Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Media Herd is Determined to Take its Scalp

By the way, perhaps we can now look forward to the following being subjected to twenty minutes of aggressive questioning about their own claims...

Elliot Morley
David Chayter
Margaret Moran
Ian Gibson
Alistair Darling
Geoff Hoon
James Purnell

I could go on. But I won't, the media herd has collectively decided on the name of its next scalp and will do everything it can to serve it up on a platter.

And I ask again. Why is this petition collector in Bromsgrove, Mrs France, being treated like some local heroine? She and her husband are leading members of Respect. Indeed, her husband is the secretary of Birmingham Respect. Why does no one on Sky or the BBC make any mention of this?

93 comments:

Desperate Dan said...

On the World at One Mrs France claimed to be an "ordinary housewife" with no politicial affiliations.

Anonymous said...

Everyone you list needs to go too, but really it wouldn't matter if Attila the Hun was setting up the petition. The petition is right, it just needs repeating several hundred times for all the troughers of whatever political persuasion.

Take off the party blinkers, our democracy first, tory party second.

Morus said...

You go for the weakest of the herd first.

Her husband had already 'resigned' and agreed to step down as an MP for the same expenses, so she was the weakest.

If she does the honourable thing, I for one would relish seeing everyone on your list and several more be subjected to 'twenty minutes of aggressive questioning' (the cheek of it).

Anonymous said...

Mrs France lies. The Telegraph witch hunt has in fact become a Conservative MP witch hunt. Almost every story which has turned into tosh has been about a Conservative.

Anonymous said...

Many people have signed this petition because they think the behaviour of Julie Kirkbride and Andrew Mckay was unacceptable. It doesn't matter who is behind organsing the petition as the petition merely asks constinuents to sign if they think Julie should go. There are no wider considerations to be drawn other than that 5,000 odd constituents think she should go, and that number will grow.

Anonymous said...

Heres a couple of these BNP 'NAZI THUGS' David Cameron was refering to today. It's a MUST WATCH!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcE-Hxe_1Tk

Cymro said...

When Sky News had an OB from Bromsgrove a couple of weeks ago they had Mark Anthony France on, and it was made very clear that he was very much involved with the Respect party.

StradeyParker said...

Why should the petition organiser be treated like a local hero? I don't know.

But as to why she is not being judged in the same way as Ms Kirkbride, perhaps it is because she has not submitted expense claims to the Fees Office, along with her husband, that raise questions that until today she was not prepared to face scrutiny for.

And it further appears that her attitude to her constituents is such that, while she will apologise to them, she is not prepared to meet them face to face (even though she has been told to).

Instead, it seems, she will take her cues from the constituency party and her leader. Well, the last time I looked, Mr Cameron did not have a vote in this seat; and if she thinks that the support of the local party machine alone will carry her through, then she does not get 'it'.

Andrew K said...

Iain,

I e-mailed the BBC on this one after listening to WATO. THey are seriously taking the piss.

Anonymous said...

Iain, I see you are quite agitated about things. I do agree why single out Kirkbride? Why have there been no arrests or no prosecutions at all?

As usual it's the whole political class in control.

Is there a worse crime? like making stamp duty rules for every one else and then exempting yourself from them by claiming on expenses?

You are a conviction conservative yourself Iain, so are you not biased anyway?

I'm sick of the whole thing. Words, words, words as usual. No action as usual.

Nothing will change, politicians don't see they have done any thing wrong. Cameron, like Blair promises you the earth on constitutional change until the day after the election. So where were the firm committments in his speech any way? As for the Labour mafia, well they are completely discredited and bereft of any feelings for the electorate.

Same old politics, same clasees in control. A usual tory supporter

Plato said...

I emailed R5 about this and they never mentioned the story again so no idea if they thought oops or just timed out.

Now you've posted this perhaps they will wake-up and be more balanced?

Sir Cumference said...

Why is no mention made of Gerald Kaufman - he tried to claim £8,800 for a TV, six times the cost of a duck house(and still enough left to put an ordinary TV in each house).

FloTom said...

I have no problem with the people collecting signatures on the petition giving their political allegiance or the broadcasters doing so.

Does it really matter though? Would it matter if they were Labour Supporters? Surely what matters is the people that are SIGNING the petition not the ones going around with it.

