Friday, March 30, 2012

Keeping quiet

E. M. Forster is quoted as saying "If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."

Several obituaries to Lord (Keith) Newton of Braintree have claimed that he was the only other politician to have known of the affair between John Major and Edwina Currie back in the eighties when they were in government but before he was leader of his party and prime minister. If he did know he cetainly kept quiet about it and won himself some warm tributes for his personal loyalty.

I'm not so sure. Did not his complicity in the cover-up amount to an abuse of political power? Had word of their affair ever got out it is highly unlikely that Mr Major would have won any subsequent party or national elections. Was this not a historically significant deception? Did not the electorates have a right to weigh such knowledge about their candidate before casting their votes? By withholding this vital piece of information did not Mr Newton ensure that John Major's campaigns for leadership were based on a false prospectus? Was this any more than a spectacular denial of democracy, the people's right to know and judge for itself?

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