I read the papers this morning and flagged not a single article as providing the inspiration for a blog post. As regular readers will note, this is a rare occurrence. Most mornings four or five get flagged, although not all will make the cut.
What is the difference? I put it down to corruption fatigue. Maybe it is just me, but I am beginning to be numbed by story after story of corruption within, and facilitated by, this government.
I should, of course, be wary. Given that these people appear to be masters of their art they will be only too well aware that corruption fatigue plays into their hands in at least two ways.
First, it simply normalises their abuse until we think it no longer an issue. This is both grooming and gaslighting behaviour on their part. We are being conditioned and then told how silly we are to think that there is anything wrong with a politician feathering their nest because it’s commonplace, when it has not been.
Second, the argument is being created that one politician is less corrupt than another, with roles being swapped to suit from day to day, so that in the end no one can be blamed for what they are doing because there are only relative measures of corrupt behaviour left, and there is always an argument that there is someone worse to take note of, so no one need be held to account.
Both arguments are insidious. They are corrupt in themselves.
Meanwhile the journalists who ask ‘does anyone really care about this corruption?’ play the role of willing facilitators, for which reason I condemn their line of questioning.
And the result is, as I note, corruption fatigue.
We have to be wary of this. We need to remind ourselves of some fundamental truths.
Getting things done did not require that politician’s friends got enormous contracts they had no idea how to fulfil.
Prioritising need did not necessitate the dropping of any standards.
Ignoring expertise, experience and ability was not a way to help anyone.
Rules usually exist for good reason, whether on procurement or to prevent the abuse of political funding.
Accountability matters. Its absence invariably spells, and smells of, trouble.
Once unleashed corruption is very hard to control.
Systemic breakdown of values in society end up with massive loss of wellbeing for all as everyone expects a backhander and public service fails.
We have a government indifferent to such risks. It is easy to be fatigued by yet another story of corruption by yet another Tory politician serving in the most corrupt government that this country has seen for centuries. But holding them to account matters.
Please stick with it. Or give up hope.