Whilst it is admirable you want to defend your freind Iain this is just a distraction from the real issue and I suspect you know it.

I agree however that there are many other MPs with questions to answer to add to the list you named here we should add Cameron, Duncan, Gove, Osborne.

Oh sorry they are the current Tory heirarchy so it is ok for them to abuse the publics trust in your book is it Iain?

Anonymous said...

The Beeb is absolutely appalling at questioning the motives of its non-politician interviewees. It also gives them a much easier ride in terms of questioning.

That is why viewers and listeners have to put up with so much hard-brained crap from various special interest groups, fake charities and other obsessives.

Robert said...

And all those people, 6500 at the last count, were forced to sign?

If they don't get rid of her a Tory hold will become another party's gain in Bromsgrove.

steveshark said...

Perhaps no-one cares who's trying to oust Kirkbride - just that someone's prepared to organize it.
Similarly, I'm no fan of the Telegraph, but I'm glad that it's exposing the troughers and I disagree with Guido but am grateful to him for exposing the sleaze campaign run from no. 10.
Sometimes you just have to take what you can get if the ends justify the means.
Would you be so hot under the collar about 'young' (48!) Anne if she was a Labour MP?

realbrogan said...

They must ALL go. All who have not behaved with propriety must be fired. Easy!

DMC said...

I hope all the MPs who have been fiddling expenses are exposed.

I dont think Iain that there will be alot of cabinet ministers in the dock over the next few days.

Also Nick Clegg was on the BBC around 5pm and was questioned about Lib Dem MPs expenses and he did not know if anymore stories about his MPs would break, so begs the question has he not checked, he only has just 62 MPs.

..Silicon Implant!! said...

I'm all in favour of all of the above being focused on, one at a time, snout-in-trough after snout-in-trough, with the spotlight firmly focussed. No doubt after Kirkbride has been despatched, media attention will turn to somebody else. Labour has dodged the bullet for a few days by keeping their collective heads down, but that is unsustainable for them in even the short term, and if they continue to fail to deal with the big names in their own morally bankrupt cabinet, the electorate will judge them collectively very badly, as well as punishing the individuals concerned in due course. Tories are in the spotlight because they have fired up the tumbrils quickly and efficiently, and every bent Tory whose career goes round the political U-bend throws that fact into ever starker relief! When every last dubious Tory has been despatched ignominiously, or has successfully thrown themselves on the mercy of their local electorate, "Call me Dave" can assume a beautific smile and look expectantly at Broon across the house of commons, and reap the electoral... well, not reward but relative reward. Stop looking at what Labour are or aren't doing with their own offenders as a guide to what the Conservative party should be doing with theirs!

Incidentally, complaining that the petition to oust Kirkbride has been organised by an opportunist from another minor party makes little sense - do you believe that the alleged 10,000 signatures are all from Respect stooges as well? Ordinarily 'Respect' would surely get about a dozen votes in that constituency, and half a dozen of those would be by mistake!

No doubt less people would have signed the petition if the affiliation of the lady wielding the clipboard was known to them, but I doubt that any of those 10,000 people are going to be voting for Kilbride if she stands on the Conservative ticket, are they? So if she stands again, the seat is lost, and her career is over anyway!

Sue said...

Does it matter? They're not forcing people to sign.

mongoose said...

Why don't you ask Sky why they don't mention it? Why don't you ask her why she suppresses this key factor?

Ms Kirkbride is toast in any case.

Mirtha Tidville said...

Sorry but she is tainted Iain, whether or not you like it. When you become the story, as she is, then its time to go.She is also damaging the Conservative Party at a difficult time. DC, will I`m sure, take a long view and if she hasnt gone by close of business tomorrow ...toast is what she will be.


Maybe it is unfair but in this Febral atmosphere it has to be expected and there will always be casualties. Sad but true.

Re Mrs France, you must have contacts at Sky, cant you whisper in someone`s ear...

Anonymous said...

It strikes me that Kirkbride and Mackay have totally taken over the media narrative.

The BBC offer an unbiased view of a Tory MP? Don't be silly.

She'll be gone by the end of the week.

Dick the Prick said...

Completely fair point.

Steve Tierney said...

There are no good guys in any of this.

