The fluid ethics of politicians

I found this report on the BBC News website and thought it was quite an illuminating item on our society’s approach to truth … or rather the politicians approach!

Ex-Transport Secretary Stephen Byers has been cleared of lying to MPs about Railtrack but told to apologise for telling an “untruth”. MPs on Parliament’s standards committee investigated claims Mr Byers lied about how Railtrack was wound up in 2001.

Mr Byers has apologised for giving inaccurate evidence to MPs but insists he did not deliberately mislead them.

The MPs say he was wrong to try to justify his mistake and should now “apologise unreservedly”.

Now, perhaps this is just part of my Northern “call a spade a spade” background, but surely an “untruth” is a lie in all but name … so why not call it a lie?  How can he possibly be cleared for lying and yet told to apologise for his lie, which the Standards committee itself said he was wrong to try and justify?  This is definitely politicians holding themselves to a lower standard than every one else … Or do we really believe in such a half-baked concept of truth?

It seems like we need a Standards committee for the Standards committee to oversee them. The fact that they can’t seem to recognise a lie when it is under their noses and they instead strain themselves to call it something else …


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