Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Battleaxe Slays the Chipmunk

Mr Eugenides alerts me to a battle royale in the Commons yesterday between Labour Battleaxe-in-Chief Gwynneth Dunwoody and My Little Chipmunk, Hazel Blears. Dunwoody was unahppy that Blears is about to make changes to the structure of local government in Cheshire The full exchange is HERE. Here are the highlights. Savour them...

I believe that today the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government—to whom I have given notice that I intend to mention her—intends to announce the reorganisation of Cheshire. She has never at any point deigned to explain the reasons for those major changes. Indeed, just before the summer recess, when an announcement was made that it was the intention to divide Cheshire into two, irrespective of the needs or wishes of the population, a letter was issued from the Department saying that the decision would none the less be subject to close examination of a number of factors, of which the economic ones were enormously important.

Rather foolishly, I thought that comment was serious and in the intervening time, with the assistance of people in education, the health service and general services, I
have endeavoured to persuade Her Majesty’s Government—pointlessly, as it now appears—of the inequity and imbalance of the scheme they were proposing. I have been in the House long enough to see the coming and going of many inadequate personalities. I have seen those on both sides of the House who have been promoted for various reasons. I have seen the crawlers. I have seen those who have used sex— [ Interruption. ] Oh, there are so many it would take too long to name them. I have seen those whose sexual preferences were of interest to others. I have seen those who demonstrated a great commitment to their own interests, irrespective of the political parties that they were supposed to represent.

But I have rarely seen a decision such as this, taken with such cynicism and with so little respect for the interests of the average voter. When the Secretary of State was seeking office as the deputy leader of the Labour party, she said that people frequently become disaffected with their own Government because they feel that no one is listening to them. Wherever could they have got that idea from? She also made it clear—she told us constantly—that she would listen...

... If I may say so, the decision has been taken with a degree of cynicism that I have not seen for some time. I do not believe that it is in the interests of the Labour party, but then it has never been pretended that the decision is in the interests of the Labour party or of individual voters. It is not in the interests of those who work in the health service, the education service, or social services, or of those who want decent, high-quality local government services. I believe that it is a decision that has been taken for the most venal and personal reasons, and I find it wholly and deeply objectionable.


Mrs Dunwoody demonstrates yet again why she is such a good Parliamentarian. We need more like her - people who will speak their minds without fear or favour. What a shame she is retiring at the next election.

26 comments:

Chuck Unsworth said...

And Dunwoody is superb in Committee, too. She doesn't stand for any messing about or flannel. One of the very few in Parliament today who has real strength of character and conviction, she'll be a great loss to democracy.

And compare her with those unprincipled apparatchiks in Cabinet and the Ministries.

Paul Linford said...

"A decision taken for the most venal and personal reasons."

Do tell us more, Gwyneth.

Daily Referendum said...

Excellent, It's good to see a Labour MP attack a Minister when justified. If Hazel had been warned about this, why didn't she turn up to defend herself? could it be that she had no defence to offer?

Chris Paul said...

"Venal and personal reasons"? What is she on abaht?

Chuck Unsworth said...

@ Chris Paul:

""Venal and personal reasons"? What is she on abaht?"

You mean you don't know? With all your expertise in these areas?

Good Grief!

wonderfulforhisage said...

As the late E.Morecambe might have said, "There's no answer to that."

Delicious.

Newmania said...

.."have seen the crawlers. I have seen those who have used sex— [ Interruption. ] Oh, there are so many it would take too long to name them..."

No really dooooo go on !

I am a bit confused about what relevance these accusations of whorish venailty have to Hazel Blears ? She`s a good height for blow job I suppose ...what has she done ?

famous author said...

Hazel has disappeared - just like the famed Cheshire cat! Simple really, another McCavity.

M Burgess said...

But read further. This is Mike Hall (Weaver Vale) (Lab):

“My hon. Friend [Mrs. Dunwoody] said that the proposal would adversely affect national health services in Cheshire. Strangely enough, Cheshire already has two primary care trusts that will fit very comfortably with having two unitary authorities in the area. She then said that the proposal would adversely affect education. As we all know, the delivery of education in the area is devolved down to schools. Cheshire’s excellent schools will continue to deliver their excellent services when we have two unitary authorities; I can see no particular problem with that.
My hon. Friend finished by saying that there was cynicism at the heart of the decision to create two unitary authorities in Cheshire. I ask the House to consider this for cynicism. Two weeks ago, we should have had the announcement that we were to get two unitary local authorities in Cheshire. It was delayed. My hon. Friend went to see the Chief Whip and said, “If you go ahead with the announcement, I will resign from the parliamentary Labour party, I will campaign against this decision and I will vote against the parliamentary Labour party on Europe.” And we are accused of being cynical. I hope that that puts the record straight, and that this proposal goes ahead with the support of my hon. Friends and of the people in the two areas, which will be better served by having unitary local government than by the current two-tier system.”
Cols 772-773

Note that: “If you go ahead with the announcement, I will resign from the parliamentary Labour party, I will campaign against this decision and I will vote against the parliamentary Labour party on Europe.”