The Telegraph - all about the money.

Respect - All about their hatred for Conservatives.

Its all very sad.

Batteredstrat said...

You didn't think that the Telegraph and the rest of the media were going to act as an impartial gather of news and fact did you Iain?

The Barcley Brothers have an agenda, I think it will soon become clear what that is.

thespecialone said...

I have only found out who started this campaign a few minutes ago on Guido's blog.

I knew it had to have something to do with lefties. My guess is that even though 'Respect' are the front for this campaign; someone from Labour is right behind it.

I also agree that why are the media not chomping at the bit to have a go at any Labour MP?

Harri said...

I could go on. But I won't, the media herd has collectively decided on the name of its next scalp and will do everything it can to serve it up on a platter.

The least they can do is form an orderly queue!

Bunny Smedley said...

If you distrust this 'ordinary housewife', just wait until you see the sort of Martin Bell figures - which is to say, willing stooges of existing political interests, hiding behind a stuck-on persona of blameless normality and generally apolitical wonderfulness - who'll end up getting selected for seats, and probably winning them too, propelled by the present lynch-mob atmosphere coupled by the irresponsibility of political leaders who think that by giving in to it, they can somehow benefit from it.

Genuine anarchists are perhaps right to enjoy this stuff, but I can't imagine it's going to end well for anyone else.

Mr. Mxyzptlk said...

Its no good Iain Julie is a goner.even Dave says she has questions to answer I mean if Julie's party leader will not fully endorse her What are we supposed to think?.

JMB said...

I have wondered myself about some of the people campaigning for (mainly Conservative) MPs to resign. Many do not appear to be obvious Conservative supporters so it would be good for the media to check their backgrounds.

Anonymous said...

Don't you think the Respect assertions get in the way of the story?

I thought her justifications were quite good, but there again she did employ members of her family and hopefully that is what having people employed centrally will overcome

genghiz the kahn said...

Once again Gordon Brown uses pre-school children to shield himself from the press. No questions put to him by the gutless tv crews.

At least Julie Kirkbride has faced the press, and the public and tried to answer questions. Have any of the Cabinet faced the public yet?

How many ministers are there in the government, as 40 of them were fingered by the Telegraph for odd income tax arrangements how many are acting above board?

JamesW said...

Julie's toast, but it does amaze me that so little is being said about the thieves in the red corner. We've got the Chancellor fiddling the revenue; the PM claiming for cleaning his wife's flat; various phantom mortgage payers; and the Grand Hoonette, Moron, with her taxpayer subsidised rotten love-nest.

talwin said...

Plus ca change.

Obsidian said...

The media prefer something that looks like it won't give much of a fight.

Anyone who has enough readies to lawyer up, has the kind of connections to make an outlets life a little slice of hell, or has any kind of relationship with anyone in the media is going to frighten the craven scribblers.

Someone who looks like they can be speared to public applause with minimal effort, on the other hand, well then, they're toast.

Kirkbride needs to do something to indicate that her scalp comes with a price. Punching Will Lewis' lights out would be an amusing start.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree Iain about the RESPECT thing.

I hope you always make sure that anyone who refers to you as 'blogger' Iain Dale ensures they mention you are a Conservative blogger, rather than just any old person, though.

Jabba the Cat said...

You have direct connections to the Telegraph so get them to publicise Galloway's troughing figures which I'm sure will make interesting reading. About time someone took the little shit down a peg or two.

Non Runner said...

Maybe she should do a photo shoot handing over a big cheque to a local charity?

Maybe she should cry on camera, saying how awful this whole thing has been?

Maybe she should do a mea culpa and promise never to do it again?

Spin all you like Iain. She's finished.

The reason she must be next in line is because her husband has already stood down.

trevorsden said...

I do think is strange that no labour cabinet ministers are being doorstepped.

In my view whilst virtually all the various expenses claims released are dubious, ie many items are more luxurious than the necessity warrants, only a relatively few are verging on the fraudulent. ie flipping in order to build up a property portfolio and to be able to enhance what is in reality a first home.

The new 'new labour' ploy of getting us to pay for their accountants is an entirely new scam so breathtaking that even now I cannot summon the energy to raise a sufficient level of rage.

I think we should be concentrating out ire where it matters.

Toque said...

