Leadership without accountability is poor practice. So, put your hand up if you have heard a politician taking responsibility for their bad decision making? It does not happen. Well not since Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington in 1982 for neglecting the Falkland’s defences. Carrington was the last politician to admit he made a mistake and put principle ahead of career. Amber Rudd like John Profumo in 1963 resigned for lying. In today’s politics, the fault is always somewhere else for which the politician will apologise. However, the politician’s resignation will not follow the apology. If as a society, we are to raise our children to have personal responsibility for their actions, then so must all leaders. And that will not happen unless we press for change.
Personal Ambition Over Responsibility
There is no shortage of Tories vying for number 10. But too many politicians are career minded and unaccountable to the people who elected them. Boris Johnson, a dishonest politician deliberately misled the public on Brexit and NHS funding. He was then promoted to Foreign Secretary. And Foreign Secretary Johnson endangered the life of a British citizen (it would not be the first time). Johnson apologised and remains in post.
Theresa May former Home Secretary dishonestly claimed that a cat prevented the deportation of an undocumented migrant. And in the words of May, ‘I kid you not’. Even so, May became Prime Minister and remains so despite the Windrush Scandal. But, racism may be a requirement of being a Tory.
Grenfell was a social housing disaster waiting to happen. An all-party parliamentary group was pushing for a review of fire-related building regulations since 2013. Successive housing ministers promised a review but did not hold one. Ministers included Gavin Barwell, May’s current chief of staff. Despite the Grenfell tragedy, Barwell remains in post. And when Johnson was London Mayor he told the London Fire Safety Panel to ‘Get stuffed’ over fire station closures. He is now Foreign Secretary.
The British government has had to apologise to Abdel-Hakim Belhaj & Fatima Boudchar for our role in their torture. But the government is not holding then-Foreign Secretary Jack Straw or MI6 officer Mark Allen personally responsible for their role in flouting international law.
Avoiding Legal Responsibility
The lack of personal responsibility came in with neo-liberalism and the era of Thatcher, Reagan and Gordon Geko. So, rarely do we see leaders held accountable for deliberate violations of the laws that govern them. No RBS bankers have been jailed for swindling customers or HSBC bankers for money laundering. But Establishment is very keen to hold all other citizens responsible for obeying the law and paying taxes. Therefore, the prison population of England & Wales rose by about 90% between 1990 and 2016, an average rise of 3.5% per annum.
Direct Responsibility Direct Democracy
So, leaders should also be responsible for their actions. In order to break the trend of non-accountability Citizens have to engage in direct democracy. Zak Goldsmith wanted to adopt the Californian model of recalling elected representatives. So, where a public representative is failing to perform, like not prosecuting bankers, the public would have a right of recall. And the right to remove a failing representative.
However, when the politicians had the opportunity to introduce it, they voted it down as an ‘Intrinsic corruption of our democracy.’ But it is this form of direct democracy that will make politics more transparent and hold power to account.
Connect with me on Twitter and FB
Catch-up radio shows on Mixcloud
Editorial Policy: Use quotations from this article subject to a full credit of the source and a direct link to the article on imjussayin.com