By Marcus Dysch
February 6, 2014
So Aidan Burley won't stand in the 2015 election - saving himself and his party from another 15 months of torrid headlines about his best mate's Nazi-themed stag-do.
Forgive me if I hold back from lavishing praise on the Conservative MP for his decision.
Burley should, of course, have stepped down with immediate effect more than two years ago after he hired an SS outfit for the booze-up in a French ski resort.
Better still, he should have been sacked on the spot.
At the very least he could have gone now, rather than continue to take the taxpayers' shilling until May next year and then enjoy the various financial pay-offs afforded to departing MPs.
"Spineless" barely scratches the surface.
It is hard to get your head around the full details of this shambolic episode.
Here we have a 35-year-old, Oxford educated, democratically elected, believing it to be a good idea as a best man to organise Nazi fancy dress. The mind boggles.
Had he fully disclosed his role at the time, Burley may - just may - have saved his job. But, in the time-honoured tradition of politicians, he was economical with the truth.
Writing a letter of apology to the JC may have seemed a smart move, but it raised more questions than it provided answers and quite probably contributed to his downfall.
Parliament will clearly be a better place without Burley and his petri-dish approach to party-planning. But what of his party?
This newspaper has, remarkably perhaps, been knocked by Liberal Democrat supporters for the fervour with which it has pursued the party hierarchy over MP David Ward's repeated, offensive remarks about Jews and Israel.
I was chastised by party peers for hounding Nick Clegg. They felt the Lib Dems were getting the rough end of the stick and different treatment to Labour and the Tories.
Were they right? I don't believe so, but it is interesting that Conservative officials have largely avoided opprobrium over Burley's antics.
Should I have challenged David Cameron - maybe at last week's Number Ten reception launching his Holocaust Commission - over his failure to give Burley the boot? Maybe.
It does seem a bit of a rum do that the Tories' internal inquiry - led by a Jewish peer, noch - simply swallowed the Cannock Chase MP's version of events.
The Mail on Sunday's evidence made it fairly clear exactly what Burley had been involved in at the stag-do. Shouldn't a modern party of government be able to weed out this sort of cretinous activity at the very earliest stage, let alone after two years of inquiry, rumour and counter-claim?
And before Labour supporters chip in, let's not forget that their own Shadow Chancellor was himself pictured in full Nazi regalia.
The public may well think politics is a mucky business filled with charlatans, chancers and worse. That would not be wholly accurate - as indeed the aforementioned new cross-party cross-faith Shoah group hopefully proves.
But sometimes you do have to wonder how much lower some of our idiotic elected representatives can sink.
Faced with a grown-man purchasing a Nazi costume, standing alongside friends toasting the Third Reich, and then attempting to squirm his way out of the backlash, what else can you do but shake your head and be glad he will be consigned to the dustbin of history?