Today's media is dominated by revelations in a book by Andrew Rawnsley, claiming that Gordon Brown has inflicted violence on civil servants working for him. These 'revelations' are very important, and cannot be dismissed in the light hearted way that underpinned Labour's rebuttal strategy today. The vehemence of Labour's spin operation today demonstrates just how seriously they take this. Their problem is that Rawnsley is a much respected journalist who convincingly says "I haven't won awards for journalism by making things up". And after all the dismissive assurances from Lord Mandelson (who claims to have taken his punishment like a man) and others, we now have Christine Pratt, head of an anti-bullying charity going public that several members of Gordon Brown's staff have been using the charity's Help Line. Another problem here is that all those people who are inclined to believe Andrew Rawnsley and Christine Pratt will logically be disbelieving Lord Mandelson.
But my question is "Does it matter that our Prime Minister could be a bullying thug"? Do the people of Britain care? Do they care if our politicians get so plastered that they are thrown out of nightclubs and fall down the stairs, and then assault the paramedic who comes to administer medical help? Does it matter if MPs sneak away on Mediterranean cruises while letting their constituents think they are working in the House of Commons? Does it matter that large donations are not properly declared? Does it matter if MPs earn a bit extra by writing salacious material for what many would think a pornographic newspaper? Have we reached the stage where public expectation of politicians is so low, that behaviour that would lead to condemnation, even dismissal in many occupations is tolerated in politicians? Actually I think it does matter. Politicians who have done these things have brought politics into disrepute, and have turned many people (especially young people) away from voting altogether. Its time for a fight back. Not some great moral crusade - just an expectation of reasonable behaviour.
I reckon that if voters knew the truth, the perpetrators would never be elected. As with MP's expenses, transparency is key. We depend on the media to keep us informed. Media that does not report this sort of behaviour becomes an extension of the deception. I sense that 'Expensesgate' has led much of the media to re-assess its policy of conspiring to deceive through silence. We have a General Election coming up. For the sake of our democracy, let the people know.