Thursday, April 26, 2012

David Ruffley MP - rude, arrogant and rather ill-advised?

I've never had a lot of time for the Member of Parliament for Bury St Edmunds. Whenever I have met him, I am reminded why I find being in a coalition with the Comservatives so very difficult sometimes.

Featured on Liberal Democrat VoiceOf course, I haven't seen that much of him, as I live in a part of his constituency that both he, and his local Conservative Association, appear to have forgotten - they very kindly sent us leaflets for the neighbouring constituency in 2010 (and their MP is much nicer... can we have him instead?).

That said, I see him on television occasionally, as you do, catching part of a debate on BBC Parliament. And when I do, I watch his antics, and his somewhat 'over the top' style and mannerisms, and think to myself, "Who is he trying to impress?". It seems to be all about making an impression, rather than making a point effectively.

But some of his worst traits appear reserved for Select Committee work, where his rather sneering approach towards witnesses demonstrates an almost callous disregard for courtesy and for his colleagues.

Yesterday, at a session of the Treasury Select Committee, he attacked David Riley, one of the witnesses, during questions on rating agencies. Accusing the witness of 'smirking', he described him as "incompetent", "complacent" and useless - absolutely useless", after Riley was unable to answer questions relating to a document that Ruffley was waving.

It's a pity that the witness had nothing to do with the document, and perhaps one shouldn't be surprised that he was unaware of the contents of a document produced by a different, rival company.

So, it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect David Ruffley to apologise, would it? I won't hold my breath though, as I suspect he'll be telling anyone who'll listen how great he was, and how he made that witness look stupid. But, if he does, perhaps he might reflect that, had he not been so appallingly rude in the first place, the apology might not have been necessary.

I don't have huge expectations of Conservative MPs, but one think I expect of all Parliamentarians is the ability to carry out a forensic examination of the issue at hand. I would suggest that David Ruffley bear that in mind, and give up the cheap theatricals...

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