Who invented the phrase ‘terminological inexactitude’?  It had to be a politician really didn’t it?  Winston Churchill, perhaps our greatest ever politician first uttered those words in 1906.  

In one of my earlier blogs I think I said one thing I didn’t want to do was get too political here, after all I do have clients who read this.  However over the weekend I had a slight disagreement on Twitter with an MP and it got me thinking.  Are there any honest politicians left out there?  Possibly fewer still are there any brave politicians out there, of either hue?  

So to recount my minor spat to give some context, on Saturday night I was watching like probably most other people the amazing 3 British golds at the track and field.  Ennis, Rutherford and Farrah did us proud and what a great night it was.  I’d had a couple of drinks and was chatting with one or two people on twitter when I noticed an MP (Karl Turner – Labour Hull) had started getting irate with David Cameron for not mentioning Jess Ennis yet congratulating the other two gold medalists.  He was essentially remarking how Cameron was a sexist and by not mentioning Ennis was showing his true colours, not to mention retweeting others with similar views.  Now I have to say I’m not Cameron’s biggest fan but earlier in the evening I had noticed him congratulate Jessica Ennis, he simply did it in chronological order and I’m guessing he was either there or watching somewhere.  I pointed this out to Karl, that Cameron had mentioned Ennis in a tweet and pointed him in the direction of said tweet.  Karl almost immediately responded not with an ‘oops I was wrong, didn’t see it’ or anything similar but with ‘It’s my view and I’m entitled to it’ before continuing to make the same point to lots of other people.

Well yes we’re all allowed to have views on lots of issues that differ, I’m sure we disagree on many things but to use this as a defense for which you’re simply factually incorrect about is a nonsense.  I’ve had a fair few debates with Karl of late on different things and I’m sure he’s a decent chap but I do think this is indicative of a much wider problem.  

Yes this is a tiny issue that nobody probably cares about but as mentioned I’d had a few drinks and this simply irked me.  Here was an elected MP clearly lying about a factual event to score political capital.  This got me thinking, when was the last time you heard an MP say ‘I was wrong’?  I’m not referring to falling on their sword when they resign or when they’ve been found out about fiddling expenses or anything like that but on an issue of policy or party difference can anyone think of someone saying I was wrong?  I’d wager there’s very few occasions (possible exception of Osbornes recent budget).  Wouldn’t we respect them a lot more if they did though?  Just once in a while if you heard an MP say ‘I’ve considered this situation again and I’ve come to the conclusion I was wrong’ wouldn’t you actually be quite impressed?  Not to mention taken aback!

In modern politics it seems that being seen to be wrong is the worst crime possible.  How many times have we watched politicians being interviewed and cringed?  Michael Howard on Newsnight springs to mind, asked the same question about 13 times and still no answer.  Why can’t politicians answer simple questions either?  It seems the skills one needs now to be a good politician are no longer a passion for change or idealistic beliefs in how to make a better society but things like how to evade questions, how to manipulate information.  It’s something I’m fast losing sympathy with, both parties are essentially in one long tussle for the fabled ‘centre ground’ and they’ll say anything to get there.  Yet at the same time there’s a constant need to discredit their opponents, again can anyone remember a time the opposition said something along the lines of ‘yes I agree with that policy, we’ll back it’?  It’s incredibly rare yet does anyone really believe the opposition would be that different in their policies on most major issues?  Alistair Darling’s plans certainly weren’t that dissimilar from George Osborne’s before the last elections.  

I actually do think if we had another credible option outside the two major parties, one that incorporated some straight talking people who didn’t get bogged down in the political infighting of Westminster village they’d stand a very good chance of doing well at an election.  The British public are sick of MP’s prevaricating and dissembling, a little honesty, some decent ethics and an ability to communicate like a normal functioning human being would be very refreshing indeed. 

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