An MP goes to prison for cheating on his expense claims. Judging by today’s Times’s comments the response has been highly charged.
“All politicians are corrupt”…”prison’s too good”… on the one hand and “not that bad really” (I paraphrase) on the other.
Whatever we might think, is this level of dishonesty prevalent in other spheres? In business for example, or the “professions”?
Yes, it is.
But before I start throwing stones, I ought first to be aware of the “glass house” I live in too. From stealing the proverbial paper clips, to the more subtle stealing of my employer’s time, am I too guilty of dishonesty?
The key word is “level”. There is a level of dishonesty in all of us.
I could be self-righteous and tell you I have been shocked by the level of dishonesty in business and the community. I certainly think it is wrong.
But whatever your perspective, be it righteous indignation or “get over it; it only matters if you’re caught”, stealing is not logical.
It cannot be logical for individuals in business, for example to steal, taken from the point of the people as a whole. That’s why we have laws.
In my experience, dishonesty betrays a weakness of belief. We are told that the jailed MP is a “broken man”. But what was he before he was caught? Was he any less broken?
A personal belief system that relies on a lie cannot be very secure.
We can jump up and down and demand tougher sentences and stricter controls. Or we can (privately) argue that theft doesn’t matter.
But until we get to the bottom of why it is we do what we do, change will not occur.
In my experience we never do this unless something goes pretty wrong for us. Change is possible but we put it off.