"Why is this petition collector in Bromsgrove, Mrs France, being treated like some local heroine? She and her husband are leading members of Respect."

Perhaps because, for those of us who aren't party animals, which is most of us, it matters not.

We want heads on plates and it doesn't matter who serves them up.

tweek said...

Something smells funny about this. There are worse troughers in my opinion and they are getting let off the hook.

JuliaM said...

Because no-one really cares that she may be 'one of the other side'.

There's time to go after them too....

Anonymous said...

I watched an interview with Mark Anthony France on Sky. He was introduced as an activist for the Respect Party and questioned about his motives. Maybe you missed it.

http://birminghamrespect.wordpress.com/2009/05/20/mps-expenses-scandal-mark-anthony-france-on-sky-news/

Fausty said...

JK did rather well in her interviews. She might just survive.

DD, Mrs France sounded to me as though she had a chip on her shoulder.

Iain, are you not interested in interviewing the 7 you listed, if the BBC goes easy on them?

howard thomas said...

I must admit that I don't really care about who she is----It would appear that the sitting MP has a lot of questions to answer----If shown to be 'guilty ' then its time to go!!

keith Elliott said...

This media manipulation needs to be exposed for what it is.

The Telegraph's manipulation of this also needs to be examined. Yes, expose the wrong doers, but to have this drip drip of scandal for weeks on end serves only to destroy the political process - the good and the bad parts.

Unsworth said...

That the organisers of the petition are members of Respect is, in my view, irrelevant. Would you be so concerned if the petition was organised by someone else?

I'd guess that the good people of Bromsgrove are well capable of making their minds up about Kirkbride - and of doing their own joined-up, even those who only use crayons.

Anonymous said...

Wow.

Just read TrueBlueBlood on David Cameron's leadership....whilst not an attack....paints him as an opportunistic populist.

At least someone dares to speak the truth.

Unmissable article...take a look

Anonymous said...

Maybe if Mrs. Kirkbride fell on her sword then the story could move on to those Labour scumbags who've done exactly the same thing and deserve exactly the same treatment and worse.

Anyone who is attempting to view this crisis through the lens of party loyalty is part of the problem. I don't much care in what order these MPs get marched to the scaffold, or who can claim credit for their being despatched.

Anonymous said...

I think the Telegraph are doing a superb job. When they are finished we shall know who will deserve to be re-elected. Any guesses re how many? My guess is no more than 50 out of 646. The last time I looked Labour Home actually named 5 of theirs although two were a bit iffy. What about your lot Iain?

Anonymous said...

Personally I feel sorry for Ms Kirkbride - she is probably no worse offender than some others in the Tory Party and equally the Labour Party. But the thing is that she has become the story.It's unfair and unjust but she is doing untold damage to the Conservative Party by staying. Can we truly afford to lose the Bromsgrove seat at the election?- because we will. Do we want to seee everything that's been worked for for the past 4 years go into the dust ? - because it will- is it possible for Cameron to go into an election 14 points ahead of Brown and lose ? - I am afraid it is.

Julie Kirkbride is probably no longer likely to win an election in Bromsgrove. Particularly as an election is a better than evens chance for September/October this year.The longer she stays the more the media will concentrate it's fire on her.She has to go by the weekend.Whoever is behind the petition in her Bromsgrove constituency it has caught the mood of her electorate and like a stone rolling downhill the momentum gains speed taking all in its path.

Ms Kirkbride did herself much harm in her interview by firstly being in Plymouth and NOT in her constituency when she gave it;by on previous occsions twice putting the phone down in radio interviews when the questioning got too personal to her circumstances(if you're that "precious" don't enter politics)and then in the Plymouth interview stating that she would not be attending the Sunday public meeting in her constituency because Sunday was when she spent time with her little boy.These are very laudable sentiments and in normal times perfectly reasonable BUT these are NOT normal times.She should have shown contrition and said that she would obviously attend the meeting(although in fairness I suppose she saw how her husband was treated and one can feel personally for her and him but she's fighting for her political future)despite the fact that she normally would devote Sunday's to her young son etc etc.She could have possibly pulled it around and played on her record as local MP but she didn't appear contrite and appeared disdainful. The electorate want blood anyone's blood and whilst unfair when other "bigger fish" are escaping for the moment Julie Kirkbride is being savaged by the mob who will not be satisfied until she succumbs

johnny hissie-fitte said...

