Steve Bassam may not be a household name but he is well known in high political circles, where he literally lords it over the Official Opposition in Parliament. That’s because he’s a “Lord”. Despite not winning any elections in the 21st Century and never winning a Parliamentary Election, he has a seat in the House of Lords, where he is Labour’s Chief Whip. For a man who has never won a democratic mandate, he’s had more than his fair share of government posts to add to his portfolio CV. He lives in Brighton, a five minute walk from a shop he likes to drive to. The double yellow lines outside do not apply to him, apparently. Either that, or he just voluntarily pays parking fines to Brighton & Hove City Council. I wonder which it is? Must be nice work, if you can get it, being an unelected member of parliament.
We’ve become very used to our Members of Parliament behaving according to a different set of rules from the rest of us. It’s been going on for so long now that it’s probably become part of the basic job description. First there was the cash for questions scandal and then the cash for pretty much anything you put down on an expenses claim carry on. The latter carried so little risk of prosecution, that a culture of impunity was created by default. Is this just an example so small that it is insignificant? Are our political leaders no longer supposed to set an example to the rest of us? I think we should be told!