The old style of politics and politicians is something which I thought I would never see again. I am talking about the ‘old style’ which clearly stated, for Cabinet Members of Government at least, ‘if something goers awry on your watch’, you take responsibility; you must resign’. An old fashioned term for what is perhaps are old-fashioned ideals; of service, of honour, of rectitude, of courtesy: of an age and a time when politicians accepted that if their conduct, or of their Department, fell below those required standards, one resigned. Forthwith! No shilly-shallying; no ‘wandering around O’Houlihan’s barn, no hesitation.
There have been very, very few ‘honourable’ resignations in modern times, sufficiently few that most can be remembered because they are literally rarer than hen’s teeth. Robin Cook resigned from the Cabinet on principle over the Iraq War. Much earlier, Jack Profumo resigned after apologising for lying to the House.
The resignations for ‘revenge’, such as the gutter-snipe tactics of Geoffrey Howe or Michael Heseltine, who resigned in pique after not getting their own way in Margaret Thatcher’s time, I don’t include in the ‘honourable list’, nor do I include the corrupt and corruptible Peter Mandelson, who was forced to resign twice in dubious circumstances. Tony Bliar resigned because he knew the game wa up, and his wife was always on about making more money from the fools who were still beguiled by his ‘image’, one ideal at least which has come very, very true indeed!
So it is with some surprise that I salute Stewart Stevenson for an action which goes against the new traditions of just about every Party in the land, and is certainly one which I forecast will not be followed by many more; mainly because possibly 97% of the remaining politicians in Britain do not know how to even spell ‘honour’, never mind knowing what it means and represents.