Anonymous said...

Blears faces deselection in January for the new constituency resulting from the merger of Eccles and Salford. Would be a great moment to get her out of Parliament!!

'A decision taken for the most venal and personal reasons' is this Cheshire thing related to her selection I wonder...

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Iain, but I find newmania comment to be extremely sexist and out of order. I don't like Blears, but the bj comment is completely unnecessary and only helps to make all Tory activits look like pricks. I would appreciate if it could be removed, it isn't politics it's sexism.

Anonymous said...

Iain who said she was retiring at the next election?

Anonymous said...

Iain who said she was retiring at the next election?

Anonymous said...

'venal and personal reasons'.
There's obviously some big story behind this. Can you enlighten us, Iain?

zeno said...

Iain

I believe Mrs Dunwoody has said that she intends to stand at the next election, not retire.....

verity said...

Anonymous 2:03 - Excuse me?

You think you are on a committee entitled to censor Iain's blog? You are going to decide what gets through?

"I would appreciate if it could be removed, it isn't politics it's sexism."

This blog isn't a democracy and trust me, what you "would appreciate" is so irrelevant, it doesn't register on the human consciousness.

We don't get a vote on comments that Iain should allow.

It's private property, you self-righteous prat. You don't like the comments, bugger off.

Manfarang said...

Any friend of Pooh is a friend of mine.Long may Gwyneth continue in Parliament.

Roger Evans said...

I appeared before Mrs Dunwoody's committee back in October. They were friendly enough and asked reasonable questions but I still felt like I'd done a few rounds with Mike Tyson when I got out.

So I feel some sympathy for the chippy - but I have a soft spot for redheads.

Anonymous said...

If Cheshire is odd, then Bedfordshire is more so. Hazel has said she is "minded" to accept Bedford Borough's bid to become a unitary council, rather than the competing bid from Bedfordshire County Council.

This is even though she initially rejected a complementary bid from Central Bedfordshire. (If the Borough bid succeeds, a separate unitary would be necessary to cover the southern half of the county.) So Central Beds have been told to go off and keep reworking their sums so she's able to accept them. All rather strange, when the decision to select unitaries was supposed to have been taken on the basis of who gave the best value for money for council taxpayers.

If the Bedford Borough bid goes through then all the existing borough and county councillors will have to reapply for their jobs. But not so the mayor – “Bedford’s Berlusconi”, Frank Branston. Although the legal situation is vague and untested, he will apparently continue as Mayor with vastly increased powers because the Borough will be deemed a "continuing council."

The campaign for a Bedford Borough unitary has been led by - guess who – Mr. Branston.

Little Black Sambo said...

Anon 2.03: "I'm sorry Iain,..." Ooh, Miss, Newmania said a rude word and I'm all upset. Big baby, grow up.

tapestry said...

There's no smoke without fire.

It's wasn't Newmania that brought the future of Cheshire into the realm of sexual relations.

Was Gwyneth just trying to say 'Cheshire's fucked'.

Anonymous said...

Our Hazel was invited on to PM yesterday to expose David Cameron for allowing his Constuency Party to accept illegal donations.
It was an ambush. Eddie Mair spent most of the time interrogating her about Labour funds. Heh, heh.

judith said...

Gwyneth demonstrates that there used to be a Labour Party that you could respect even if not agree with. I hear that the Blair/Brown crowd make her as sick as we feel (Chris Paul excepted).

Ed said...

Why does Blears have such power to decide these things unilaterally?

Adrian said...

Coming from Cheshire, I could cry. Why can't government stop messing around with the boundaries? Just looks like they're desperate to save money, and feck the people.

chrismarshall60 said...

The boundaries of the English counties were set in the reign of Alfred the Great and changed by Edward Heath and Hazel Blears.

It says it all really.

PS and would Anon stop using the word "prick" it's sexist and upset my mum.