Saturday, June 07, 2008

Caroline Spelman is a Decent & Honest Woman

The baying mob is once again in evidence. Its victim this time is Caroline Spelman. A more unlikely candidate for condemnation is difficult to think of. No one seriously believes Caroline Spelman is - or ever was - on the make.

I remember when Caroline Spelman was first elected. I didn't know her, but I heard quite a lot about her. I remember hearing that her first few months in parliament were an absolute hell for her. I remember she had an Association which was trying to deselect her. I remember various MPs telling me at the time that she was finding it incredibly difficult balancing her family life with her new life as an MP. Her statement today explains that because her predecessor died six weeks before the 1997 election there was a huge backlog of mail. There was no constituency office. There was no secretary to deal with it. As a new MP she didn't have an office until a couple of months after the election. So she did the best she could. But she was drowning. That's not to plead sympathy for her, it is a statement of fact. This is what she had to say today...

I thought it might be helpful if I provided a little bit of background to the events when I was first elected MP for Meriden 11 years ago in 1997. My predecessor Ian Mills had suffered an untimely death about six weeks before the general election so there was quite a backlog of correspondence and therefore I accepted the opportunity to have part time administrative secretarial help from Tina Haines because I had advertised my home my consistency office, as there was no other office that Ian Mills had, nor staff in the constituency. Tina would answer the telephone for me and open the post and sort it for me and arrange it into files, and as a working mother that offered a practical solution because she could deal with the secretarial side whilst the children were in school and then after school provided child care for my kids. And to me that seemed a good solution and at the time I thought that was entirely within the rules.

The chief whip then made me aware that such an arrangement could be open to misinterpretation and whilst within the rules such misinterpretation is not helpful, therefore I put a stop to the arrangement. Tina Haines then ceased to work in any secretarial capacity and I engaged another person locally to work for me on the constituency administration.

My prime concern was to make sure my constituency needs were rapidly attended to as a new MP. Now at the time I thought those were still within the rules and that is still my belief but I will refer this series of events to the parliamentary standards commissioner and invite him to examine them and I will seek an early opportunity on Monday to meet with the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner for that purpose.

Caroline Spelman had never worked in Parliament before she was elected. She wasn't a career politician who knew the ways of Westminster. It was, of course, up to her to find out what rules she had to follow. The fact that the chief whip had to have a word indicated she had fallen foul of the spirit, if not the letter, of the rules. Remember, this was ten years ago - the Fees Office rules were not as clear and detailed as they are today and were easy to misinterpret. She took the advice of the chief whip and corrected the situation.

There are lessons here for politicians of all parties who find themselves elected to national office. Take every measure you can to make sure you are not overwhelmed by the enormity of what you have taken on. The House of Commons authorities know that a Member of Parliament is going to be elected. It is inexcusable that new MPs have to wait two months for a new office. It happened to Caroline Spelman in 1997. It happened to David Cameron in 2001. It happened to Nick Clegg in 2005. It must not happen to Priti Patel or Helen Grant in 2010. The rules of conduct may now be clearer, but the House of Commons still seems unable to cope with the consequences of the election of more than 100 new MPs. They've got two years to plan it.

I have only ever met or spoken to Caroline Spelman three times. But I know a decent, honest woman when I see one. If she did wrong here - and by referring herself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner she obviously knows she has a case to answer - she will do whatever she has to do to rectify the situation. But let's have less of the baying mob sanctimony which I have read in other places over the last hour. Why? Because imagine other women out there who look at Caroline Spelman and think to themselves: well if they treat a nice woman like her like this, why would I want to go into politics? Those who are effectively calling Caroline Spelman a crook would do well to reflect on the damage they are doing - not just to a decent, likeable and trustworthy politician, but to the political process itself.

PS I'm going to disallow anonymous comments on this thread due to the scandalous comments posted on this subject by anonymous cowards during the course of today.

62 comments:

Desperate Dan said...

The Tories must be spectacularly sleaze-free if their enemies have had to go back 11 years to dig up the misdemeanours of a brand new MP who set up an ad hoc arrangement while she was learning the rules, looking for a secretary and dealing with child care.

simon said...

