Things are only to get worse trying to hold politicians to account
- Credit: PA
Why have our attitudes to standards slipped?
When John Major’s government was suffering from a reputation for sleaze, his response was to establish the Committee on Standards in Public Life which set out seven principles for a code of conduct for those in public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership, also known as the Nolan Principles.
Twenty-five years later and it seems that the guiding principles of the current government are the complete antithesis of Nolan. Indeed, with the latest revelations from Jennifer Arcuri, it would seem that the PM, who should be seeing that the Nolan principles are upheld by his ministers, has the least regard for them of all.
At the time, the public perception of Tory sleaze seemed to be one of the significant factors in the subsequent defeat of Major in the 1997 election. One of the things that puzzles me now is how relatively little scrutiny there is of the actions of the PM, his ministers and advisers from parliament and the media, and how accepting of these behaviours the public are now.
How did we get here? And how do we ensure that those in public office are held to account? A leader sets the example. If there are now no effective standards and a willingness to uphold them, I fear it is only going to get worse.
Nick Roberts, Selly Oak
• Have your say by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Our deadline for letters is Tuesday at 9am for inclusion in Thursday’s edition. Please be concise - letters over five paragraphs long may be edited before printing.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.