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A matter of principle? Nope. You’ve lost me there, I’m afraid.

Posted on September 17, 2019

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I’ve made the point before but, really, what’s a writer to do? There is now absolutely nothing that anyone could make up that could be written off as beyond the pale – too absurd to even think about. So a dip into this week’s hellish lucky bag of the Bosch painting that is British politics sees us gingerly fishing out…..

…..David Cameron’s book, ‘For the Record’. The cheek of it is almost admirable. In a damning confession of my own ignorance of popular culture, the only thing I really know about Danny Dyer is that he once gave an honest and accurate assessment of Cameron’s contribution to British public life. The language may have been fruity, but the point was clear. Here was a man who made a shocking misjudgement and then, when things went horribly wrong, ran away – his own income, lifestyle and prospects entirely unaffected by his ineptitude and arrogance. Twat covers it nicely.

Given current circumstances, it’s naïve to comment on the disloyalty to his former colleagues inherent in his publishing these grubby scribblings at the height of their discomfiture and, much more importantly, that of the entire country. Greater love has no man that he lay down his friends for his life. Or his wallet. These are people who have a soiled history of stabbing each other in the front when big prizes are at stake; there’s no honour in this pit of thieves. The current prime minister, Cameron tells us, only chose to support Brexit because he thought it would further his career. It was never a matter of principle with him. You don’t say? Remind me where bears defecate again, would you?

But then again, principles are sooo last century. The real problem is that forming them requires some concerted thinking, a consideration of the evidence as you see it, an attempt to juggle a variety of differing viewpoints that might challenge your conclusions and, ultimately, a degree of courage in defending your position. What a bloody faff. Far better to sway toward whatever stance might seem more popular for the moment. That sticking to principles business can be scratchy and uncomfortable. No-one wants any of that any more.

The voguish thing among a certain sect of destabilised parliamentarians of late has been the abandonment of their political parties. I exclude from this those victims of the Johnsonian 21-member putsch of last week. Some of them have, astonishingly, decided not to leave their tormentors – although there is, of course, a long-established tradition of curious masochistic practices in corners of the Tory party. But to see this flip-floppery of political affiliation at its febrile best, this week’s Liberal Party conference was the place to be.

One of the darling recruits to this New Remain Party is MP, Chuka Umunna. Chuka is the MP for Streatham in south London. A Labour MP. In the 2017 election as a Labour candidate, campaigning on Jeremy Corbyn’s radical manifesto, he gained 68% of the vote, a 15.5% increase from the 2105 election. For the record, in October 2016, he tweeted that ‘some have suggested that there is institutional anti-Semitism across the whole of the Labour Party. This is not a view I share because I have not seen one incident of anti-Semitism in 20 years of activism’. Good for him, good for the people of Streatham.

Except that in February of this year, Chuka felt the Labour Party was riddled with anti-Semitism and the leader was to blame so he was leaving to form a new party (kind of) called the Independent Group. Being a man of high principle, it was clear to him that he should renew his mandate with the good people of Streatham and call a bye election as he was no longer a member of the party that had supported him in his re-election. No, he didn’t; I made that up.

He didn’t call one when he got fed up with The Independent Group and joined Change UK. Or when he tired of them and became an independent MP. Or when most recently he converted to the Liberal Democrats. Five political affiliations in seven months. I hope he’s keeping a close eye on his direct debits.

Don’t like the principles of the party on whose platform you stood? Make your own platform. Can’t quite manage the face-off with your buddies in the Cabinet room? Wait until you’ve run away and call them names from afar. Can’t get you own way with parliament? Tell big, fat lies and threaten to break the law of the land that you really are supposed to die in a ditch to defend.

As the election looms, the unprincipled and the self-serving will be relying on the boredom and frustration of all of us to allow them to carry on ditching whatever acceptable codes of conduct may still cling to them – possibly by accident. So regular readers will know what comes next.

Don’t shout at the telly or slump on the sofa. Deliver a leaflet. Go out and do some canvassing  or write a petition…anything. And to really cheer yourself up – get out and support our young people this Friday as they act to protect their future. Take your cue from them, not a bunch of grasping, self-interested charlatans. It’s an easy enough choice.

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