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to think politicians are total hypocrites?

(18 Posts)
LilyBolero Sun 14-Aug-11 10:05:51

David Cameron talks about parts of society being 'sick'. He promises zero tolerance, turfs parents out of their council homes if their children were involved.

And yet this is David Cameron who was a member of the Bullingdon Club, where having dined in an expensive restaurant, the restaurant would be comprehensively trashed, causing thousands of pounds of damage. Likewise Boris Johnson was also a member. Nick Clegg went on a school trip and engaged in a bit of arson, setting fire to greenhouses. And that's without getting into the whole expenses scandal - you can steal a TV by breaking into a shop, or you can steal one legally by getting the taxpayer to pay for it?

I don't even 1% condone the riots. But Cameron et al should take a long hard look at themselves - they are perpetuating the idea of a protected elite who can do what they like.

Good articles by Peter Oborne in The Telegraph and Janet Street Porter in the Independent

TottWriter Sun 14-Aug-11 10:12:14

I agree completely. There's another excellent article on the subject by Nathaniel Tapley on his website.

It's ridiculous that people are blaming this sort of thing on "mindless violence" and gang culture when they forget that the same thing happens at the top of the pile as well, only on a smaller scale as there are fewer of them and they have the education to be subtler about it.

It doesn't excuse the behaviour at all, but it does show that we need to change our whole society, as it's not some isolated "underclass" thing that people can feel smug about not being part of. All facets of society have the capacity to provide thugs who just want to take take take.

purits Sun 14-Aug-11 10:15:10

I'm getting fed up with the mudslinging. Everyone seems to have a theory about how someone else is to blame for all this. Isn't that the problem: that we all blame Them <insert hate figure of choice here> and think that we ourselves are smugly squeaky clean?

TottWriter Sun 14-Aug-11 10:17:39

But this is the point purits. All facets of society are to blame. None of us get off scot free. My family has a mixture of economic backgrounds anyway, so I don't really feel a class allegiance as some people do, but every social strata that may or may not exist can produce good and bad apples.

The difference is simply that, historically, those on the top of the pile tend to be punished for bad behaviour less punitively than those on the bottom.

purits Sun 14-Aug-11 10:49:30

The thread title says "politicians are total hypocrites" but the OP only talks about ConDem politicians. What about blaming Labour too?
The looters are Blair's children, who have grown up with an entitlement mindset. I heard an interview earlier where someone was simultaneously coveting what he hadn't got (material possessions) yet dissing what he did receive (a free education). They have been brought up to believe that they are as good as anyone else when, actually, they are not. It is this 'who do you think you are' mentality that got MPs too scared to pay themselves a sensible wage and hide it as expenses instead. That was the leagacy of Blair and Mandelson's spin: say one thing, do another and hope you have moved on before anyone notices. They were hypocrites, too, they promised that things could only get better but actually increased the inequality between haves and have-nots.

Anniegetyourgun Sun 14-Aug-11 10:55:22

Politicians are hypocrites. It goes with the territory. If they told the whole unvarnished truth they'd never get elected. This is the downside of democracy. Wasn't me who first said this, it was a fellow called Plato, writing some 2500 years ago... not much has changed in that time, seemingly.

TottWriter Sun 14-Aug-11 10:59:24

To be honest, the sense of entitlement in parliament is almost as bad everywhere. There are a few good people in all of the parties, and a few from minor parties who are too small to be heard (thinking Caroline Lucas, who, even if you don't agree with everything the Green Party thinks, seems to have her head screwed on), but the rest just take what they can get, either on a large or small scale, and then keep their head down.

So many are career politicians now - I'm sorry, but I think that before you can run for parliament you should have at least five years working in a non-related industry so that you can get a taste of the society you represent. And you should have lived in a constituency for a period of time before you are eligible to represent it. It's ridiculous for people to stand to be MP for a constituency they only have loose ties with, simply because they are a big-ish figure in the party and need a seat somewhere to have their cabinet place. No wonder they are so detached.

AlpinePony Sun 14-Aug-11 11:01:07

YABU to be, what I'll assume is a grown-up woman with children and you've only just realised this.

