It’s been a long winter – 37 years – exactly as long as my parents have been living in the constituencies of Macclesfield and Congleton. However discontented people were, any criticism of MPs Nicholas and Ann Winterton was always followed by “But they’re such good constituents.” They answered letters, they turned up at events, were in all the right places for photo opportunities. A friend who worked at a home for the disabled in Sutton remembers how the Wintertons were always there at the gate or the doorway, posing for photos with the least offensive-looking of the guests – and then leaving immediately without ever once actually stepping inside.
It seems a fairly accurate analogy of the way parliament has been operating for who-knows-how-long, putting on a show of engagement and concern; relying on an apathetic public to play along.
After so many years of it, the Wintertons seem to have forgotten how to be honest. These proverbially good constituents have stated that they are stepping down because “maybe the years are taking their toll and perhaps we can no longer represent Macclesfield and Congleton with the same level of energy and enthusiasm” and not at all because they fraudulently claimed 165,000 pounds in rent for a Westminster flat they owned. And what cowardice of the Tory party to have accused them of financial misconduct a year ago and yet allowed them to stay, while now Cameron cravenly welcomes their graceful resignation statement, like gentlemen together who will collude in the face-saving photo captions to the bitter end.
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer…
Macclesfield and Congleton’s long Winterton of discontent is soon to be over; it will be interesting to see what summer will follow.