No doubt our parliamentarians are skilled and consummate operators in the Chamber at Westminster, along the corridors of power, in the committee rooms and subsidised bars and when meeting with their civil servants.
Now that they are out on the hustings they are like fish out of water.
Any journalist, even the less astute ones, can turn ministers or party leaders into hesitant, equivocating, prevaricating and confused wrecks, making them struggling like a fish on a hook. This is partly because politicians believe that they should have a flexible relationship with the truth. They believe that they should say what we want to hear rather than what is the case. It is often important not to let facts interfere with opinions.
Most of all, at this election, they lack vision.
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. Winston Churchill.
Parliament seems to attract more than its fair share of wheeler-dealers, dodgy doers and Del-Boy characters. Two of the last five MPs for Eastleigh have come to grief over unsavoury episodes. One in Winchester had to resign and one in Portsmouth has been expelled from his party.
Is there something wrong with Hampshire or is this par for the course up and down the country? A scan back over the expenses scandals suggests that it might be a general phenomenon.
Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage. H. L. Mencken.
What should we do about it? We have been very forgiving; many have got off without penalty by claiming forgetfulness or an ‘honest’ mistake. We need to keep a closer eye on them.
One thing we can do is vote for your local candidate on the basis of his or her integrity rather than on the party lines. This means that it is important to get to know your candidate somehow.
There is a hustings in Chandler’s Ford on Wednesday night (22nd April at 7.30pm) at the Methodist Church where our local crew will show themselves. Be there. Make them ATFQ (answer the – Question).