in Politics

If expenses are the problem, is Esther Rantzen the solution?

I am trying to come to terms with Esther Rantzen’s decision to stand in Luton South at the next election as an anti-sleaze candidate (even though the wrong-doing MP has already announced her resignation).

Now many will see this as something of a joke since, despite being an intelligent and capable woman with many fine achievements, she has become irrevocably linked with carrots featuring rudimentary genitalia.

But for me Esther Rantzen only has bad memories because she marked the end of the weekend. The That’s Life theme tune and seamless transition from phallic vegetables to tragically dying children and then onto an amusing ditty about postmen wasn’t light entertainment – but the terminal hour before bed and the start of another school week.

For those bad memories alone I could never vote for her.

But the odd thing is that I am actually rather happy that she has made the decision to stand. Likewise, I believe politics are better because David Van Day is hoping to stand in Mid Bedfordshire.

Now I don’t say that because I believe that either would be the best candidate – slavish party loyalty forces me to suggest voters in the two constituencies should vote for Nigel Huddleston and Nadine Dorries – but because I believe in democracy, and any candidate who can add to the debate, raise awareness and make the electorate better informed can only be good for democracy.  Esther Rantzen isn’t the solution to the expenses scandal, but that does not mean her candidature is bereft of benefit.

But the other reason is that I can’t help but feel it’s like 1997 again,  we have a broken government clinging to power and all and sundry are throwing their hats into the ring – each feeling they might just benefit from the coming landslide (there were over 3,500 candidates in the 1997 election, up from about 2,900 in 1992 – in any election you can expect about 2,100 candidates from the main UK and national parties).  There’s an almost palpable feeling the rot has set in on the government, and that it might be worth being around when the collapse finally comes.

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