UK Politics

Political suicide

A former South Korean President has jumped off a cliff, partly as a result of a corruption scandal:

Former South Korean president Roh Moo-Hyun, who was at the centre of a multi-million dollar corruption probe, has plunged to his death off a mountainside in an apparent suicide.

Police said they were investigating whether Roh, who was in office from 2003-2008, killed himself on Saturday. A former aide said the ex-leader jumped off a cliff after leaving a suicide note.

Roh, 62, had left home around dawn, accompanied by a bodyguard, and climbed a mountain near his retirement village of Bongha close to the southeast coast.

“He jumped off a rock in the mountain at 6.40am,” former chief presidential secretary Moon Jae-In told journalists.

“He left a short suicide note addressed to his family members.”

Nadine Dorries MP is fearing a suicide at Parliament as a result of the expenses scandal. Although the MPs expense scandal in the UK is shameful and pathetic, it is still in a different league compared with other corruption cases. It would be regrettable if someone took their life for a duck house. Not that you’d think that listening to Radio 5 Live, whose listeners helpfully texted in offers to provide ropes for suicidal MPs.

I don’t have much sympathy for MPs’ plight. Most people in private industry or the public sector, do not get the opportunity to make such ludicrous claims, and if some MPs are ashamed and struggling to reconcile their new public image with the self-image they had developed, tough. However, the public anger does seem to be burning out of control. Yesterday, I heard a Times columnist say that David Aaronovitch had labeled this as the reverse Diana effect. A sort of yin of unthinking hate, to the yang of over-indulgent sorrow we saw then.

Have we left the bounds of justifiable anger and set out on the road to an act of collective madness? There is a chance that Parliament may become a better place as a result of this scandal, that would be preferable to jumping off the cliff with the MPs if we take this too far.

UPDATE: Dave Osler is right to dismiss Dorries’ other claim of McCarthyism.