During Prime Minister’s questions just three weeks ago, a Labour MP interrupted the Conservative leader’s response to a question posed by Jeremy Corbyn.
Mid-discussion on the NHS, the spectator shouted ‘Ask your mother’. This was in reference to a petition Mrs Cameron had signed earlier that week in opposition to upcoming cuts on children’s centres across the UK.
Cameron responded by insulting Corbyn’s fashion sense.
Subsequently the Commons broke into hysterics. The sounds of laughter, shouting and MPs stamping their feet on the ground engulfed the room.
If we were to move this behaviour into an average classroom, what would be the result? Shouting-out, name-calling and ganging up on the unpopular student are all clearly exhibited. At the very least, there would be people sent out, a lengthy lecture from the teacher about rule-breaking and Dave would be lucky to avoid a detention.
It would appear Parliament has become something of a playground for politicians, in a far too literal sense. Then again, it’s not like politicians have anything important to do – other than running the country, dealing with the issues of their constituents and internally arguing about the E.U.
This isn’t the first time our leaders have acted childishly. Just over two years ago, Mr Cameron ended a 20-second rant aimed at the then Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, by referring to him as a turkey. In 2010, Labour MP Tom Watson called Michael Gove a ‘miserable pipsqueak of a man’ and Baroness Trumpington made a V-sign to a fellow Lord in 2011.
Sadly this un-Parliamentary behaviour isn’t exclusive to British politics. Anyone following the US presidential election will have seen countless exchanges of insults between rival candidates, especially from the likes of Donald Trump. Not only does he personally attack those running against him but also niche groups within American society. Some argue his ability to do this comically has endeared him to some members of the general public.
Could this mean that his uncensored ‘tells it as it is’ attitude is more proficient in gaining the support of a nation than having favourable policies or the most basic of manners?
Take Bernie Sanders, currently the second most popular Democrat candidate. Throughout his election campaign he has promoted the values of family, fighting poverty and racial equality. He is also one of the only candidates who have refused to resort to the same underhanded tactics of the rest. Yet Trump still labels him a maniac and a communist.
We see that those who try to transcend the rest just end up being dragged back down with them.
Perhaps the occasional laugh does have its positives as well. A large number of my friends have suddenly developed interest in politics following the most recent scrap in the Commons. Maybe the occasional joke can make politicians all seem a bit more normal – as opposed to these larger than life characters we see in the news.
We all can find it entertaining at times, but maybe politics should always be about politics.
-- Patrick Gembis is a student at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds