There is a sad irony in that I begin this surmise with the accusation that Jeremy Corbyn called Theresa May “a stupid woman” in Parliament today. He has denied it, suggesting he uttered "stupid people". The lip readers will be out in force! It is ironic in that when Corbyn became Labour leader in 2015 he spoke about bringing some civility to Prime Minister’s Question Time in the Commons. That he had an intention of bringing some civility shows us that unacceptable behaviour has been part of our Parliamentary life for decades if not centuries! This is not a blog about Jeremy Corbyn, it is about ALL the behaviour across all parties in the UK parliament and the Northern Ireland Local Assembly.
Last weekend Chelsea fans were banned from Stamford Bridge for throwing racist abuse at Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling. Now, those are two very different environments. English football crowds have a bit of reputation across the world. The bad mouthed yob behaviour on a Saturday afternoon should never be excused and I have blogged about it before but surely we should expect better from the leaders of the land.
That we do not might be one of our greatest national hypocrisies. The pathetic childish school yard booing and grunting and bad mannered shouting during debates that are supposed to be about the running of the country is a blight on us all.
Here in Northern Ireland we are up to our neck in the sewage of petty, rude and vulgar utterances from our politicians, prejudice and sectarianism every bit as awful as the utterance Corbyn was accused of today. If it was bad when we had a functioning Local Assembly at Stormont, then Stephen Nolan on TV or radio could make it even worse.
Why do we put up with it, settle for it, vote for it and accept it as leadership modelled to our children? In recent decades we have rid ourselves of smoking in public places and made the drink driver a social pariah.
It is time to turn our efforts on our politicians and demand a better example of civility. It is time to make socially unacceptable bad behaviour from politicians. They represent us. We pay them a fortune. It is time to make them accountable to a better social code. Surely it is possible to have mature debate and a sense of good relations, if politicians are really about doing what is best for our country and not just what is best for their own selfish careering.
Politicians. It is time to act your age and public position!