Sunday, August 21, 2005

Keeping The Faith

I see our old friend "good faith" has appeared again.
Ian Blair, head of the Metropolitan Police, like so many Government Ministers, believes that having "acted in good faith" is a defence against resignation on grounds of incompetence or misleading people. It's very convenient because acting in good faith can only be self-defined and is not subject to external verification.
Until recent years, this defence could never be used in British public life.

It's not a defence that will get you very far with Sir Ian's boys in blue.
"I was acting in good faith, Officer. I thought double yellow lines meant 'parking allowed if you're just nipping into the newsagent for a paper.'"
"I didn't know she was only 14. When we had sex I thought she was 16. I was acting in good faith."

Let's face it, Hitler was acting in good faith in terms of his own beliefs. When he marched across Europe and exterminated millions of people he genuinely believed it was for the good of Germany and the wider world.

It pains me to say it but the outstanding example of old school integrity was that patrician old Tory Lord Carrington. There was never any suspicion that he or the Foreign Office had acted in bad faith over The Falklands, but when Argentina invaded he resigned. The buck for bungling and incompetence stopped with him. Thatcher couldn't understand this and begged him not to. It's a concept that Blair also doesn't understand. Yet it was a basic principle of our constitution for more than a hundred years.
It would help to restore public faith in politics if 'acting in good faith' were taken to be axiomatic for holders of public office and the principle of taking responsibility were reinstated.
A good start would be for Ian Blair to clear his desk and hang his hat on his pension.

UPDATE: I wrote the above before reading today's Observer, in which Richard Ingrams has written a virtually identical piece, even citing Lord Carrington.
The similarity is quite spooky.
If I'd read Ingrams first I would never have written this, for fear of accusations of plagiarism.
The one difference is that Ingrams gets a handsome fee while I am paid nothing.
And, of course, you don't have to pay £1.50 to read my blog.


At 2:27 PM, Blogger Merkin said...

Botheration - foiled by Lady Coincidence! When I started reading your post just now, having read the Observer this morning, I thought "Aha, it's obvious! Bloody Hell! W Lupin = R Ingrams". I started formulating witty Private Eye references that only you would get, and was thinking that your nom de plume must be a clever anagram/wordplay on your background, Mr Ingrams. But then I read your footnote. Oh well, it appears you're not Richard Ingrams after all. Are you, Mr Hislop?

At 3:55 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Thank God I read the Observer and was able to add a footnote.
But the mildly homophobic and church-going Ingrams posing as a gay, atheist blogger? Somehow I don't think so. Ditto Hislop.

At 9:00 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Ingrams is a homophobic twat of the highest order. His column in t'Observer has all the journalistic chutzpah of a 6th form, 'cutting edge', sanctioned by the head, amateurish load of twaddle.

Oh yes!

At 4:58 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

oh yes, Steve. you're not wrong.
I gave up the Eye years ago because I was fed up with the Eye's homophobia under both Ingrams and Hislop.

At 8:46 PM, Blogger Urban Chick said...

well, good (old) faith beats (dear sweet) prudence, whose name i haven't heard mentioned in a while...

gawd, i can't bear ian hislop! homophobia aside, he is a fearful prude and horribly self-righteous to boot


At 11:00 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

I think Ingrams anointed Hislop as his successor which tells you everything really.
I once sat near Ingrams on a train and I swear he kept staring at me. I should have said 'Who are you looking at, gay boy?' With any luck he'd have had a heart attack.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger patroclus said...

If "I was acting in good faith" fails, try "history will be my judge." You can't argue with that. Although somehow I doubt that this whole Jean Charles de Menezes thing was what T. Blair had in mind when he came out with that particular bon mot.

At 8:03 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

patroclus, Blair has also said, in relation to Iraq, that God will be his judge. If this is the case, is Britain a theocracy too?

At 12:32 PM, Blogger The Earless of Fauvre's Requiem said...

Ian Hislop drops gay innuendoes all the time. Don't be beguiled by the homophobia.


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