Monday, January 09, 2006
Tony Banks died last night. He had been my MP from the month I was concieved up to the general election last year. He also supported the same football team I do. He'd just been made Lord Stratford when he retired last year; after only a few months of leisure he had a massive stroke while on holiday. I've been so angry about senior Lib Dems using the media as a tool to push Charles Kennedy from power. Alcoholism is not necessarily something that prevents you from doing your job properly, any more than HIV does. And like HIV, it's NOT something you bring upon yourself, whatever my dear colleagues and flatmate might say. I know alcoholics with important, difficult jobs who have never let drinking interfere with their work, and there is very little evidence that Kennedy ever did. If he had, the chances of him having been made party leader in the first place are slim. That such a blatant coup can take place in Parliament with media and public support would make a sham of democracy in Britain if it wasn't for the fact that democracy in Britain has openly been a sham for a long time. However, back to Tony Banks. My next-door-neighbour was trying to buy cigarettes in Somerfield one day when she was asked for ID, which she didn't have as she was fifteen. Then the man behind her said he was sure she was old enough to buy cigarettes and they should leave her alone. As it was Tony Banks, the shop assistant did... Maybe it's better for a politician (and an honourable man, as far as that goes in politics) to retire aged 45 and enjoy his fat pension (Charles Kennedy entered the commons in the same election as Tony Banks, in 1983, though Kennedy was then only 23) than to stay working until he drops. My dad was muttering last night (my dad's main pastime is calculating people's pensions under his breath) that MPs get a 40th pension; basically that's a lot more than most people if you get in a good few year's service. What a shame Tony Banks never got to enjoy his.