POLITICIANS get a lot of stick these days. They are not well regarded. Less trusted than estate agents, journalists and bankers according to this poll taken three years ago, I can hardly imagine their standing has improved since.
The dangers of generalisation, however, are many. There is proof of that in the persons of several present and former politicians who are undeniably individuals of good faith, diligence and principle. Kate Hoey, Frank Field, Gisela Stewart, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Norman Tebbit, Sarah Champion, John Redwood and Lucy Allan are just some names that spring to mind.
There’s one more that needs to be added to the roll call of principle: Graham Stringer MP. You may ask, Why?
This week he’s acknowledged and articulated what many of us fear – that the political establishment’s sense of entitlement has taken over their sense of democracy. In a short article for Brexit Central this week that could mark a crucial development, he points to the core reasons for Wednesday night’s ‘rebellion’ against their own leadership by Labour MPs, amongst them Caroline Flint and Jim Fitzpatrick, who have behaved well and honourably.
Stringer explains why the Referendum result must be honoured by Parliament and why the Becketts, Amunnas and the Benns, along with their specious arguments, deserve castigating. And he does it succinctly:
‘They . . . make the seemingly sensible point that “nobody voted to make themselves poorer”. Of course they didn’t. Nor did they vote to make themselves richer, or anything else. They simply voted to Leave. Adding extra conditions is casuistry of the worst kind.’
It’s a brave and timely statement – and most importantly because it comes from within the Labour political camp:
‘The EU debate has exposed a shallowness in our democracy that many did not suspect. The Remain establishment cannot believe the hoi polloi did not accept their advice to remain in the EU, they assume these people must be stupid or too old to reason. It has always been an essential part of our democracy that all votes are equal and that the minority accepts the majority decision. Both these fundamentals are being challenged by the political establishment of left and right whose sense of entitlement has overtaken their sense of democracy.’
If the principled Mr Stringer were leader of the Labour Party, I might feel sorely tempted to vote for him.