Iain- you're 'a bit off' on this. What we have appears to be a 'perks charter' for elected representatives to Parliament. 'Perks' which are not avaliable to us lesser mortals. A point i made elsewhere is if MP/MEP's on appx £40k a year have to resort to 'milking the system'- how the hell do they expect us on average/below average earnings to manage? All the waffle on 'benefit fraud' is empty rhetoric made meaningless when MP/MEP's partake in 'legal' milking of an overgenourous 'claims' system granted to MP's by MP's! What the MP/MEP's are doing is WRONG. Full stop. If Caroline Spellman is 'decent and honest' then the same goes for 'benefit frauds' (milking a system to benefit themselves).

Huw Leslie said...

I'm a Labour member but I have to say that on this particular issue I don't think there's much for us to criticise; Spelman has clearly been consistently honest about the situation and there's a perfectly reasonable explanation (assuming that she only paid for the secretarial services with allowances). This is very different from the unethical, rule-breaking and downright corrupt behaviour of Conway and Chichester which is most certainly to be criticised.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Lakelander said...

Is the worst example of wrong-doing by a Conservative MP that the Labour party and the BBC can come up with?

What can we say? Err...wow!

David Cameron has already shown that he will take a firm stance with any MEP or MP who breaks the party rules.

Presumably we can expect to see a similar stance being taken by Gordon Brown in the very near future?
.
.
.
No. I thought not.

James Smith said...

The hypocrisy coming from Tory quarters on this story is unbelievable. If the exact same story had arisen about a Labour MP you would have jumped on this as further evidence of Labour sleaze. But because its a senior Tory you forgive her because she's basically a decent and honest person!! I mean what sort of defence is that. Her character isn't the issue, its whether she broke the rules (or bent them) which it is pretty clear she did!

As for saying she reported herself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, so what!! If she'd have reported herself to the Commissioner weeks ago before this became public then it would have been a principled stand, but to do if after you've been exposed by the press proves nothing. All it will do it preempt someone else from reporting her!

Daniel said...

Last time I started a new job, I made sure I was clear about what could and could not be done financially - before I touched a penny of my employers money and before I spent a penny of public money (for which I had responsibility). Why is it so hard for MPs to do the same?

This argument that the "rules weren't clear", or it's Parliament's fault because they don't provide Office space is complete hogwash. If the rules weren't clear, then she should have sought clarity. If you are not sure about the rules around accountability, you DO NOT then go and make a financial arrangement on behalf of the Taxpayer, which is what Spelman did.

The reason this happens, of course, is because it's the public purse and for years the old boys and girls network in Parliament thought, "Sod it. The proles don't matter"

They think they can do what they like with impunity. Then when they are found out it's all excuses excuses excuses. Doesn't wash I'm afraid.

She must go and go soon - even if it is to return after the Standards Commissioner reports, if she is exonerated.

Cameron must now conduct a root and branch investigation of every single Conservative Member (MP & MEP) and a thorough audit of their use of Public Finances - it is the only way to restore faith - and it's the only way the Tories can prevent the sleaze tag sticking. It has not been the best of weeks, I think even you would admit that, Iain.

ChrisD said...

Iain, totally agree with you on this issue. Oh, and thanks for the balance and detail in your article, something that has been lacking in some of the reports I have seen today.

bebopper said...

Well done Iain. Even if she broke the law through inexperience, it's pretty small beer compared with Conway and other MPs of all parties.
The timing stinks. The slimy git Crick obviously got the details from NuLab people. If they choose to run on this, something that happened briefly 11 years ago, they can't have much else up their sleeves.
As others have pointed out, most Labour MPs are keeping their heads down. I wonder why?

GeoffH said...

The baying mob is in full cry. And it's not a pretty sight.

But what disturbs me is that with some top-rank Labour MPs building their property portfolios on unjustified claims about primary residences (Balls and Cooper, and the Keens), or inflating mortgages beyond the value of the property (Blair) paying for humungous life assurance cover (the Keens again) and so on and so on, all Guido and his acolytes can get excited about is the Tory who mistakenly, 10 years ago and for a few months only, took the financial equivalent of a box of paper clips from the office.

Talk about mis-directed fire.

And all, I suspect, to demonstrate their own high moral tone rather than make some serious point about MPs and the expenses system.

