David Laws returned on Monday. Cue a curious response but not from the usual suspects – from those within the Lib Dems – certainly those on the ground as it were. Apparently many Lib Dems don’t feel the need – nor have any want – to defend the Yeovil MP.
Things were once different. Laws was a shining light in the party. Someone with foresight and genuine insight into banking. Most people agree across the political spectrum that Laws is a smart man. A really smart man. Someone who would be Nick Clegg’s right-hand man in the coalition. Someone who might be able to steer the less financially savvy George Osbourne through the turbulent waters that was the UK economy. Then everything came crashing down around him.
His private life – and expenses he wrongfully claimed for came to light. His position in the cabinet lasted just seventeen days and he resigned and went to the backbenches with a hefty slap on the wrist. His excuse was weak but it was also one that despite being weak did hold firm against a lot of the mud thrown at him. He didn’t want his private life to be own in the public domain. Heck I can understand that, most of us can. However he broke rules and as Al Murray would say, ‘rules is rules.’
So am I here to defend what David Laws did? No I’m not. Does he need defending? No he doesn’t. He is a big boy and knows he did wrong. He has accepted the punishment handed down to him and now it is time for his punishment to turn into rehabilitation. Many people on the street can’t tell the different between an MP breaking the rules for financial gain and what David Laws did. The truth as is not as widely advised is that had Laws declared his gay lover as his partner then he would have actually been entitled to more money. Whilst that doesn’t defend himself against the fact he broke rules, it does dictate that he broke the rules not for personal financial gain. A distinction that needs – and deserves – to be heard.
But the past is the past. I am a man who looks to the future. Is the cabinet better or worse for having David Laws in it? I think it isn’t a huge stretch to say that the cabinet is a stronger place with David Laws in it. He’s smart. Like proper smart. Not the type of smart that would go on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? but the type of smart that would go on University Challenge should of course he be at university, which he isn’t.
In life people deserve second chances. I’m pretty sure nobody in perfect – except maybe Sophie Ellis Bextor – but this isn’t about her and in all honesty she might not even be perfect either (blasphemy – Ed). Laws cocked up and what is the best way for him to put right the wrongs of the past? Is it by ‘counting paper-clips in Whitehall for a few years’ as I saw one Lib Dem write the other day? What good does that do for the country? Why not have him work his butt off and make things better for the millions of people in this country? He’s been jimmied into Education and boy Education is a big job and a department where changes can be implemented for the good of young people up and down the country.
The school system in my opinion needs a major overhaul. I have said this for years. I’d like to see a longer school day but not for bog-standard lessons. Use the extra hours to teach vocational classes or sporting activities or have this time dedicated to helping those who need a leg-up with their school work. I remember my school days and after school you basically wasted the time between the end of school and dinner – whatever time that would be. After school clubs should be more proactive. So many things can happen and I for one believe that David Laws can be a huge asset to not only the government but also to the people who live within this country.
Should one mistake – a huge mistake yes but one made with some significant and legitimate reasoning behind it lead not only to his career being derailed for a long period but also lead to the detriment of the people in this country? David Laws was voted in to do a job and as part of that job he is eligible to do a job not only for his constituents but also for the rest of the country. I see no reason why David Laws doing wrong should lead to the end of him. Everyone deserves a second chance.
Many people who are attacking his return to front-line politics are also dismayed that Chris Grayling has taken over from Ken Clarke at Justice. Grayling is a far more right-wing bloke than Clarke who was more liberal and saw punishment and rehabilitation as part of the judicial system. So those who don’t like Grayling as he’s more a punishment first and foremost guy also think Laws should be punished first and foremost and not rehabilitated. Doesn’t really add up does it?
To sum up it is all pretty simple to me. Laws effed up. On a scale of 1-10 it was a good seven but what better way to erase the mistakes of the past than by doing his bit for making life better for the rest of us. I know I prefer Laws inside the cabinet than outside. I want the cabinet made up of the best and brightest and whilst I wouldn’t say the Lib Dems have all their top dogs in there for various reasons – Laws would be at the top of my list along with Cable.
Laws eff up is sad mainly because Laws and Cable between them could really have driven this economy. No offence to Danny Alexander but he’s not David Laws. Some say that two years and three months or so isn’t even time for him to have served his punishment. I say pish. Time to rehabilitate and whilst I can’t defend Laws’ actions – I can defend his return because the party – and the country will be – and are better off for it.
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