Tuesday, 10 May 2011

David Laws

Now, don't think for one minute that I approve of extravagant expenses claims from MPs. As far as I'm concerned, the guilty ones should be put in a gigantic duck house and floated out to sea. And, hopefully, a sea creature will take a liking to them and save us the trouble of having to clear up the mess afterwards. However, I do have sympathy for David Laws, even when it emerged today that he has been found guilty of breaking parliamentary regulations. The full report will be published on Thursday but Twitter is currently slamming him through a grinder and I wanted to voice some support.

My attitude towards Lib Dems as a rule at the moment is... strained. I want to punch the screen every time I see Nick Clegg's ghostly face appear on it; I loathe Danny Alexander for his arrogance and/or stupidity. As for Vince Cable... Well, I have respect for the man's politics but I do wish he'd make a stand on occasion. He's terribly uncomfortably in the Coalition, a condition that is plain for anyone to see, and not standing by his principles is unforgivable. David Laws, it'll be remembered, was a prime engineer behind the Coalition negotiations - but let's not hold that against him. Even I have to admit that some things the government are doing are well-intentioned, if badly implemented. And that's the point on which I feel Laws could've helped. As crazy as this may sound under the circumstances, I trust the guy in matters of politics and finance. I also believe that, had he not resigned as Chief Secretary, the noises coming from the Treasury would've been a lot more palatable. Danny Alexander is almost incompetent, and his shocking arrogance makes him even more unappealing. If Nick Clegg is set on repeating that Lib Dems did not go into politics to make cuts, he better make sure Alexander is in earshot because he's towing the wrong party line.

David Laws is a competent and talented individual who made an error of judgement. He didn't intend to profit by it; he just wanted his private life to be kept private. If I recall correctly, even his family didn't know that he was gay. No self-righteous person can stand there and criticise a situation like that. Laws apologised for his act and stood down right away - a lesser man would've waited to be pushed. We've all seen the blustering of Jim Devine and Elliot Morley as they tried to wriggle out of punishment. I would argue that Laws's immediate resignation (and silence as the investigation was going on) puts him in a completely different category to the aforementioned ex-MPs.

I don't expect many people to agree with me. A lot of people on Twitter are content to hang him out to dry. Me? I want him back in the cabinet where he can actually salvage something of the mess Clegg and company have got the Lib Dems (and the country) into.

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