Good on Yorkshire Tea. Not, admittedly, how most of City A.M.’s editorial columns start, but yesterday the God’s own tea maker cancelled its sponsorship of Yorkshire Country Cricket Club after the authorities there swept a report on racism within the club’s dressing rooms under the carpet.
It was a shocking failure of governance, and commercial sponsors are right to put the pressure on. It was activist investing, as it were, at its best.
But lest we think that the world of cricket would offer the most egregious failure of leadership this week, here comes the Conservative party and its outrageous sleight-of-hand in the Commons yesterday.
To recap: after a group of cross-party MPs found Tory MP Owen Paterson guilty of misusing his position as an MP to lobby on behalf of firms for which he was a paid consultant, the independent standards czar recommended he be barred from the Commons for 30 days.
Yesterday, the Conservatives in Parliament – backed by Number 10 – voted to overhaul the independent watchdog which found him guilty, blocking Paterson’s suspension until a new committee has reviewed the standards committee.
In a particular affront to basic democratic safeguards, Paterson himself was allowed to vote.
For their part, Labour and the SNP have said they won’t take part in this ridiculous sideshow. They are right to hold the line. This paper does not often agree with Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner about much – indeed this may be a first – but she was right to say yesterday the episode is a “sham”.
This may be just Westminster Village to-and-fro, but it sends a grim signal – not least with a host of world leaders still on these shores.
With runaway inflation and an energy crisis, we are borrowing much from the 1970s and 1980s: the government would be wise not to add the unpleasant whiff of sleaze to the revival.