How can we expect young people to behave more responsibly when we see the leaders of our nation acting unethically, almost on a daily basis? Should we require politicians to undertake a course in political ethics (ethics in politics)

Despite urging  youngsters to treat others with respect, to do what they promise, to be honest in all dealings, obey the laws of the land and in general, refrain from hurting others physically and mentally –  some  politicians often don’t follow these ethical principles.  For example:

  • Cheating on expenses and then denying it.
  • Stifling debate by shouting down one’s opponent
  • Mocking, being sarcastic and giving personal insults – basically an attempt ti hurt others nd damage them
  • Dishonesty – Prime Minister’s Question Time is not about questions at all, but some kind of ritual to mock and embarrass and score points.
  • Attacking personalities instead of  offering a sound argument on the issue
  • Using “sorry” and “u-turn” as weapons, as if someone  is stupid or a bad person when one say sorry or change their mind.
  • Hiring a member of your family using public money – a conflict of interest – especially when they don’t do anything.
  • Hypocrisy – criticising, for example, private schools but sending your own child to one.
  • Evasiveness – a form of dishonesty – not answer the questions put to them and not saying “I don’t know” when they don’t know.
  • Littering (order papers left lying around the house) an sleeping on the job in Parliament.
  • Rarely acknowledging and praising the good work of their opposition.

No wonder there is so much dislike and distrust of politicians.  In ethics education we try to teach youngsters to be helpful and kind to others because in the long-run this is good for everyone. However, this effort is being diluted by the daily examples of politicians acting unethically.

Note to editors Dr. Robb is available for expert opinion, interviews and comments on ethical matters. See About Us for Bill’s credentials.


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