Comment: Politics 101 – A case study in political opportunism

Once upon a time, in a country far, far away and world famous for the gargantuan levels of corruption among its ruling elite, an ex-Prime Minister was prosecuted under the laws of the land for…corruption. The prosecution was brought by the country’s state and, as the ex-Prime Minister’s party was no longer in power, the event was seen by many as something of a show trial designed to impress a number of supra-national bodies from whom large amounts of free money could be obtained.

The ex-Prime Minister and his supporters therefore portrayed him as something of a scapegoat, a man chosen by the new ruling party to be set-up as an example of a bad man of the previous regime being duly brought to book for crimes committed while in office. At the same time, they claimed that the new ruling party was even more corrupt than they had been.

The very public trial of the ex-Prime Minister took rather a long time and was generously covered by the national and international media. The ex-Prime Minister was found guilty and sentenced to a term in prison; a sentence that was upheld by the country’s Supreme Court in the face of an appeal by the ex-Prime Minister.

When the police arrived at the home of the ex-Prime Minister to escort him to prison, he attempted to shoot himself and was injured when a policeman managed to divert the muzzle of the gun away from the ex-Prime Minister’s head. The ex-Prime Minister’s supporters were outraged by this turn of events and loudly condemned the leaders of what had once been the new ruling party (recently replaced in government by what had been the old ruling party and was now, itself, the new ruling party) of spitefully hounding the ex-Prime Minister almost to his death.

Why not join the debate? What do you think about corruption and corruption trials in the far, far away country? You could:

a) Identify the instances of political opportunism made evident in the text.

b) Briefly outline the cases for and against the selective prosecutions brought against corrupt out-of-power politicians, of any party, in the country far, far away.

c) Speculate on whether the country far, far away will ever free itself from corrupt practices at the highest level and enjoy a political system protected by what is generally understood to be the Rule of Law.

d) Discuss whether political opportunism is always justified, under any circumstances, in an adversarial party system.

Please feel free to post your answers in the comments section below. 

By Ronnie Smith, Guest Writer 

Ronnie Smith is Scottish and now lives in Romania, working as a professional training business consultant and communication coach. He is also a teacher of political science, a political and social commentator and a writer of fiction. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Romania