I suggest you read the Daily Mail this evening before you have another seizure.

This woman is has taken the public purse for tens of thousands of pounds.

The public mood is clear: she will have to go. It is not a media witch hunt, as you must know, people have had enough of MPs who help themselves to our money with impunity.

AndrewJK said...

What is it with this Julie Kirkbride witch hunt. Sure, it could be argued she claimed expenses she shouldn't have and her hubby has faling on his sword, but what about the other MPs who are guilty of taken expenses and refusing to pay a penny back. That Margaret Moran (or should that be 'Moron') seems to be guilty of FAR worse yet doesnt seem to have faced any disciplinary action or media frenzy witch hunt. The Telegraph is attempting to come across as holier-than-thou over their scoop but they're acting just as unscrupulous as you rightly say, Iain, to claim their scalp.

Sue said...

Taxpayer helped fund £50,000 for extension for her brother's bedroomYes, she's squeaky clean!

FloTom said...

Anonymous below is a list of the MPs the Telegraph had named as saints upto the other day

Adam Afriyie Con

Geoffrey Robinson Lab

Martin Salter Lab

Philip Dunne Con

David Howarth Lib Dem

Anne Widdecombe Con

Anne Milton Con

Kelvin Hopkins Lab

Ed Miliband Lab

Theresa May Con

Alan Williams Lab

Sarah Teather Lib Dem

Rob Wilson Con

Rob Marris Lab

Richard Benyon Con

Lynne Featherstone Lib Dem

Glenda Jackson Lab

Fiona McTaggart Lab

Gordon Marsden Lab

Grant Shapps Con

James Brokenshire Con

Tom Brake Lib Dem

Susan Kramer Lib Dem

Ed Davey Lib Dem

Hilary Benn Lab

David Winnick Lab

Michael Meacher Lab

Alan Johnson Lab

Frank Field Lab

Tim Boswell Con

Judy Mallaber Lab

Angela Eagle Lab

Paul Burstow Lib Dem

Brian Jenkins Lab

Malcolm Wicks Lab

Caroline Spelman Con

John Randall Con

David Drew Lab

Iain Duncan Smith Con

Jim Cunningham Lab

Patrick Hill Lab

Julie Morgan Lab

Anonymous said...

I think that Daily Mail article pretty much nails down her coffin lid, no matter how much she's fighting to get out. To anyone who wants to keep defending her after that: good luck.

Anonymous said...

No Daley Dozen :(

Ronaldo said...

Like Anoymous....just read Trueblueblood article on cameron.

Spot on.

Recommended reading...

Cameron is using this whole scandal to great effect as any populist leader would do

Dr Feelgood said...

The people of Bromsgrove are rightly angry - but would so many have signed if they new of the Respect involvement? Maybe not.

Who organises a petition is an influencing factor. I might sign a petition from the Green Party on an environmental issue - I would definitely not sign the same petition if it was offered by the BNP.

I agree JK is now damaged goods and will harm the Conservative cause by hanging on.

I think there are other worse examples, but she has been singled out as the weakest prey. Once she has gone, they will move on to the next one.

The media are focusing on the lurid Tory scams, while much bigger ones by Cabinet Ministers are being glossed over.

Richard W said...

The 'Public execution' of Julie Kirkbride is sickening when there are so many bigger fish to fry.
This has now degenerated into Soap Opera and is allowing the Cabinet to get off scot free.
I'm beginning to fear what the Telegraph's agenda is unless it starts to focus on the serious cases i.e your list, Iain.

Anonymous said...

"She and her husband are leading members of Respect. Indeed, her husband is the secretary of Birmingham Respect. Why does no one on Sky or the BBC make any mention of this?"

Political affiliation clearly didn't matter a few days ago when you were defending Warren Clegg. You made no reference to his leading role in Conservative Future and history of Tory activism. He was merely a "constituent" -- much like this pair in Bromsgrove.

Some consistency please, Iain, or you'll leave yourself wide open to charges of hypocrisy and double standards.

Iain Dale said...

patience is a virtue...

Glynne said...

Why so much heat on a Tory back bencher when there are so much juicer targets.

