And are we asking the right questions? There are now, ten contenders for the job of Tory Prime Minister (and counting!) and I guarantee that most people won’t know most of them from Adam – apart from Boris Johnson, seen here in full unpleasant roar. And possibly Michael Gove, seen here looking smug as usual.
Where should we be looking? I would suggest it should be at the things and people that matter. Our society is falling further and further into confusion, destruction and poverty. Walk down any high street and you will see more and more shops closed or closing, visit any food bank and you will see more and more people struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Our GPs are finding it more and more difficult to cope, our hospitals are under appalling pressure, schools are strapped for cash and report more children in extreme poverty by the day. And all the media are interested in is giving publicity and air time to these unprincipled men and women.
Perhaps what we should be reminding ourselves about are The 7 principles of public life, written by Lord Nolan in 1995. They are as follows and as pertinent as they were when they were written.
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. I wonder how many of the pushy ten have ever given that a thought.
Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
Holders of public office should be truthful. Are you listening Boris Johnson!
Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.
I suspect that the ten or more pushy hopefuls for May’s job would not be able to agree to a single one. And if this is the case what sort of leadership are they going to offer us?
We live in appalling times.