As the General Election campaign attempts to resume its rhythm following the tragic events of Monday, some integrity issues have emerged. Beginning with the positives, yesterday I had the pleasure of chairing a hustings in Brighton to which all parties apart from the Conservatives showed up. One of the people who shone out from amongst the candidates and their representatives who attended was Charley Sabel who is standing as an Independent in Hove. She is not new to Politics in that she once worked for a Conservative MP in Parliament and she used to vote Lib Dem. Everything she spoke about and said made sense and I agreed with almost everything she said. If I lived in Hove, based on our meeting and her approach to yesterdays event I would certainly vote for her. I believe she would make a first class MP based on all I heard and saw. Today I am heading over to Bognor Regis to campaign for someone I have known for many years. Paul Sanderson is one of the great and good people who live in Littlehampton. He is standing as an Independent against Nick Gibb. Like Charley, Paul has a huge hill to climb, because so much of our political system is unfairly weighted in the favour of parties and disadvantages Independents. The spending limits set at a local level apply to all candidates, yet candidates from national parties have the confidence that their part gets to spend more than their local limit for each constituency that they have a candidate for. That is just one of the reasons why I believe our democratic processes need reforming. However money is not the only area where integrity is lost down the drain.
I discovered yesterday that Zac Goldsmith is standing in his old constituency at the election on behalf of the Tories. This comes some 8 months after he resigned as a Tory because he disagreed with their policy on Heathrow expansion. They then conveniently did not put up a candidate against his ‘independent’ candidacy but he still lost. However now 6 months after that by-election he has been welcomed back into the Party as though he never left. Indeed his membership was probably continuous because subscriptions are collected annually.
A second and perhaps more brazen lack of integrity shone through following Jeremy Corbyns carefully worded speech about terrorism, wars and Manchester. The Tories reacted with fury and blamed him for all sorts of things. However his words are consistent with what David Cameron and Boris Johnson had to say after terrorist incidents which took place when they were in opposition. The really disturbing aspect of yesterdays politics is that Boris was one of those who criticised Jeremy for saying almost exactly what he had said a decade ago. Total charlatans.
We need a new way of doing Politics, and we need it now.