Prats.

Alfred T Mahan said...

There is a very wise old legal saw that applies here: 'de minimis non curat lex'. This story is ten years old, Caroline Spelman was only told by the then Chief Whip that her arrangements 'were open to misinterpretation', and she immediately changed them. He didn't say it was illegal, please note. We need to distinguish between someone apparently trying their best (in apparently difficult circumstances)and those who are having a laugh with their 'expenses'. I agree with you, Iain - let's move on.

David said...

I note the glee with which the BBC (aka the media arm of NuLabour) are pushing this non story from the 1990s! Wouldn't be NuLab's media arm trying to help Gordon distract our attention from all the problems he is having and those that WILL surface with Labour and Liberal MPs, MEPs and MSPs etc shortly?

John Kelly said...

Hear hear, Ian. I've been increasingly concerned about the mainstream and non-mainstream media searching to stir up any story they can on expenses issues. Clearly there has been a problem with MP's expenses and that needs to be sorted out. However, I do believe that the vast majority of MP's are thoroughly decent and honest individuals who, where mistakes have been made, made them innocently and when they were highlighted sought to rectify them. At a time when the public's views of politicians is at an all time low, it is deeply unhelpful and indeed downright invidious of certain journalists and well known bloggers to seek to compound this position. I am all for identifying and condemning wholeheartedly fraud where it is perpetrated, both inside and outside Parliament; but this relentless campaign to besmirch the reputation of any and all MP's who may or may not, at one time, have used expenses in a way that we now regard as unacceptable is utterly repugnant. The public deserve better, both from journalists. There are plenty of "real" stories to investigate, and they should turn their attention to those. Perhaps a more thorough investigation of the relationship between the Bank of England and the Treasury would be a good place to start?

RFK said...

The words storm and tea cup spring to mind. This is a sign of Labour desperation. She paid someone for doing a job, that person happend to be her nanny at other time, what exactly is wrong with that?

Trying to manufacture ott sleaze stories in a desperate attempt to win the election will not work for Labour. This will be forgotten by mid-week. The BBC seemed particularly desperate to make something of this with it running as their top story. Quiet news day.

Jonathan Brooks said...

This is a good and spirited defence - and it's nice to see such a thing in an often dreadfully cynical world. But, this is not the same treatment you have shown to Labour MPs in a similar situation (eg. Harriet Harman) and what about Sir Menzies Campbell over the donation from Michael Brown?

WHilst I applaud your measured response here, it demeans you that you do not treat other honourable members, who happen to hold different political views to you, in a similar way.

anonemo said...

She should have found out what the rules were first. The fact that even after a year she still had'nt bothered to ask, makes it worse.
She did'nt misenterpret the rules, she did'nt know what the rules were.

Any damage being done to political process is surely being done by the politicians themselves.

The Odyssey said...

What concerns me is the orchestration of the MEP's via Guido, legitimately downed, and this BBC story. I am not well enough informed to know who played who, but this doesn't look like a coincidence to me. Your article seems an entirely reasonable assessment of the situation. Bloggers who run with the foxes and the hounds could end up getting stitched up.

Bel said...

Oh for crying out loud, Iain, does one need to be told that public money should not be used to pay for a nanny? Why could she not have made an apportionment: pay out of public funds for the admin work, and then pay out of her own pocket for the nanny work? That is what any prudent person would do.

I happen to like Caroline Spelman; i.e as much as you can 'like' someone you only see on television (I don't know her, but she seems ok). However, she is not a child, and we should expect more from a seemingly competent adult. If she is competent enough to stand as an MP, surely she should know right from wrong (or perhaps maybe not, given our current crop of MPs). But why did she not realise that there was something not quite right about the arrangement? Why did she need the Chief Whip to point it out to her?

And Iain, taxpayers have a right to be incensed by such stories. It does you no good to start your article by attacking people who quite rightly express their anger at this situation. That she is a nice woman is neither here nor there. When she uses our money for inappropriate purposes, nice doesn't come into it. Not by a long way.

James Barlow said...

She may not have had a political career, but she was not stranger to the expenses policy of numerous private companies; all of whom would have regarded this arrangement as irregular.

