I was thinking over the weekend about the calls for David Cameron to resign over the Panama Papers revelations. I don't think he should resign because while what he's done isn't great from a moral standpoint, it's not strictly illegal. But I'm not sure that's what's upsetting people - this isn't Iceland after all. While I suspect some people are annoyed about this, I think more people are upset about the hypocrisy of the Prime Minister calling out other people for using tax avoidance methods when he had knowingly profited from the same.
But why does this bother us?
On the BBC News this morning Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron was talking about how the public have a very low opinion of politicians, assuming they are all on the take, all out for what they can get for themselves. But if this is the case why do we get upset when we discover that our political leaders are acting pretty much exactly as we have been expecting them too?
I think it's because deep down we still expect them to be better.
We have all been hypocritical in our time, all said one thing and then done another, even if it's something as simple as complaining about someone else's bad driving just before we undertake someone. Yet to quote Matt Santos in the West Wing, "we cling to this fantasy that there's a perfect life and that our leaders should embody it." We project our hopes and dreams for the future onto people all time, musicians, football teams and yes politicians. I think that's why so many on the political left are growing more and more upset by the actions of Jeremy Corbyn. He talked the talk, and walked the walk during the leadership election. He made socialism sound possibly. But now it turns out he's not the Great White Hope of the Labour movement. He's just a man, trying to transition from thirty years of rebellion to being a leader, and finding it as hard as any of us would.
Our political leaders are human, just like the rest of us. They make mistakes, just like the rest of us. They say one thing and do another from time to time, just like the rest of us. That's disappointing, I know it is, but it's something that we need to come to terms with, because it's going to be true of all of them. Someone will be worse than others yes, but all of them will make mistakes.
There are plenty of reasons to protest against the Government, the rise in food bank usage over the last six years, the failure to invest in renewable energy and hands off attitude to British industry to name but a few. But demanding Cameron's resignation because he's human is neither sensible nor helpful. Because the next guy will be human too, he'll make mistakes too. So let's cut him some slack on this okay, and focus on campaigning for the things that matter.Suggest a correction