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Are we doomed to a future of characterless, robotic politicians?

June 16th, 2010 Posted in UK Politics by

News just in from north of the border: Labour MSP Frank McAveety has resigned after being caught making a few casual remarks about the attractiveness of a (presumably) young woman.

The BBC has the story.

A friend linked me this earlier in the day and my initial reaction was “pffft, what a load of nonsense about nothing.” At that point the “load of nonsense” consisted of a few blog posts, and the SNP sanctimoniously demanding a resignation.

But now the storm has spiralled out of the teacup. It is actual news, and he has actually quit.

What exactly has he done to warrant this? An apology, sure, was rightfully called for – more for being caught than anything else. “Sorry I was mumbling inane nonsense when I should have been working.”  That kind of thing. But a resignation? Really?

People often complain that it’s increasingly impossible to go into politics if one has done anything in one’s past that might be considered remotely socially unacceptable–or if one shows the slightest sign of human weakness. I have some sympathy for this line of thought.  Do we really want to drive away every candidate who’s prone to a moment of mumbling about someone they fancy? Do we really want a Parliament of Nu-Lab-Blair-esque robotic yes (wo)men?

I dunno, this seems ridiculous.

7 Responses to “Are we doomed to a future of characterless, robotic politicians?”

  1. Bernie Hughes Says:

    Living in the Glasgow area, I’m no fan of McAveety. But I agree that this story is completely ridiculous. Unfortunately, the Labour v. SNP struggle is even more characterised by pantomime sanctimoniousness than politics generally.

  2. Niklas Smith Says:

    Ridiculous, I agree.

    The strange thing is that in Northern Ireland their politicians are so colourful that many of them said extremely offensive things about their fellow citizens for years, and some even had people killed. Yet no resignations….

    Even Peter Robinson is still hanging on to his position as First Minister despite being mired in corrupt land deals and being trounced for that reason by Naomi Long of the Alliance Party.

    I think the ideal attitude lies somewhere between these two extremes.

  3. Niklas Smith Says:

    And I can barely believe the sanctimoniousness of this BBC blog post:

  4. tony flaig Says:

    Does anyone have a picture of the young lady? I think it vital if one is to fully consider the issue.

  5. GF Says:

    There might be two reasons why he resigned (and only as convener of the committee):

    1) The “woman” was 15 [and as a former teacher, I’m sure Mr. McAveety could have known that].
    2) He suggested she be added to his team purely based on her looks, which is a bit crony-tastic and definitely sleazy.

  6. Julian H Says:

    On the two points above:

    1. I disagree. We’ve all known 15 year olds who look 20, and 20 year olds who look 15.

    2. That was, presumably, a joke. If he actually had offered her a job, then sure, the case would be different.

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