Her position as an MP is a matter for the local association, but I can't see that she can continue in the role of Party Chairman. How is she supposed to set the tone for the MPs and MEPs?

trevorsden said...

They are probably the same gobshites that Guido relies on to earn his living.

I can smell graft - but this story really is just plain pathetic. Driven by the BBC to bump up their credibility. Quite frankly if Brown can get his SKY on expenses and a millionairess can get her windows cleaned at taxpayer expense then this is just nonsense.

Is Spellman any different? Probably a whole lot better.

Gallimaufry said...

Anyone who has borrowed a roll of sellotape from work ought not criticise Mrs Spelman.

Raedwald said...

I'm with you on this, Iain. Wrong target.

spinaltap19 said...

The New Labour spin machine must be getting desperate if they have to resort to unearthing misdemeanours from the last century. MPs expenses continue to remain a grey area and will do so until all MPs staff are directly employed by Westminster and their suitably furnished London accomodation provided for them.

This should not distract from the universally acknowledged truth that the Prime Minister is not fit for office.

Nick Tennant said...

Well said Ian, the voice of reason once again. Sad to see on other sites so-called Tories laying into their own side with such undisguised venom. Caroline Spelman is a patently decent woman, who deserves better. If the media claim her scalp on this one the Tory party will be the loser.

Ruth Bright said...

It's about time there was a creche at the House of Commons. Is it any wonder that some MPs' childcare arrangements are a mess? Why not allow them to claim childcare expenses anyway - as councillors do in some authorities?

Tankus said...

Some people think that Ronnie Biggs is a good ol' stick too ...!

If she has done nothing wrong ,then whats the problem .....open honesty and transparency is the way to go !...Then its not even a story !

But, if it is a case of whoopsey daysie ..... well ... !

See what "Dave" really is made of !

I would really like to see the Kinnocks expenses over the years

tapestry said...

The Spelman story has been whipped up by the BBC to take the public's gaze away from the colossal sums being claimed by Conservative MEPs to pay their own families - as per Conway.

Guido's been pulled off the scent by this false trail.

the orange party said...

I agree with your comments here, Iain.
This story seems to have been concocted by New Labour and the BBC.
The 'ya boo sucks' spin is a disgrace.
Just look at the way BBC News On Line led with this story for most of yesterday.
Yes. expose someone for obvious expenses fiddles but this all happened 10 years ago for goodness sake.

Gaz said...

The BBC seem to have got themselves worked up into a frothy mess on this, running the story as its main story online all day. I know for a fact, that Peter Hain, Abrhams, Harriot Harmen etc did not get a fraction of the coverage. Even when it was cabinet ministers resigning, the BBC *did* not break the story, even when knowing of it for sometime, they reported it in the third party.

I have met Caroling Spelman before, and while i dont know her, she did come across as someone who genuinly cared about peoples problems, while have a touch of the 'jaqui smiths' about her, ie she doesnt sound like a professional politician.

Plaid voter said...

Seems to me that the BBC's Tory haters felt that they had to do something for the cause .... this happened ten years ago and it was all over the BBC news programmes!

Now it seems that there was no scandal in the first place except for the very real scandal of a publicly funded broadcaster doing some dirty work on behalf of its beleagured political friends.

Man in a Shed said...

Thanks for giving us some back ground.

This smells of a deliberate attempt to distract attention for another major political story.

It would be interesting to hear from Newsnight how they came upon the story.

If this is a Labour dirty tricks operation then that's the real story behind this. Perhaps some of the BBC's journalists would put aside their personal politics and do their job for a change.

It also seems to me that many of the other expenses revelations from Labour ministers are worse - yet the BBC doesn't get half as excited about them.

As you say Caroline Spelman's reputation is good, and she deserves the benefit of the doubt and time to explain herself.

G Eagle Esq said...

Sehr geEhrter Iain

Vielen Dank for your Post

You have saved a certain sehr Grauer Adler from completing misjudging this young Lady

This shews the perils of leaping to judgement, before the facts are ascertained

Alles Gute

G von Adler

Iain Dale said...

James Smith 6.51 I could cite you examples of where I have defended opposition politicians from these kind of charges.

Anonymous 7.16 I haven;t commenetd on it before because I was out all last evening and all day today. And after the Nanny's statement tonight it's not me who looks stupid, it's you and Michael Crick.

