Politics.co.uk Blog

Thursday, 5 May 2011

An alternative means of punishing politicians

In the 21st century, the chief means of punishing politicians is at the ballot box. It's highly possible this is exactly what voters are doing up and down the country today, as elections – and a referendum – give the people their chance to influence the fate of the country, and give those in power a kicking at the same time.

Every so often, individual politicians need to be punished too. We've seen the highly unusual spectacle of MPs being dispatched to prison for their expenses crimes in recent months. This was viewed as being a staggering extremity of punishment, although it may not have satisfied some members of the public.

Which is why they might be interested in a strange event taking place at St Andrews University in Scotland tomorrow.

Perhaps trying to distract themselves from the ongoing row over their Centre for Syrian Studies, experts from all over the world will read excerpts from Dante's Inferno which explain, in gory detail, what happens to those who are guilty of hypocrisy, deceit and corruption.

"Those being punished included false prophets, corrupt politicians, and hypocrites," the University explains.

"In the text, corrupt politicians – the old term 'barrators' is used for those who take money for political favours – are forced to stay submerged in a pool of burning tar. If any emerge, they are hooked out and tortured by devils.

"Hypocrites meanwhile are forced to walk in a circle wearing unbearably heavy cloaks, representing the appearances they kept up in life, and the burden of that is increased for eternity in hell."

Now that's what we call calling politicians to account. Maybe we should hold a referendum on introducing some of these measures?

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