Spelman & scrutiny

June 7, 2008 at 10:24 pm | Posted in British Politics, Conservative Party | Leave a comment
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Having had the day to read about it, there’s clearly no way that Caroline Spelman’s nanny problem is of the same seriousness as the allegations made against Messrs Purvis, Dover and Chichester; it’s possible to have a degree of sympathy for the circumstances she found herself in at the time, and if the record can show that there have been no similar conflicts of interest since since ’97, then she should be given the benefit of the doubt. This allegation alone isn’t a resigning matter.

Unfortunately for Ms Spelman, she happens to be Chair of the Conservative Party, whilst the other state spongers who’ve been outed this week merely belong to the European Parliament – a body that’s pretty much banished from public consciousness as a bunch of Britain-hating bruschetta-munchers. It might be unjust that she finds the press parked outside her home whilst the other guys just get followed around Strasbourg/Brussells by a sole spotty graduate, scrutiny is the price of power, and Ms Spelman’s party had better get used to receiving more of it.

At the very least, this mini-scandal will remind those journalists who’ve feasted on Labour’s carcass for the past few months that the party of the red rosette is not the only one filled with flaws, tensions and scandals-in-the-making; nor is it the only party with questionable policies and objectionable politicians. If we are to be believed that the Conservative Party are favourites to become the next government, then it is absolutely crucial that they receive a level of scrutiny which is in proportion to their poll ratings.

As I’ve argued before, the time for such scrutiny is well overdue. If the Big Media ask the questions required and the Tories come up with compelling and convincing answers, they’ll probably be the next government in 2010. But having four party members caught up in expenses scandals in one week is so not the way to go…

Photo of Caroline Spelman by Flickr user SouthbankSteve (Creative Commons)

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