Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Who Guards the Guards?

I watched an interesting report on Newsnight last night. Granted it was presented with its tongue firmly in its cheek (to mask the despair, one feels), it asked the qeustion why there is no law against British MPs lying. Visiting several MPs, including Jack Straw, it first gained their consensus that a.) they represent the sovereignty of the people, and b.) they had an obligation to be honest to the electorate and in the work they did for the electorate. So why isn't there a law against a politician lying in matters of Government business, they were asked. Because you can't have a law against lying, they replied; everybody lies. To which the interviewer cited the Merchant Act, the Trader's Act, the Trade Descriptions Act, etc. There are laws against lying. For instance, a company director can be chased through the courts for lying to his shareholders. Well, replied the politicians, once a politician lies their career is over. When pushed on this, they had to admit that the last politician whose career was over for lying, was currently back in office in a senior role. But, the politicians persisted, and again they were all as one on this issue, we don't need to bring a case of lying to the courts when we have a rigorous self-regulatory system. Exactly, countered the interviewer; how can a case of political lying be properly addressed when the defendant (eg. Gordon Brown) is their own prosecutor, judge and jury.
All joking aside, it seemed like a fair argument in favour of criminalising political deceit to me, and judging by our own experiences with 'deceitful', or is that just 'forgetful', ministers, could be just as applicable here.
It's not dissimilar from the university environment here. Though not a case of lying, I believe we had a case where a senior lecturer, angry at spam, mail-bombed a server (ie. he wrote a computer program to continually mail a website thus causing its server to crash). Inadvertently he brought down the ISP hosting the site (though the lecturer should really have known this would happen). I know someone in the ISP affected. To the best of my knowledge, he received not even a rap on the knuckles. Self-policing is a wonderful thing. Great for the police anyway.


At 2:27 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the man has got his eye on you!


Post a Comment

<< Home