Do you remember Pakistani MNA Jamshed Dasti’s allegations that Parliament Lodges in Islamabad are a den of alcohol, women and drugs. We covered that on our blog as Pakistan’s two value crimes no one talks about. It has been one of the most-read/viewed posts.
Is Dasti the only one crying wolf? No. We found out that our former colonial masters, UK, too have a Jamshed Dasti in their midst. And a female one!
A week ago, UK’s Culture Minister Maria Miller had to resign because she had claimed the wrong expenses. Unlike us corruption-ridden country, UK does not tolerate such acts from their public representatives. I was amused to read the Labour Party leader’s statement in The Guardian, screen shot above.
The headline says: …MPs fail to tackle perception of misconduct. Impression MPs ‘splash about on expenses’ and get drunk in subsidised bars creates antipathy towards politics, warns Harman
I am reproducing selective paras from the Harriet Harman story, which highlight the two common enemies of decency: alcohol and related sexual offences.
Ukip will be the main beneficiary if parliament does not end the perception that MPs are “splashing about on expenses” and getting drunk in taxpayer-subsidised bars, Labour’s deputy leader has said.
Harman made the comments after a week in which the culture secretary, Maria Miller, resigned over her expenses, the Nigel Evans case exposed a hard-drinking culture in Westminster and a Channel 4 survey found that a third of parliamentary staff have experienced sexual harassment.
Speaking on Sky News’s Murnaghan programme on Sunday, Harman said: “When people are struggling in their lives, it’s the idea that we’re splashing about on expenses. When we’re making the laws that govern other people’s behaviour and we don’t seem to be able to behave ourselves. That’s why we need to put ourselves in order.”
She also said a drinking culture in parliament, which is subsidised by the taxpayer, was not good for MPs or the way the public perceive them.
All political parties are under pressure to clean up their act after a series of exposes about bad behaviour by MPs. John Bercow, the Speaker, has demanded action from the whips’ offices and there has been speculation that he could move to end the taxpayer subsidy for parliament’s bars.
The Conservatives have introduced a new code of conduct to protect staff against bullying and harassment by MPs. But the code has been criticised for being voluntary. Labour has also reviewed its complaints procedures and the Liberal Democrats have appointed a pastoral care officer in the wake of allegations that its former chief executive Lord Rennard inappropriately touched female party activists.
Over the weekend, a former senior Tory official was accused of holding a sex party at the Conservative party conference in 2011, inviting people to a taxpayer-funded suite using the networking app Grindr, which is geared towards gay, bisexual, and bi-curious men.
Concerns about booze-fuelled behaviour in the Commons have come to light following the trial of Evans, who was last week cleared of a string of sex offences. During the trial, the former deputy speaker’s defence counsel admitted he had made inappropriate passes at Westminster workers and engaged in “drunken over-familiarity” with Commons staff.
In his first interviews since he was cleared of rape and sexual assault, Evans told the Mail on Sunday he was only drunk around Westminster from “time to time” and was not “plastered every night as was claimed”.
Interesting coincidence between once a master and a slave country! They are on one page as far as booze and sex are concerned!
How could we get rid of the three curses: Corruption, alcohol and illicit sex from our midst? Tell us in the comments, below.