TottWriter Sun 14-Aug-11 11:01:09

* Sorry, to clarify, you should live there a decent length of time. I know you have to have a residence in your constituency, but you should have had to live there a good year or two at least, and demonstrate it is a primary residence. Should make any house flipping a bit harder to conceal, too.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 14-Aug-11 11:40:34

YABU. If we said no-one could enter politics if they'd misbehaved in their youth we'd have tumbleweed bouncing through a very empty House of Commons. I'm sure some of the people charged this week with riot-related offences will regret their actions and go on to be responsible members of society.

LilyBolero Sun 14-Aug-11 11:56:42

purits, I'm not blaming anyone, the only reason I've focussed on the ConDem ones is because they are the ones in power currently.

The greed that permeates society is as prevalent, if not more so, at the top than the bottom. And it's not just hoodies who commit mindless violence. That's the crux of it.

Cogito, yy, I agree you shouldn't have to have a 'spotless record', but to be so frankly sanctimonious about how 'society is broken', whilst having been a member of a trashing society such as the Bullingdon is just galling.

I have realised this before btw Alpine Pony smile, but it seems more sharply focussed this week. Add in the Murdoch stuff and you really do get a picture of the dishonesty and greed that is the root of our politics.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 14-Aug-11 12:05:01

I fundamentally disagree with you. Everyone's past is past. If Cameron were still behaving that way unabated he would be a hypocrite. As he doesn't, he's perfectly entitled to voice his opinion.

I'm also fed up with this idea that greed 'permeates society'. The vast majority of people are honest. Of course there are some stupid, dishonest or criminally-minded people at all levels of society who, when seeing a chance to make a fast buck, take it and don't consider the consequences. But we've gaoled politicians, the wings of the press have been clipped, the police are being investigated, rioters are being lined up in courts and we are therefore, as a society, demonstrating that we don't just standing idly by and we don't tolerate poor behaviour.

LilyBolero Sun 14-Aug-11 12:07:53

Oh, I agree that there are a huge number of utterly honest people. What I mean by 'permeates society' is that greed is there at every level. It is not simply confined to the 'looters'.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 14-Aug-11 12:16:05

Avarice is a deadly sin for good reason and someone once coined the phrase 'thou shalt not covet'. But wanting something isn't wrong until it means going into debt or commiting a crime in order to get it. It's knowing the difference that separates the wheat from the chaff.

edam Sun 14-Aug-11 12:21:06

Only what, four or five politicians have been jailed. Loads of them got to pay back the money they stole with no further action. The Murdochs, Brooks and their staff got away with breaking the law for a decade - and Andy Coulson was even given a job at No. 10. They are only now being held to acccount because one dogged investigative journalist kept going, despite being rubbished by the police, the Press Complaints Commission and the government.

And bankers got away with it completely. Even those who designed and sold products that were deliberately created to rip people off. The ex-head of RBS cost the rest of us billions of pounds, is directly responsible for throwing people out of work, but walked away with several million pounds in his back pocket.

Marymaryalittlecontrary Sun 14-Aug-11 12:30:31

Just because someone did something bad in the past doesn't mean they can't go on to condemn it in the future. I'm sure lots of MNers did some things they aren't proud of as children, such as stealing sweets from shops, or knocking on a neughbour's door and running away. That doesn't mean that now they have children they aren't allowed to teach their children not to do these things. I hadn't heard that Cameron was in such a club - sounds like a stupid organisation, but him being in it in his youth does not exclude him from thinking that people should not trash property now that he is an adult.

TidyDancer Sun 14-Aug-11 12:47:10

Lily, I agree.

That is all.

LilyBolero Sun 14-Aug-11 13:06:31

Cogito, the problem is that the MPs were all the 'grey side of the law' - taking David Cameron for example - he was criticised because he bought his Notting Hill house, then when he bought his Oxfordshire house, borrowed more than he needed to, so that the Notting Hill mortgage could be paid off, because the taxpayer was meeting the interest payments on the Oxfordshire property. Not illegal, but not right. And he is now making money from that Notting HIll house.

Likewise the Chancellor - he was criticised for 'flipping' his houses for maximum profit and minimum capital gains tax.

And plenty of others - from all parties. And tbh, if society is sick, as David Cameron put it, they are right in the 'sick' bit, for not realising that when given privileges as they are, and a responsibility to govern, their snouts should stay OUT of the trough, and they shouldn't be on a 'let's rip the taxpayer off as much as possible' quest.

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