Jonathan Brooks 7.37. I was proved right about Michael Brown. He has been convicted and faces further charges later in the year. But I refer you to the answer I gave above. Earlier this year I defended a Labour politician against charges of misconduct. But you clearly would ignore that as it doesnt fit into your template of how I should behave.

Bel 7.47. Read the Nanny's statement. She was stiched up by Crick. he made out he was doing a programme about Caroline's family life and apparently never even said he was from Newsnight. Don't be so bloody naive.

trevorsden said...

"Oh for crying out loud, Iain, does one need to be told that public money should not be used to pay for a nanny?"

Why not?

Gordon Brown can use it to pay for his SKY subscription. Other labourites have used it to get their windows cleaned and to get their gardens done (cannot labourites get their fingernails dirty?).

the point aboutn this stpory is its thinness and its decrepit age. why does Newsnight chose tom run it?

Maverick Muezzin said...

Story is a non-story. This is not sleaze.

Caroline has always struck me as a principled politician and is one I'd dearly like to meet in person because of her views on International Development and her religious values. I'd say she was an important factor in my joining the Conservative Party recently.

Lastly, no more of this nonsense about her being on the make. For goodness sake, in 2004/5 she was ranked 641st out of 659 MPs in terms of expense claims (see theyworkforyou.com).

beachhutman said...

sorry Iain, "Caesars Wife". She must go, and fast. She can rehab later.

Diablo said...

Iain, thanks for giving us the detail. If this is an attempt to reconnect the Conservatives with the "sleaze" tag it's a pretty poor try.

Now, if the Labour Party avoids becoming technically insolvent by the end of the month then that will be a story which requires very close scrutiny. I wonder if the BBC and the riff-raff that make up the so-called Fifth Estate will spend much time on it? Watch this space!

Bel said...

Iain, I read the nanny's statement. Thanks for reproducing it on your blog. While I agree that she was stitched up by Crick, it doesn't change the fact that she was doing two jobs for Ms Spelman, and being paid by the taxpayer for both. I don't doubt that she did constituency work. It is the nanny work I have an issue with. She should not have been paid for that our of the public purse.

Iain Dale said...

Bel, you are wrong. She paid the Nanny for secretarial work from 9-3pm, so far as I can see. The nanny work was paid by being given free board and lodging. Case closed.

Bel said...

Thanks Iain. In that case, I have no issue with her.

Just one small point, though: is it really possible to hire a nanny and pay her nothing other than free board and lodging? Does anyone else pay their nanny in such way? Would any nanny even accept such an arrangement i.e. no money, just a bed and food? (Strip out the secretarial work and salary and that's what you're left with.) This is the reason why Spelman is in trouble today. She cannot escape the suspicion that some of the money paid was for nanny services.

Anonymous said...

"Case closed."

You wish.

Little Black Sambo said...

Conservatives can take comfort from all this. Labour & their media friends are obviously desperate.

Bel said...

Thanks Iain. In that case, I have no issue with her.

Just one small point, though: is it really possible to hire a nanny and pay her nothing other than free board and lodging? Does anyone else pay their nanny in such way? Would any nanny even accept such an arrangement i.e. no money, just a bed and food? (Strip out the secretarial work and salary and that's what you're left with.) This is the reason why Spelman is in trouble today. She cannot escape the suspicion that some of the money paid was for nanny services.

Anonymous said...

You allow anonymous comments all the time - and have allowed them many times under this post where you've said you won't be allowing them dozens of times before mine - but for one comment that makes a specific point that's quite damaging to your credibility, you suddenly don't allow anonymous comments.

It's not my fault that you allow anonymous comments generally but now want to change the rules all of a sudden.

Why haven't you deleted all of the anonymous comments under this post?

Iain Dale said...

A fair point. I thought I had deleted them all, but you are right. There were 6 left. They are now all gone. As will yours be tomorrow.

Can I just remind you that this is my blog and if I wish to change the rules for a particualr post I shall do so. I am appalled at some of the anonymous vitriol that people think they can throw about here willy nilly. Sometimes they need to be told it is just not on and today is one of those days. I gave clear warning on the original post I would not allow anonymous posts so stop whinging.

