by Martin Odoni

A Labour peer has resigned, because he has been exposed as a cocaine-user and hirer of sex-workers.

The Prime Minister says that the peer, Lord Sewel, should resign.

David Cameron has however remained stubbornly tight-lipped on the matter of his Chancellor of the Exchequer’s own alleged history of drug-abuse and of soliciting sex-workers. Or even his Chancellor’s apparent capacity to show up at the House of Commons on a voyage to Trip-Out City.

The stand-in leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman, has so far been notably quiet on the subject. But then, it is bizarre what subjects she and many of her colleagues are able to keep their voices down about, and what can cause their voices to be raised.

For instance, the Labour Party is currently havering on the subject of harsh welfare cuts tabled by the Government.

They did not haver over, or even hesitate to oppose, the Tories’ plans to reverse the ban on Fox Hunting in England and Wales. Whatever the rights or wrongs of the policy, or the far greater degree of nuance in the Welfare Bill, Labour is sending out some very confusing signals; the party of the disadvantaged and the working poor is more steadfast in its defence of the welfare of vulnerable foxes than it is in its defence of the welfare of vulnerable people.

There has been welcome support in Parliament for Mike Sivier’s very necessary bid to get the real death-toll statistics, post-DWP-sanctions, made available to the public. But Labour is showing greater enthusiasm for revealing information than it is for taking any action on it, which again sends out a half-hearted message.

Jeremy Corbyn has emerged as a candidate for the Labour leadership who is so popular within the ranks that he could just be the man to unite the majority of the party, and his ideas and rhetoric have won considerable approval from the wider public, suggesting he might well lure back a lot of disillusioned voters as well. What has been the response of the leading Blairite figures in the party to the emergence of an apparent talisman figure? Hostility, spiteful public rejection, and pompous ‘I-know-best’ lectures telling the country that Corbyn is obsolete and that they, the Blairite elite, know what everyone really wants, even when everyone gives clear indication that they want the opposite.

The reaction of the Blairites to Jeremy Corbyn really has been the Eighth Wonder Of The World. That Corbyn has clearly chimed a chord with the public and captured people’s imagination should be seen as a god-send for a party that has just managed to lose a General Election to one of the most hated political parties in the history of (what passes for) British ‘democracy’. Instead, the exaggerated perception of Corbyn as a Marxian extremist seems to have blotted out their view, to the extent that they are actually in despair about the emergence of a real vote-winner, and are a lot less discreet about that than they are about the draconianism of the Tory welfare cuts.

The Liberal Democrats – yes they are still around, although not many of them – have appointed a new leader. Tim Farron is a dedicated Christian, and this has an interesting implication. His religious views led him to abstain on the Gay Marriage Bill and to vote against the 2010 Equality Act, which banned discrimination against homosexuals in the workplace. I may be cherry-picking topics somewhat here, but it is bizarre to reflect that the present Liberal Democrat leader has a less tolerant record on LGBT rights than the current Conservative leader, who introduced the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act of 2013. And we should remember that Cameron’s record in this area is not exactly glowing, given in 2003 he had loudly campaigned and voted against the repeal of Section 28. Farron insists he is in favour of equality, but will not be drawn on whether he thinks homosexuality is a sin. (His non-answer that “we are all sinners“, in this context, appears to imply that he does.)

So, we have a Conservative Party that decries drug-use while protecting a Chancellor who has a probable history of drug-use. We have a Labour Party that protects foxes more firmly than people, and that is more hostile to the first potential leader it has had in over ten years to whom the public are taking well, than it is to oppressive anti-welfare policies, while still claiming to be the party of the working man. And we have a Liberal Democrat leader who is less supportive of gay rights than a right-wing Tory but still claims to be passionately in favour of gay rights?

When I titled this piece Insanity, I was not referring to everything that was going on in Westminster, as such. I simply meant the mental disorder British politicians seem to be collectively suffering from if they think they are fooling anybody.