.  

Further, there could be immunity under the retrospective provisions in respect of anything that the MP admits, during the debate on the bill, to having carried out that would be an offence if the bill was passed.  That way, they might actually have to think about the bill (or even read it!) and about their own conduct relative to it.  Other MPs would see what kind of activity might be an infringement of the proposed new offences, and just how prevalent they are among "normal"(ish) people.

*yes, I mean every room.


  1. I think that he was one of the lesser offenders; I'm looking forward to the rest of the cases including those from the Lords, one of whom I suspect will try to play the race card.
    I hope that they're getting worried.

  2. "We could call it the Hypocrisy Act 2011."

    That's one new bit of legislation I'd happily endorse! :)

  3. have publicly accessible webcams fitted in every room of their house yes, I mean every room.

    It would be quite wrong to put such cameras in people's private chapels.

  4. Now can I put my thumb on it?

    ::[better tread carefully]::

    Yes, their behaviour incensed you so much, you have lost all sense of the Rule of Law*.

    I hope your thumb gets better.

    *I'll concede you retain reason though.

  5. EP - same here. I know a lot of people criticised the Telegraph for running the story, but a conviction for fraud does rather prove they were right.

    Julia :-)

    Albert - exactly.

    Measured - yes, I would object most vociferously if anything similar was applied to me. And rightly; the retrospectivity in particular is very naughty. But I think MPs are a special case, deserving of special attention. Especially given their past conduct... :-D