The Stuart MacLennan fiasco has got me worried.
Not about him in particular but about all of us.
Let’s face it, he was axed because the media would never let it go until the pound of flesh was extracted. The opposition parties, sensing endless free-hits, would also keep bashing away. Labour had no choice but to stop the gangrene by amputating the limb.
Amusingly, the other parties then continued to attack. The Tories hilariously quipped, “Why wasn’t he sacked sooner?”. The SNP, naturally, were in deep joy, seeing, as they do, Labour as the big target in this campaign.
So far so predictable.
But there is a big issue behind this. Yes, maybe Mr MacLennan was still posting silly comments to Twitter even recently, but the main source of the controversy was regarding posts made over a year ago.
Is it possible to have a life before politics now?
It seems not. I realise with each passing day that the more I write on here, the less likely it ever is that I will be allowed to enter the political world sh0uld I choose to do so in the future. And that’s because I have a huge and growing paper trail, filled with my honest beliefs, contradictions, mistakes, and general uninformed tedium.
The same is true of most of my generation, and will be true of the next one. We’re almost all on Facebook. Some of us have Twitter. All of us will post something at one point that we shouldn’t do, and could be embarrassed about in the future.
A tiny few will go into politics. And will they be held to ransom by something they may have said many years ago?
In Sarah Palin’s words, “You betcha!”
This is disastrous for political life. It seems now the only way to ensure a smooth passage into the political realm is to make sure you take a monastic vows of silence and abstinence.
The day you enter secondary school.
And don’t bother getting drunk at any point. Or taking any drugs. Hell, don’t bother with partners either. They’ll only end up selling their story to the Daily Mail or the News of the World.
Don’t join any societies. Don’t get involved in the community. In fact, just don’t speak to anyone. They may be laying an elaborate sting to set you up.
In short, just don’t bother living.
We are in grave danger of only allowing those who have lived an extraordinarily sanitised existence into politics. We are in grave danger of being represented by people who know nothing about life because they have never lived a single day of it.
Yes, we need our politicians to be beyond reproach when they’re in power. And they need to be showing some signs of that level of trustworthiness before they get there, but let’s not risk having a political class of grey nobodies with zero charisma and zero character by denying people a private life before politics.
Because if you think the current lot are bad, wait till you see who’s waiting round the corner.
Never mind Tory Boy – say hello to Anodyne Boy.