Policy, police, politician. hoi polloi, metropolis (city) all derive from a word meaning people. In other words, policemen and women, as well as politicians and other policy-makers, need to remember that they are part of the people not apart from them. The trouble is that we tend to expect them all to be better than other people – at least to behave better than the rest of us. When some of them don’t live up to that expectation it comes as a bit of a shock – but it need not be a total surprise if we realise that people are, well, people. None of us are perfect, few of us never break any law (speeding ticket anyone?) and we should not be surprised that we find criminal behaviour in all parts of society.

But shouldn’t we expect high standards of behaviour from those who want to run the country and from those who want to influence them? Yes, of course we should. My point is that the pool of people from which these persons are drawn from is the same one that we all inhabit. If we want better police and politicians we need a better pool. In other words, everyone should strive for the highest standards of behaviour and integrity if we expect MPs, journalists, civil servants, the police etc, etc to do so too.

However, here’s the rub, even the most well-intentioned of us are not only imperfect in our attitudes and behaviour, we all find it difficult to live up even to our own standards let alone anyone else’s. So, while there is an enquiry into the terrible behaviour of some journalists, and questions about who is ‘fit and proper’ to be in charge of and own various parts of the press and media, I would like to suggest that there is a measure of humility amongst those who conduct it. Paul the apostle wrote: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – with the emphasis on the word “all”, I think. I am no fan of the newspapers and corporations who have come in for much criticism recently (and I believe well-founded criticism at that); but I think we will make little progress in our politics if we fall into a “holier than thou” attitude. Perhaps better to say, “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

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