Saturday, 27 June 2009

No more ethical foreign policy?

"Don't do as I do, do as I say" is unlikely to work as a basis for a successful foreign policy. From today's FT:

Britain’s strictures to foreign governments are being mocked from Iran to the Turks and Caicos Islands, as world leaders seize on stories about MPs’ bloated expenses claims as evidence of moral decay in the UK.

Accounts of MPs billing the taxpayer for duck houses and moat cleaning have been lapped up around the world and have posed a problem for British diplomats who have previously been vocal in criticising corruption.

Mark Malloch-Brown, the foreign office minister, deleted sections of a speech he gave in Mozambique this month, fearing that his comments on higher standards of governance might be greeted with scorn. His fears may have been justified, judging by the apparent delight being shown by leaders in recent days over the Westminster expenses scandal.


Markbaldy said...

How can politicians make rules that we are expected to abide by when they themselves are no better than common criminals.
In fact common criminals are better in that they would openly admit what they are - this shower are that hard faced, they simply brush it aside.
No politician will ever be able to tell me how to run my life and how to behave, MY standards are way above theirs.
And what an example they set to young people - no wonder the UK has a yob culture problem with these corrupt bast*rds to look up to... mentors ?... I don't fuc*ing think so !

K T Cat said...

I think it's a mistake to make too much of hypocrisy in foreign policy. As an American, I feel forever indebted to England and the world she helped shape for centuries. Whatever the moral component of British foreign policy might have been, my life is better because of you and your ancestors.

Here in San Diego, I'm sure the Kumeyaay indians were morally superior. Had we followed their example, we'd all be digging for tubers with sticks.

Anonymous said...


The moral standards of MPs reflect those of their constituents.

The majority of people that I have worked with (in both the public and private sector) will claim expenses for whatever they can get away with, and think it odd that you don't.

(Indeed, you are a menace because your legitimate claims make theirs look excessive.)

dearieme said...

I'm confident that Mark Malloch-Brown, the foreign office minister, can elicit plenty of scorn without any help from the House of Commons.