At last, a politician has been arrested.
The one they’ve taken in is Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, because of all the lousy things you can remember politicians doing in recent years, have any been as filthy as what she did this week, standing in a field with a placard?
Some MPs, such as Stephen Byers and others, were filmed promising to use their status to offer access to ministers, if you paid them between £3,000 and £5,000 a day. That could be seen, if you were picky about morals, as abusing your position slightly, but he only needed a mild caution, because at least he didn’t bring the good name of Parliament into disrepute by standing in front of a tree protesting about fracking.
If Caroline Lucas had any decency, instead of writing a slogan about protecting the environment on that placard, she’d have sold the space for advertising. She could still have had “Stop Climate Change” in one corner, but the rest of it would have been sold for £3,000 to £5,000 to someone reputable such as British Aerospace, and say something like “There’ll be sod-all to frack after our bombs attack”, and the reputation of our government would be intact.
Countless MPs seem to be involved in the process of lobbying, so much that it’s now an industry in which companies employ specialists to butter up politicians to influence policy, or secure the odd million-pound contract. But Caroline Lucas has taken it too far, using her position to meet a bloke with dreadlocks who lives up trees.
When Tony Blair was Prime Minister he used his post only to meet people of vital importance to the nation, like Cliff Richard and President Assad of Syria, but that Lucas woman has spent her time hobnobbing with an angry farmer and a couple who haven’t worn shoes since 1973.
Then there were all those MPs who seemed to be competing with each other to file the most imaginative claim for expenses. One of them must have thought he’d won when it was revealed he’d claimed public money to have his moat cleaned, but then must have been horrified and yelled, “Oh no, some bastard’s trumped me by claiming for a duck island.”
One or two of these were arrested, but most of them weren’t, including those who claimed tens of thousands for unnecessary second homes. Because, as they all pointed out, they weren’t breaking any rules, not like Caroline Lucas who stood only a few hundred yards from a giant drilling machine, intimidating it so much it now needs counselling at a specialist therapy unit for bullied industrial equipment.
And none of the MPs who were caught claiming all this money could possibly have been doing it for personal gain. But protesting in a Sussex village opens up so many business opportunities, lucrative sponsorship deals and chat show appearances it’s only right such selfish behaviour is what the authorities crack down on.
It could also be argued that telling a blatant lie in order to get elected could be a breach of the electoral system. To pick an example at random, if you, let’s say, won votes by pledging to abolish tuition fees but once you were elected you trebled them instead, that may bring democracy mildly into disrepute. But no one gets arrested for that, because it’s a trifle compared to the deception of Caroline Lucas, who stood for the Green Party, and then betrayed all those who voted for her by protesting in defence of the environment, a policy no one could be expected to be associated with the Green Party in any way.
Or imagine if you’d insisted, throughout an election campaign, that you would absolutely not under any circumstances raise VAT to 20 per cent, and then a week after the election you raised VAT to 20 per cent. Could that, if you were to examine it carefully, be seen to contain a hidden mistruth? Maybe, but not as much as someone who pledges to oppose fracking, and then once elected opposes fracking. Such behaviour makes a mockery of our constitution; is it any wonder politicians aren’t trusted?
Another issue that might have resulted in a small arrest could have been the politicians who led the country into a war on a premise that turned out to be a pile of nonsense. As this is a week for locking people up if they’ve jeopardised our national security, maybe that jeopardised it a bit, as it appears to have angered some people in the Middle East. But across that region the local population will be yelling, “Thank God the British have finally arrested one of their politicians. Because the one who ruined everything was that Green Party woman from Brighton. Every time she waved that placard it caused another of our buildings to collapse. Now she is arrested at last we may sleep in peace.”
Her arrest, along with the other protesters, according to a police spokesman, was due to the fact she was “disrupting the life of the village”. So now they’ll be able to carry on with their tranquil lives, enjoying the sweet morning coo of a 25-ton boring drill clacking into the earth to extract gas in a process likely to cause underground tremors, without it being spoilt by the racket of a Sussex MP standing in the mud.