If you have something valid to say, why not put a name to it?

Anonymous said...

"If you have something valid to say, why not put a name to it?"

Put the same challenge to Guido.

Obvious said...

If you have something valid to say, why not put a name to it?

If you want people to put their name to comments, make it a prerequisite in the first place or stop moaning that they don't do it when you want them to.

rain in the bait barrel said...

Two posts back you bemoan people using ignorance of the law as an excuse and now you say ignorance of the law is acceptable if you are a decent and honest person?!?
HYPOCRITE?

Anonymous said...

I appologise for being anonymous.

I use my name on other blogs but on this one I have never been able to get my computer to log on any other way.

tory boys never grow up said...

I suspect HMRC already has several precedents as to how normal tax payers would be treated in such cases - I can see no reason as to why Caroline Spelman should be treated any differently from an ordinary tax payer.

If she was claiming an expense which an ordinary tax payer would not be allowed to claim as tax deductible - she has received income which would be taxed in the hands of the ordinary tax payer and she should resign as a MP straightaway. I can see no reason, in this case, why different rules should apply for MPs from other tax payers.

On the other hand the whole area of MPs expenses needs sorting out quickly - if MPs (or anyone else) for that matter is legitimately entitled to expenses, then those expenses should be subject to proper management review and audit - rather than review by the media (whose own standards in this area are something less than wonderful - perhaps Michael Crick might wish to let us examine his expense claims in teh interest of balance?). Should shareholders in a company be able to examine all the expenses of the directors and management of the company?? On the other hand, what is claimable by MPs should be clearly documented and be no more than ordinary tax payers should be able to claim (which i suspect is the source of most current resentment)and be subject to rigorous review and audit.

Anonymous said...

Iain, you are such a hypocrite. You have no right to lecture the baying mob when you're usually the one leading it.

Anonymous said...

Iain, sorry you saw fit to delete my anonymous comment but as you say, it's your blog - and hence your credibility. But some of us actually work for the so-called Establishment and in these days of the omnipresent Big Brother are not about to put our name to everything we write. It doesn't mean the comments aren't valid.

martyn said...

Iain Dale wrote: "I am appalled at some of the anonymous vitriol that people think they can throw about here willy nilly."

In that case you were equally appalled by a commenter who suggested the best thing Jim Hood could do was have another heart attack and die.

http://tinyurl.com/6gmp2t

Nice, hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

Caroline Spelman has been unlucky. She has been open and honest from the start. I have the highest respect for her.

People don't understand how difficult it is to be an MP. It takes over you life.

Anonymous said...

Judging by which comments of mine that you've deleted today, Iain, you're trying to protect your reputation as much as Spelman's. Precious.

narcissa said...

Your defence of your friend is touching, but you have left us (well, me) with the impression that she was selected in the face of opposition by the constituency party, that she was ill-prepared for public office, and that she was so disorganised that she did not think to engage a proper PA, although she did manage to find out about, and claim, the allowance which should have enabled her to employ one. This is not the best recommendation for her position within the party, however nice and well-meaning a person she may be.

Anonymous said...

June 08, 2008 10:01 AM
June 08, 2008 1:08 PM

Wow, so no comments under this post for 3+ hours today. Are you sure?

Scipio said...

1. This was over a decade ago, when the fees system was even more lax and chaotic than it is now

2. It was an ad-hoc arrangement that was clearly designed to enable the woman to 'do her job' as an MP. It wasn't as if she set up a nannying company, then syphoned off public dosh to pay for her own childcare

3. I am damn sure that if we asked all the Labour entrants in 97 if they did something similar, I am sure the answer would be - ooooops - yes!

4. Caroline Spelman is not my favourate person after what she did over the euro candidates, but this is just hogwash. All those who deal with her that I know say she is unfailingly decent, and a more unlikely 'fiddler' you will not find

5. She didn't break any rules!

GM said...

I'm surprised by a couple of the points here, notwithstanding the fact that Caroline Spelman is a highly regarded MP and individual. However, there has always been a Meriden constituency office, and my recollection of the situation in 1997 - as a former Meriden activist - is that it was certainly staffed part-time at the very least. The office was shared with the Solihull constituency. Second, Caroline was selected enthusiastically by the association, and although a few of the more euro-sceptic members didn't like her more pragmatic European line, she was never in danger of re-selection.