The real story has to be the media time for some real journalistic investigation.

Suggestion for starters - Brown leaked the expense data to the Barclays.

Erskine May said...

Why should there only be a petition in Bromsgrove? Why not organise petitions in each of the constituencies of the ministers mentioned?

Seems the equitable way to proceed.

Jess The Dog said...

It's a question of public confidence. Either she has it or she doesn't. If she doesn't then she will go, one way or the other. If she does then her local party will back her and she'll be able to move on from this.

Her sins are far from the worst amongst our troughing MPs.

It doesn't add up... said...

Should BNP be encouraged to run a petition to unseat Margaret Moran?

Anonymous said...

Now it turns out that the taxpayer have funded a £50,000 extension to Julies property so that her brother can have his own bedroom.
Get a grip Ian, get on the side of the real people in this debate. She should go and Cameron should insist on it. He can only be be held accountable for what he is responsible for namely his MP's. Don't moan about how unfair it is that Labours cheat are getting a free ride from the media, if cameron sorts his own backyard out then he can capitalise on labour's failure to do the same at a later date.

Paul Halsall said...

Well I suppose it could be the Barclay Brothers just out to get everybody who ever snubbed them.

Still, it's worth noting the Telegraph Rosa Prince used to work on the Daily Mirror, and Andrew Porter for The Sun.

It might have been a mistake then to assume any pro-Tory bias in the news team.

Lord said...

Iain

After a few months of reading your blog, I am pleased to say that you are a gentleman of the first rank. I would dismiss those people who accuse you of party loyalty in your recent posts about Julie K – if this were the case you would not describe one of the conservative MPs as a “Copper Bottom Shit”.

No, you genuinely seem to be in politics for a reason and because you have a desire to contribute to this nation.

When the initial revelations about MP’s expenses came out I was, along with my fellow countrymen appalled that the name of our Parliament had been brought into disrepute by some of her members.

Now it feels that the media and certain party elements (labour and conservative) are acting as judge, jury and executioner, which is just not the British way. All the talk of ‘star chambers’ and the like fill me with terror, given what the star chamber actually was.

The current political scene now feels like a mixture of the 17th and 18th centuries with start chambers at one end and ‘citizen Robespierres’ at the other .We know how both the English Civil War and the French Revolution ended. Perhaps this may seem over dramatic, but what do you think would happen if there was a national crisis and there was a further attempt by some to undermine our liberties and individual freedoms?

I fear that Julie is now a victim of a ‘citizen Robespierre come star chamber’ attitude- it is no surprise that the likes of ‘respect’ are involved – although I think if they want to petition anyone to stand down it should be the member for Bethnal Green and Bow! (Julie from recollection didn’t take weeks off her parliamentary duties to appear in a reality TV show and behave like a fool at the same time).

It is not about guilt or innocence but about a desire to appease the masses in their frustrations. As alluded to, what is going to happen about the corrupt members of the cabinet? I wonder would the likes of Hardie, MacDonald, Gatskill and Attlee have to say about the current government, which is leaving so many problems to whoever takes over in 12 months time?

Oldrightie said...

I have been banging on from day one. This whole affair was /is orchestrated by Downing Street. A nothing to lose scenario that through DC's excellence may yet fail. So far the "toff" Tory media management is working.

I Squiggle said...

Good interview Iain, you at least got the reference to the petition being mounted against Julie Kirkbride being organised by a Respect lackey. But why did you not point out that there are other, much more serious troughers, particularly in the Cabinet?

Liked the “I read your blog..” from the interviewer, when you tried to raise the DT deviousness. You should use that quote..

Jabba the Cat said...

@ FloTom said...

"Anonymous below is a list of the MPs the Telegraph had named as saints upto the other day

...Caroline Spelman Con..."

Shurely shome mishtake...hello, anybody home, Nannygate ring any bells?

Dimoto said...

Kirkbride should go before she does any more damage, as should the embarrassing Spellman.
And Iain Dale should definitely do some digging on what is going on at the Telegraph, which becomes more bizarre by the day. There must be some disgruntled insiders willing to spill the beans ?

Thomas Rossetti said...

Once again, I find myself agreeing with the majority of the comments above. The media will go for the other people on your list (Moran, Hoon, etc.) soon enough.

