Scandals aren't foreign to British politics, but somehow the British have managed to retain the 'quaint' idea that the appearance of propriety is necessary for a government's credibility; thus Home Secretary David Blunkett has resigned today over what appears to be merely the appearance of impropriety.
What was his offense? Did he wage a war based on lies? Did he try to appoint a war-criminal to a high government office? Was he caught pulling improper strings on behalf of his corporate sponsors? Did he hire a software designer to show him how to rig an election?
No, sorry. It was nothing as dramatic as this. Acording to the BBC, David Blunkett has resigned because an e-mail came to light, which appears to indicate that a visa application for his ex-lover's nanny has been fast-tracked.
Here's something to think about: What if the USA had standards like this? What if American politicians were required to maintain not only strict ethical standards but also the appearance of ethical standards? What if American politicians who failed to live up to these standards started losing their jobs? For that matter, what if the American government cared about its own credibility?
Where's James Taylor when you need him? Oh yes, he's right here:
Sing a song for the wrong,
for the wicked and the strong,
for the sick as thick as thieves.
For the faceless fear that was never so near,
too clear to misbelieve.
Well the sea is jumping salty,
and the porpoise has the blues.
My recollection's faulty,
and I cannot find my shoes.
And my wiring is misfiring due
to cigarettes and booze.
I'm behind in my dues.
I just now got the news.
He seems to tell us lies,
But still we will believe him and
together he will lead us into darkness, my friend.
Let it fall down,
Let it fall down,
Let it all fall down...