Sometimes MPs are beyond help. They are their own worse enemies. They cannot be saved from the pubic’s views of them. I write this with a heavy heart as someone who himself stood for parliament and holds the institution and those who work within it (Dr J spent three years working in the House of Commons) in the highest esteem as as someone who knows many MPs past and present. As well as being a huge fan of Nick Clegg, I also appear to hold another seriously unpopular view; MPs do a good job. They are mostly unfairly treated by the public and the media and deserve much greater credit and respect than they receive.
Enter the Honourable Member for Ealing North, Mr Steven Pound MP. He and a small band of brothers – they all appeared to be brothers rather than sisters from what I could see – made complete and utter fools of themselves today with their public mourning the silencing of Big Ben.
Just to be clear, I like Steven Pound. I have met him. He is a funny man and is deeply committed to his work as an MP and his constituency. But today, he and his pals, played to all the worse publicity-grabbing, attention-seeking, self-obsessed instincts found in human nature and by doing so handed those who wish to beat MPs with a stick a large piece of two by four and placed a target on their backs and on the Palace of Westminster itself.
I know there will be some who say it was just a bit of fun – a joke – and that I shouldn’t be so poe-faced. Fair enough. But I would say that whilst Mr Pound and co messed about next to Big Ben, this small Ben cares more about the mess of Brexit and the need to rebalance our economy to breath more life into the north; the ongoing and deeply depressing threat we face in Europe from terrorism; the state of the Prime Minister’s leadership; the impending doom in the far east and President Trump’s conduct there and inside the USA; the need to sort out social care in the UK and the unsustainable funding and approach to delivering the NHS; and the need for us to sort out the provision of mental health services for all, including young men who are killing themseleves in record numbers, often because help is not available to them.
Parliament and its members should be minding the people’s business on these issues and others beside, not mincing about for the cameras. I like a joke but today’s silly antics made parliament into the joke and that is not funny. Not at all.
Photo is a screenshot from video posted by Paul Waugh on Twitter: https://twitter.com/paulwaugh/status/899590801478561792