Ev­ery­body makes mis­takes

The Oban Times - - Births, Marriages & Deaths -

Public fig­ures are of­ten de­fined or re­mem­bered by their mis­takes, but it is rare for their ca­reers to end as a con­se­quence. Ob­serv­ing the pro­ceed­ings of the gen­eral elec­tion in May and its reper­cus­sions, I can’t help think­ing that a fairer sys­tem of deal­ing with dis­sem­bling politi­cians and other vi­o­la­tions should be con­sid­ered.

Fail­ure to dis­charge public duty should not be re­garded as ac­cept­able con­duct and the Scot­tish peo­ple should en­cour­age the in­tro­duc­tion of statu­tory mea­sures to deal with such cases. All elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to act in the best in­ter­ests of those who elect them; and breaches of trust, codes of con­duct or moral au­thor­ity should not be al­lowed to go un­chal­lenged.

In any other pro­fes­sional en­vi­ron­ment, such fail­ures would be re­garded as mis­con­duct and the in­di­vid­ual re­spon­si­ble held to ac­count. Shouldn’t we ex­pect the same dis­ci­plinary pro­to­cols for Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment, the Scot­tish par­lia­ment and lo­cal coun­cils? I don’t think any­one should nec­es­sar­ily go to jail for break­ing prom­ises, but I do think the peo­ple of Scot­land have a right to ex­pect pro­bity, loy­alty, com­mit­ment and some record of achieve­ment from those en­trusted to rep­re­sent their in­ter­ests, and who are re­mu­ner­ated from public funds.

It is not be­yond imag­i­na­tion to in­tro­duce mea­sures to re­move any elected rep­re­sen­ta­tive from of­fice quickly if it can be proven that they have com­mit­ted a wrong­do­ing. That way, the elec­torate might re­gain some con­trol over the demo­cratic process held so dear in ev­ery con­stituency and ev­ery ward.

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