Should our leaders play away in secret or face the music?
Hanky-panky in high places and high office is nothing new. Carryings-on have been carried on by politicians, by royalty and other high-rankers since time immemorial. In days of old, rumours of illicit rumpy-pumpy would pass sedately from one person to another. From courtier to courtesan from chambermaid to commoner, high-society scandal took its steady and stately progression. A whisper behind the hand whilst behind the arras, a raised eyebrow across the House, a glance, a nod and a wink on the way to the palace, it all took time. The top-people’s rumour mill didst grind, but didst grind exceedingly slow. Occasionally, m’lady might commit a scandalous little tit-bit to paper, usually in a lavender scented letter, but back then the post was even slower than it is now. These days, that same rumour mill operates at the speed of light. One text, one incriminating photograph, flashed in an instant around the world, means that for someone “important,” with much to hide and probably even more to lose, all can literally be revealed in seconds.
And so, there arrived the so-called, “super injunction,” a court order that prevents the media, or come to that, anyone else who might be tempted, from publishing any information about an alleged affair, or even from publishing the existence of the super injunction itself. These super injunctions are technically available to all, but are actually only affordable to the super rich.
So is it fair then that, let’s say, a leading politician, married or with a partner and with a family, who is involved in an affair, can take out a super injunction to prevent the public, including those members of the public who voted he or she into office, from finding out about that affair? Maybe, maybe not, but in this day and age do we even care that the politician is having an affair? Should we Brits be like the French, adopt their famous “laissez-faire” attitude, and simply live-and-let-live? Or, is a touch of the “Ooh-la-la” still a touch too far? And come to that, is it any of our business anyway? Keep it to yourself, but our survey questions threw up some interesting answers.
What our surveys show
Watch out politicians, a majority of the great British public (52%) reckon we have every right to know about your carryings on – if you are indeed carrying on, which of course you’re not. Are you? Yes or no, just 38% of us think we should keep our noses out, while the final 10% simply don’t know. Probably unsurprisingly, the older the demographic the bigger the view that we do have a right to know, and overall, more men than women are of that opinion. The “we should know” vote is up on a poll of seven years ago, when less than half of us felt the same way. This hardening of attitude might suggest that we are growing weary of what many of us believe is an increasing level of dishonesty amongst our elected leaders.
When it comes to super injunctions it seems that most of us have even less tolerance or sympathy for our political philanderers, with 69% of us against keeping things under the covers in this legal and costly manner.