Thursday, October 25, 2007

Brawling MPs

Oh, the irony. At the same time as the government is ramming through a bill supposedly aimed at stopping political violence, one of its MPs was engaging in exactly that in the lobby. Like pretty much everyone else, I think this is inexcusable; violence is never acceptable, and our MPs should behave like adults, not obnoxious high school students. At the same time, I also think it is pretty minor. While the media clearly crave a scalp so as to produce more headlines, that would be disproportionate. Such an assault would likely not result in prosecution outside of Parliament, so it should not result in a lynching within. Mallard has apologised, and should take some time off to calm down (though there's a recess next week, so he should get that anyway); beyond that, the public humiliation and opprobrium at his thuggishness should be enough.

And on the third hand, what would happen to a high school student who did this? Detention, suspension, and the humiliation of having their parents called in. If MPs persist in behaving like children, maybe they should be treated as such? I can just imagine Mallard, held in after Question Time to write lines for the SPeaker: "I will not hit other people"...