Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rules Not Needed, Just a Personal Code of Conduct - Be Honest; Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rules Not Needed, Just a Personal Code of Conduct - Be Honest; Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: Bernard Trafford

LAST weekend saw a cultural phenomenon. The English started by cheering for the Welsh, and ended up commiserating with them. Fickle? No, logical.

Once England had been eliminated from the Rugby World Cup, old rivalries were set aside and, with only Wales keeping alive any hope of GB featuring in the final, English rugby support swung behind the red shirts. And, when France proved unbeatable again, the English shared in Welsh sorrow.

Then followed the inevitable endless post-match analysis of what might have been. And of the burning question: was the referee right to send off Welsh captain Sam Warburton? Most observers thought the decision harsh, but the ref was enforcing the rules. Accidental it may have been, but the tackle was Fox should immediately dignity: instead, dangerous. I can almost hear my late father-in-law muttering his old Cockney wisdom: "Rules is rules." do so often, That's the point: rules are rules. But must we always be bound by them? And do they work, anyway? The day before Wales's defeat, Defence Secretary Liam Fox finally accepted the inevitable and resigned. Not before time. His position had been untenable since the moment the story broke about how his friend Adam Werritty allegedly posed as an official adviser and attended top-level meetings with him when he had no business to be there.

One wrong decision after another.

Fox should have faced reality immediately and gone with dignity: instead, as politicians do so often, he clung on and wriggled, hoping he could claw his way out of the mire.

Then, just as they do after a rugby match, pundits started dissecting the situation. Why had Fox allowed it to go on for so long? And why aren't there rules to prevent a minister from behaving as he did? Well, apparently there is a ministerial code, and Fox broke it. …

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