Lewes Forum thread

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A moral dilemma

On 15 Feb 2010 at 9:20pm confused wrote:
Do we, as tax paying members of the public, have a right to know if people in local public office serially indulge in affairs with married people?
On one hand, I believe everyone has a right to a private life. On the other, if they are prepared to consistently deceive their nearest and dearest (and wider acquaintances) they would appear to be at ease with telling lies - so how can we trust what they say in a more general sense?
Confused of Lewes
On 15 Feb 2010 at 9:25pm Better out than in wrote:
Ah go on, why don't you just tell us - you know you want to.
On 15 Feb 2010 at 11:05pm Roy wrote:
Name and shame!
On 16 Feb 2010 at 2:30am hypocrisy wrote:
we don't trust what they say in a general sense anyway! Its the 'serial' part that worries me! and it's the married people 's partners that seem to be get the worst deal.
On 16 Feb 2010 at 7:22am Manogonist wrote:
Unless it interferes with their work, it is nothing to do with anyone else. I don't believe a thing they say at the best of times.
On 16 Feb 2010 at 7:58am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Imo, it's no-one's business but their own unless it involves hypocrisy, eg taking the moral high ground and proclaiming family values while being a serial adulterer.
On 16 Feb 2010 at 7:59am i dont live in lewes... wrote:
Dear Confused, if we sacked everyone in public office no matter whether it be high or low office who indulged in a bit of playing away from home there would be buggerall left at Westminster and most likely local councils would also be bereft of many members.... which on reflection would be no bad thing.
Free your soul Confused and tell all, for verily, you are amongst friends.
ps. hate to burst your bubble but an important criterior for those in public life is the ability to tell lies... which is why any one with a working brain stem tends not to believe them.
On 16 Feb 2010 at 11:44am sashimi wrote:
Hand in the till is a moral issue. Hand up the skirt of a consenting adult in private is nobody's business but their own (and their spouses') - unless, I suppose, it in the office or on expenses.
On 16 Feb 2010 at 11:51am Chav wrote:
1 hand on the cash, the other in her gash. Heaven
On 16 Feb 2010 at 2:46pm Off-Message wrote:
In fairness I think Confused has asked a reasonable question and the banal insistence here by some on a rigid public/private distinction won't do.

There is no 'right to a private life' if by that is meant a realm of activity outside the jurisdiction of law. Nothing we do, whether in 'public', or in 'private', is in principle always inelligible for investigation by legitimate and/or authorised others in the public interest. On the other hand, of course, we don't as such have a 'right to know' what people - even those in public service - get up to in those areas of their lives which are not demonstrably connected to their public duties. That's about all you can say by way of generalisation and those who want to insist on a rigid public/private distinction will always be hard pressed to tell us where the boundary lies.

Whether someone's affair(s) are a legitimate matter of public interest will depend on the individual case and cannot be stated in the abstract. As we've seen recently in Northern Ireland, the supposedly 'private' affairs of the First Minister and his wife became a public matter - and rightly so, because legitimate questions were asked about loans, cover-ups, etc., and whether or not there is any case to answer, it is not unreasonable for people to wonder weather such conduct casts doubt on the continuing suitability of the protagonists to hold public office. This doesn't mean that it's not possible to be a lying toe-rag in 'private' and a person of scrupulous integrity in 'public', but given what we know about human proclivities in general, it's perfectly reasonable in such cases for the public to want to be assured that holders of public office are able to perform their duties with honesty and integrity and are not unduly distracted from doing so by complicated 'private' affairs of their own making.

On 16 Feb 2010 at 2:55pm Ed Can Do wrote:
I think that despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary, people expect a certain standard of behaviour from publicly elected officials. Whilst it's not their job, I think most people view the role of councils and governments as telling us what to do. It's very hard to take that from someone who's behaving worse than you in the first place. Increasingly though, public servants are acting in more and more hypocritcal fashions and these days I think we expect the worst of them, rather than the best.

I don't think you can set out a hard and fast rule, it's a case by case basis thing. If a minister was pushing for a crackdown on binge drinking then was caught pissed out of his or her face on a friday night, you'd want to know about it. If the same minister happened to be knobbing their secretary, it'd be less relevant. Like the whole John Terry thing,the main reason it was as publicised as it was is that he's fostered a family man image and trades off that with various sponsers so for him to have been shagging around was relevant to his job to some extent.
On 16 Feb 2010 at 7:39pm SHS wrote:
This is about affairs with married people, lies, deceit, betrayal and the break-up of family units. What worse recipe is there for a crumbling society with rising crime, anonymous neighbours, children with no-one to guide them let alone educate them, fear, hatred, war, rape, pillage, nuclear bombs, ESCC, armageddon, taxation and Gordon Brown ........... However, if you call the newspapers and make it public, how many children of the affected families will suffer?
On 16 Feb 2010 at 10:09pm brixtonbelle wrote:
ACT - who is this imo you keep referring to ?

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