Martin said...

I hope the Tory party can finally be persuaded that if they do win the next election that the BBC will be abolished in its current TV tax form.

If the Tories are so stupid (many of them see the BBC like the EU as a job opportunity if they get kicked out of Parliament) as not to take the opportunity to scrap the tax, they will be missing a golden opportunity.

The BBC are clearly trying to smear the Tory party to give Gordon a chance. But what a feeble story.

Did the BBC dig so deep over Peter Hain or Wendy Alexander?

The Odyssey said...

Hey you lot, As a Thatcher baby and someone who is mildly hopeful of a Cameron government.
You are just about forgiven for the DISGRACEFUL way in which you treated your leader, and I really wanted her out !!!!!
I tell you this:
If you want to stand a chance of winning the next election SHUT UP about the BBC.
It is a stupid loony debate and shows the unelectable face of the Tories or anybody who thinks it’s a primary issue. You win from the centre ground, it’s not a buzzword you idiots, it’s a fact, and I would suggest that this is Tory blue rinse brigade, because you obviously have not understood the primary media issues of the day.
If you don't think adults can discern the truth, then that is totally patronizing and the nanny state, if you cant counter false information, then don’t get involved in the debate in the first place.
The BBC has some fantastic content, and sometimes it doesn't, but the debate in the wider context is always totally served.
Continuous improvement: YES
Dragon Slaying: ABSOLUTLEY NO, because your mindset optimize everything that is wrong with The British Management Class that has presided over the negligent destruction of our fantastic Victorian inheritance, you have stifled debate and innovation and you wont be getting my vote or my support.
My youtube channel wouldn't be there without the BBC. The BBC has been a fantastic value for money resource all my life. I have known the whereabouts of my remote control on continual basis and these days I have loads of channels to choose from.
If you want to have an adult debate about the new media lets talk about copyright and access to the BBC video Vault and the copyright of that vault. What about Net neutrality or fiber to home. Or, If you can cope with a bit more lets talk about the network in general. In short get with it.
I used to have this stupid conversation about the BBC bias with my Dad twenty years ago and things have moved on considerably since then. Media delivery and media access are Primary issues, The political stance of the BBC has been managed just fine from Churchill to now with mistakes all the way through, that’s what management is and no radical reform is required.
I have been collecting video for over a year with a view to producing a Pro Tory narrative on my Youtube channel.
In 18 months I have not managed to secured ONE clip of Gordon Brown talking about Prudence or Boom and Bust..........
Its ALL about the editors cut you idiots!!!!!! HITS (traffic), online communities, coherent narrative form online communities.( (in passing)Leave Guido alone !! He is doing great job in the Blogosphere).
Copyright!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE NEW MEDIA and the BBC position in the NEW media.
The only glimmer of hope is David Cameron.......Superb Management .....Superb delivery……….It’s just the rest of you, you are totally un manageable!!!!
Its a lot of groundwork trying to make a channel on Youtube. Content harvest and production takes a lifetime, not mention the copious amounts of data. If I hear much more of this crap, i don’t think I will bother.

Will someone please get a new hymn sheet for the Tory blue rinse brigade.

p smith said...

Typical excuse making by Tories for Tories.

Her nanny told the truth in her interview with Crick; namely that she was their nanny and from time to time posted the odd letter and answered the odd call. Spelman abused public finances for a short period. That is a fact. If that was it, I would have no problem. After all, she's not the only one.

The real issue here is the subsequent statement which was quite plainly drafted by Tory central office. That statement is an utter misrepresentation as it gives the untrue impression that the nanny performed a full secretarial role. As ever, the attempt to cover up and hide from proper disclosure is more damning the original offence.

The lie is then completely exposed when we learn that as soon as the imaginary secretarial role comes to an end, the nanny then receives full pay for her nannying services (whereas we are told she received nothing for her nannying prior to that date).

It is really sad to see intelligent conservatives such as Dale try to defend this nonsense. Just fess up, take the hit and move on. There is plenty going in your favour at the moment but I guess the old Tory instincts of looking after one's own, dies hard