Politics has been brought into disrepute: MPs should swear to serve the common good

This is the theme of a petition to David Cameron initiated by Barbara Hayes.*

At the G-7 meeting in Brussels in June, the PM urged leaders of the world’s largest economies to “address the real cancer eating away at the world’s economic and political systems: corruption”. His recommendation, “the three Ts: greater transparency, fair tax systems and freer trade”. In 2013 he ‘put Liberia ‘on notice’:

cameron corruption

“You see the speck in your brother’s eye but fail to notice the beam in your own”

Barbara Hayes is more radical, pointing to the need for honest decision-makers dedicated to serving the public good and not their own self-interest, rather than mere structural changes. She writes – in a personal capacity:

“People talk of voter apathy but in fact many voters are frustrated & dismayed by a political elite that appears self serving or serving vested interests. Decisions are made based on ideology, vested interest and the power of the lobby rather than on the interests of the people affected.

“The expenses scandal, bribes for questions, the possibility of a cover up of child abuse and other instances repeatedly bring politics into disrepute so it’s not surprising that people don’t trust politicians and don’t see the point of voting.

“We need to change the whole ethos of our democracy.

“Politicians need to be regularly reminded that they are elected to serve the people rather than just to pursue a political career”.

Barbara Hayes points out that – though MPs’ only formal promise is an oath of allegiance to the Queen and her heirs – their Code of Conduct lists the duties of MPs:

  • To bear true allegiance to the Queen and her successors,
  • To uphold the law,
  • To act in the interests of the nation as a whole, especially their constituents
  • To act with probity and integrity.

She comments: “These duties are pretty minimal. We are all meant to uphold the law, but to encapsulate the Code and to remind us all of the purpose of politics MPs should also swear ‘to serve the common good honestly’ . . . ‘the common good’ could become a test of policy . . . Words are powerful and a public statement of commitment will help MPs and voters to recognise what politics should be about & begin to make that real.

To read the petition, follow the link here.

*Now a freelance consultant, Barbara Hayes worked as an industrial chaplain for twenty years, with people of every faith and none, in all sizes of organisations in the public and private sectors. 

Posted on August 20, 2014, in Conflict of interest, Corporate political nexus, Democracy undermined, Government, Lobbying, MPs, Parliamentary failure, Revolving door, Reward for failure, Secret State, Taxpayers' money, Vested interests and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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