Thursday, 7 July 2016
Lessons will be learned
Children learn lessons – it’s what they do. The rest of us tend to learn by our mistakes, sometimes by repetition of the same mistake over and over again until it dawns on us, but the novel idea that government is capable of learning at more than glacial speed is laughable. They say we should learn history so that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past; if it weren’t so tragic at times the lengths to which some in public office go to repeat the same old errors should be enough to convince, at least, that history is a lesson that largely goes ignored.
No matter what colour of rosette fills the government front benches and no matter how solemn the tacit promises at their swearing-in not to bring the office into disrepute, never far away are the revelations. A look at the history of power, from local council to the highest office in the land, reveals misuse and corruption on epic scales. Scandals abound, revealing activity that would land most of us in court and yet frequently go unpunished when committed by our elected representatives.
Perversion of the planning and procurement procedures, sometimes clumsily, via the now almost traditional brown envelope back-handers, but more often for future favour. The promise of support now for a vote down the line, often going against express electoral wishes. Nepotism run wild as interfamilial and dynastic loyalties promote preferment and preferential treatment; each little act helping to build the walls separating the noble family trees from dilution by the not-so-favoured. The separation of them and us is never so evident as when seeing the chinless, talentless scions ‘kinnocking’ their way to the lofty heights.
By way of entertainment and distraction from our envy and anger they occasionally throw us the bone of buffoonery or, even better, some seedy sex scandal. From predilections towards questionable sado-masochistic acts through out and out, full-on latex dominatrix fantasies to the suspicions of kiddy-fiddling and disposal of the damaged participants with the full or partial collusion of police and judiciary. Such exploits, nearly always only coming after or near the death or senility of the perpetrators carry the stench of corruption, threat and extreme abuse of powers.
Life aboard the gravy train continues apace with only the occasional low-flyer thrown to the wolves to distract the pack from their pursuit. Minor victories – today’s headlines – become tomorrow’s chip paper and even widespread scandals such as MP’s expenses are only nominally punished; the same snouts continue to grub at the same trough with little evidence they are chastened beyond what was necessary for the press calls which magically wipe away their sins.
So you’ll forgive me if I show no great interest in the lumbering tomes of the Chilcot Report. Like every such report before it the contents will be largely unsensational, having been know at least vaguely for years and its conclusions will be no great surprise. I have no reason to expectat that we will be seeing a public hanging any day soon.