The Strategist

The Sewel & Bercow exposes are political hypocrisies British style

07/28/2015 - 12:34

The Sun tabloid has torn apart the suave pride typically associated with British politicians. Read on to find out hilarious titbits regarding two of our speakers.

Although British politicians are a proud lot, and showcases their parliamentary model of democratic politics as something to be proud of, however, two high profile scandals have revealed an underlying hypocrisy at its core and have scarred its much cherished reputation.
In the first, John Sewel, the deputy speaker of the House of Lords, was filmed snorting, what The Sun reported as cocaine. If that wasn’t enough, he was accompanied by two prostitutes.
In the second, as per a request from the freedom of information act, have shown that the speaker of the lower house of parliament, Mr. John Bercow, had included certain expenses in his claims that raised widespread claims about the usage of public funds.
In both cases, hypocrisy occupied the centre stage. Whereas Lord Sewel was heading the committee in change of discipline and standards in the upper chamber, while Mr. Bercow has expansively lectures students that integrity is an essential quality required of lawmakers. He has also helped oversee the introduction of more transparent standards after a devastating revelation of parliamentary expenses expose in 2009.
Both of these instances are now looming large in the British parliament, which is sometimes referred to as ‘the mother of parliaments’. Expectedly it has also fuelled deep scepticism concerning the levels of propriety and integrity of British politicians.
The Sun featured Mr. Sewel prominently in its front page, clad in an orange bra and a black leather jacket, which he presumably borrowed from one of his accompanying prostitutes. He was also shown snorting a white powder through a rolled up five pound note. The words “Lord Coke” was prominently displayed on the front page.
These two cases are likely to call for an overhaul of the House of the Lords, a chamber which houses more than 800 members. As per critics, this institution needs trimming as many of those occupying the seats are political appointees placed by the Prime Minister.
Mr. Sewel is in the eye of the storm with his usage of expletives recorded in the same video wherein he is seen telling his scantily clad female companions that he along and those from the House of Lords did no work despite receiving generous daily allowance merely to show up and keep their chairs warm.
"(This) doesn't leave us with a very good smell under the nose of the public quite frankly," said Betty Boothroyd on BBC radio. Betty is a former speaker from the House of Commons who is now a member of the House of Lords. "I'm very ashamed of what he's done because he's brought the House into some disrepute."
Interestingly, less than two weeks ago, Mr. Sewel had written an article boasting of how the House of Lords had taken steps to protect its image. In it he had written that only a small number of lords broke rules while the majority understood the attachment of personal honor that is intrinsically linked to members of the House of Lords.
Facing an investigation by the police and from parliamentary authorities, Mr. Sewel resigned from his post as deputy speaker. He is also under immense pressure to not return to the parliament pending the completion of the investigation.
"In the light of their outcome I will review my long term position," said Sewel in a letter to the clerk of the parliaments.
As for Mr. Bercow, granted that his case is not as colourful as Mr. Sewel's but and the pressure for him to quit is not as intense despite the fact that his statement of expenses caused a media frenzy.
He has, at exorbitant cost, frequently used an official car to travel relatively short distances to attend events. He also spent more than 13,000 pounds for visiting the Australian parliament. More interestingly, his statement of accounts show that he has spent several hundred pounds of liquor for his parliamentary allies.
A spokesperson for Bercow clarified that Mr. Bercow was always "mindful of costs" but since he had a duty to attend public events and sometimes needed an official car "to facilitate timing requirements."
However, Andy Silvester, campaign director for the Taxpayers' Alliance, said Bercow's expenses claims were "obscene."
"The idea that you can somehow come up with a 172-pound-journey taking less than a mile is ludicrous. You could fly to Rome on Ryanair for that. Clearly something has gone horribly wrong."
Source: Reuters

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