I’m attempting to write from as non-partisan a perspective as possible and by no means am I attempting to defend Alistair Carmichael.
The most basic aspect of being human is the fact we screw up. A lot.
I fear we hold politicians to some higher standard than the rest of us and obviously they constantly fail them. This is because we expect more from them than we expect of ourselves. We expect them to not slip up. We expect them to keep their cool in an argument. We are appalled when they do things that they definitely should know not to do.
That’s unfortunately the human condition. How many of us have lied when someone’s gone “Hey did you say this about me?” Or how many of us have snapped when we’re not being listened to – somewhat akin to Natalie Bennett and her “It’s my turn to talk now!” – and honestly how many of us do things on a daily basis that we know we should not be doing?
The difference being we elect these people to do good for our country and the fact that they’re human like the rest of us scares us. But it shouldn’t. We learn from our actions and we try not to do them again. The SNP wouldn’t have Nicola Sturgeon had she resigned after the whole supporting the guy who’d committed £80,000 in benefit fraud 5 years ago. Mistakes happen because humans are fatally flawed. All of us. At any point we’re all only a couple of wrong turns away from self destruction.
My point is that if we give leeway to those in our own parties who make minor mistakes or judgement calls then we should be willing to extend that to those of other parties because they’re just as human and just as flawed as the rest of us.
If we want change we have to be willing to allow people to learn from their mistakes and change. Otherwise we run a conveyor belt of politicians where the names and faces change but the actions stay the same because no one knows better.