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Saturday, January 23, 2010

A very sad tale

This has absolutely nothing to do with 50-plus marketing. It is not a gripe. To be honest I don’t know what it is.

A while back I wrote about the way that politicians lose their way and quoted a couple of examples of people where I had connections from the past.

Yesterday, an old school friend of mine became the first MP to be punished by being stripped of his £65,000 ‘pay-off’ when he leaves the House of Commons at the end of this parliament. Harry Cohen and I were always a million miles apart politically but we were good mates at school.

He went his way and via the route of working in local government then as a councillor and then to become the local constituency MP. We haven’t spoken for years, although I have followed his escapades as an increasingly left-wing Labour MP.

And now it has come to this. The abiding memory of Harry will be the speech, of apology; he is being forced to give to House of Commons, the loss of the £65,000 and the everlasting digital content describing him as the worst example of greed that has pervaded the UK political class.

In so many ways I have a sense of self satisfaction, as somebody who has grown tired of hearing the self satisfied clap trap of the liberal classes who espouse high moral ideals whilst practising the same, or lot worse, venal habits as the rest of the population.

I am sure there are numerous lessons to be drawn from the morality tale of Harry Cohen, but right now I feel very sorry for the guy. Don't get me wrong, he has got what he deserves. Believe me, the young Harry of 1960 would have demanded a far worse punishment.

If there is a 50-plus message amongst these ramblings it is that this generation is at a time in life when their chances of changing how they are perceived is fast receding. Other than the public humiliation aspects, Harry is in the same position as anybody else. A sobering thought. Dick Stroud

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