Some infamous person said that all political careers end in failure. There is some truth in it. But who makes that judgement? It seems rather harsh. But then it can't be any harsher say, than Winston Churchill's rejection at the hands of the electorate in 1945, when to cap that humiliation said voters delivered a landslide to the man Churchill famously described as being 'modest, with so much to be modest about.'
I am minded to think of the issue of political failure having just read a review by John Booth on the Lobster website of An Inconvenient Death: How the Establishment Covered Up the David Kelly Affair by Miles Goslett. I was an MP at the time of Kelly's death and looking back, I now regret not having done anything about it. Others did of course, raising questions, etc. I may have signed Early Day Motions on the subject but that would be about it.
I think much of what goes on in parliament is delegated by colleagues to those MPs who take an interest in particular issues. Most MPs have their specialities, and of course no individual can specialise in everything. My specialisation became climate change, and I found that developing a reputation in that field led to a certain amount of delegation to me by other MPs who trusted me to get on with it. This form of trust is endemic, to the rather obvious point where you simply have to trust 'your side' to do the right thing, by and large. Most MPs (possibly all, but I can't say that for sure) will troop through the lobbies voting for or against legislation they haven't the vaguest idea what it's about. Indeed, much of their understanding where it exists, particularly on the more contentious issues will have been gleaned from lobbying from pressure groups or special interests.
Reading John Booth's review (I haven't yet had the chance to read the book) I would now support the call for a proper inquest into Kelly's death. There are too many unanswered questions - questions which perhaps were not raised in parliament at the time. I wish I had raised them, and regret I didn't. But to support the call for an inquest now is one way to make amends. 38 Degrees have a live petition on the subject here. It has about 7,000 signatories so far.
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