Monday, July 23, 2007

Trust Meter On Empty

We've heard a lot recently about how the great and the not so good are going to rebuild our trust in them.

The £570bn pa dysfunctional government is going to rebuild it after narrowly wriggling out of the slammer for selling - ahem -"honours". The £3.3bn pa biased BBC is going to rebuild it after being proved the bunch of overpaid fakes we always knew they were. And lo-cal lo-carb Dave is going to rebuild it after 18 months of crypto-minging. Well, no, scrub the last one.

I wish I could find a reason to believe.

I really do. I really want to believe things will only get better.

But the fact is that every time I put my trust in any of these people, the next thing I know, they've let me down.

And it's not just the highly distressing case of Auditor General Sir J Bourn, although, as someone whose jib I once greatly admired, I do feel particularly let down by him (see many previous blogs eg here).

It's pretty well all of them. As soon as they climb into the cockpit of state, or even just get a sniff of its finely tooled leather upholstery, they can't wait to lose the very thing we value most in our rulers- I N T E G R I T Y.

Nick Herbert is the latest.

Nick's a very bright boy, and until 2005 was head of the excellent Reform think tank. I heard him speak a few times, and he always impressed me with his informed commitment to smaller government and the reform of public services based on choice and competition.

Then he became an MP, parachuted in to take over the safe Tory seat of Arundel and South Down from the unfortunate Howard Flight. I had great hopes for him, and he's achieved rapid advancement.

But sadly, he's gone to the dark side. Last week, we discovered he'd been at the corporate hospitality trough: BBC Biased reported he was among five MPs (including also Shadow Chief Secretary Theresa Villiers, supposedly the Tory frontbencher most concerned with cutting government waste) who had accepted a £255 boonie ticket to Glastonbury.

Now it's no surprise that the BBC thinks it's perfectly OK to spend £68 grand OF OUR MONEY on corporate schmoozing at Glastonbury- they do it all the time, from Wimbledon to the Albert Hall. But WTF does Herbert think it's OK to accept? WTF didn't he blow the whistle and scream about the waste of taxpayers' funds?

I'm sitting here still shaking my head. Maybe I'm just too naive. But once again, I feel badly let down by one of the few members of the ruling elite I thought I could trust.

As a North American BOM reader commented under a previous post, "I have found a good rule of thumb is to disbelieve ANYTHING a politician or salesman tells me (and keep my hand on my wallet) until I've done my own research."

Who'd want to argue?


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