A Times columnist has hit out at people who call politicians liars and cheats, saying it “damages society”.
Matthew Syed, author of Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking, said there has become a “pervasive rush to see the worst in our political representatives” in Britain, saying TV appearances are often followed by a “tsunami of nastiness”.
“You may say: it’s their job. You may say that they have staff to help them. And this is quite true. But when we look only for the bad in MPs, when we impugn their motives, will it not discourage talented newcomers from entering the fray?,” Syed said.
He also said calling politicians out could “undermine faith in our system of government”, citing Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and George W Bush as cases in point.
But several people on social media have been unwilling to take up his point of view, saying it is the job of politicians to be honest in the first place.
Mark Davyd suggested that prevention could be better than cure, while Dan White pointed out that calling politicians out is more likely to help society.
Prevention is better than cure. Maybe we should start with them not being cheats and liars and see if there's still a problem with name calling? pic.twitter.com/kyAcr9NlNc— Mark Davyd (@markdavyd) September 13, 2021
There.— Dan White 🇪🇺♿️✊🏿🏳️🌈💙🌹🇵🇸⚫️ (@Danwhite1972) September 12, 2021
Fixed it. pic.twitter.com/VOsCwjH6lj
Last week Dawn Butler tabled an Early Day Motion calling for MPs to have power over the Ministerial Code, which holds ministers to account and prevents them from lying in Parliament.
“At the moment the prime minister is in charge of the code. So the prime minister decides if the person is lying or not,” she said.
“Think about it, the prime minister can commit a crime of lying and then the prime minister is judge and jury. It makes no sense. It’s not fair and it’s not right.”
Butler now wants constituents to email their MPs to sign the motion, “because if we care about what our job is as an MP, then we should care that our ministers do not lie when they address the Chamber”.
Around 40 MPs have signed so far, and Butler said she aims for at least 300-400 signatures.
Constituents can find out who their MP is at theyworkforyou.com and see a template email at dawnbutler.org.uk.