It has disturbed me recently to hear my friends laughing at EyeSpyMP.com. Does giving your life to public service mean that every aspect of your private life is subject to public scrutiny? I personally do not feel the need to know when my MP goes to the barber’s, has a pint or visits the loo.
Sally Bercow has now entered into the argument; pointing out that her movements have been followed despite not being an MP herself; but the wife of an MP and a resident of the Houses of Parliament. However, Mrs Bercow IS standing to be an elected representative; and not only this, she put herself firmly in the limelight by launching her political career with a tell-all story in the Evening Standard, and continues to Tweet on her day-to-day life as the Speaker’s wife. Does this exclude her to the right to keep some of her life private? I don’t think so.
She gave her interview in order to take control of what the press might publish about her past, a perfectly good strategy which appears to have worked. This is information that she chose to share with the world, this does not mean that she has to share everything in her future.
If want to have politicians in the future who are one dimensional, who have had sheltered lives, who have not experienced those things that the average person has, then we are going the right way about it. As due to this pressure from the press, and the now additional 24-hour, multi-faceted surveillance from the blogosphere, potential politicians will be faced with the choice of giving up their chosen career paths or to refrain from letting their hair down for fear that it will end up common, misrepresented knowledge within minutes, or in years to come.
The people we elect to run our communities and our country, and their families, deserve to be able to keep their personal lives private; indeed they must if they are to remain sane in the increasingly pressurised and crazy world of politics.