In the long run, I think this current purging will benefit the Conservatives. Even those who dislike Cameron have to admit that he has acted very decisively on this issue. The storm over Kirkbride will die down and everyone's attention will turn to Gordon Brown and his party.

By the time the General Election comes about the Conservatives will be stronger than ever.

Nigel said...

Jabba,

regarding Caroline Spelman, I think the Telegraph's "saints" judgement referred to her ACA claims for the last five years, which seem to be beyond reproach.

I don't regard many of those on the list as "saints", either, but credit where credit is due.

Chris Paul said...

Ms Kirkbride is going to the danger. She is doing the long-winded interview(s). She is adding to the impression of politicians that's out there.

The MSM would be delighted to have 20 minutes with some of those exclusively Labour names you list. Though they've had access to some of them and simply got the 30 seconds line drawing. As Mr Speaker Martin showed 30 seconds is plenty. Ms Kirkbride now has a rep for being a bore too.

About time perhaps for Nadine to attempt the same, having stuffed up so badly on Sky when she got caught out. Or perhaps her researchers come spin doctors have advised against.

The fact that the petition grabbers are Respect is quite amusing however. They have no political nous at all. Let Kirkbride and Dorries and so on stay as candidates. Then tip them out at the ballot box.

Chris Paul said...

PS Kaufman should go as he's a silly billy. He's not thinking of the LP if he stays. But he didn't actually get the silly TV, the Tories did get the duck house and the muck raking. "Tried to claim" in a moment of silliness is much weaker than actually "filled their boots" don't you think?

Old Holborn said...

I wonder how she managed to get planning permission for an extension to a grade 2 listed building in green belt land?

Bookseller said...

Why should she go? Because she has clearly been in breach of acceptability in her claims against her allowances. She is bringing the Conservative Party into disrepute.

Why has the BBC not mentioned Mrs France's membership of Respect? Probably for the same reason they do not mention the political affiliation of people who get involved in a whole range of campaigning activities on schools, hospitals, planning etc. It is not relevant.

Is there any evidence that this is being done in the name of Respect, or as a campaigning excercise for them?

AmyJenks said...

This is turning into a witch hunt - what worries me is that a lot of the more recent allegations of Julie Kirkbride are obviously unfair when examined properly, but she's being crucified for them. It rather confirms my fear that the media can now say any fact about any aspect of anyone's expenses and portray it as a scandal - and the mud sticks.

Jon Forest said...

It's fair enough to have a witch hunt but we really ought to pick the right targets. There must be some agenda to this - perhaps she made enemies in the media world when she was a DT journalist.
Perhaps it is simply because she is a woman and therefore has upset all the misogynists in Fleet Street and the blogosphere.
I say that not necessarily to defend her but because the media frenzy should be concentrating on the many cabinet ministers, including Brown and Darling, who have avoided - and possibly evaded - paying thousands of pounds in tax.
As I have said before, these are the people who made a crackdown on tax evasion a central plank of their policies.
At worst, McBride has used lax expenses rules to her advantage. Others have not only broken the rules but may also have broken the law - and some of them are still members of the Government.

Oscar Miller said...

On the Today programme this morning the BBC reporter in Bromsgrove explicitly raised the question of political affiliation in the campaign. It was dismissed as a lie. This is beyond not mentioning political affiliations, it is deliberately misleading the public. When far right groups are associated with campaigns, the BBC is always eager to expose their affiliations. And of course it is relevant. Bookseller is being economical with the truth here.

Oscar Miller said...

Chris Paul - I know you of the Goebbels school that if you keep repeating a lie it will eventually stick. But the truth is neither the duck house nor the moat were funded by the taxpayer. They were turned down by the Fees Office. In your phrase the enquiries were "a moment of silliness". That hasn't stopped the anti-Tory media turning legitimate concerns about expenses into a moats 'n duckhouses fest. Meanwhile they keep shtum about Kaufman.

Premier League Wolf said...

The media may have whipped up an angry mob mentality but I firmly believe that she is fully responsible for her downfall.

There is no doubt that she will not survive and I cannot believe the conservative party and David Cameron are allowing this woman to drag the party through the mud for so long without intervening.

I also cannot believe the front of this woman who supposedly believes that all she has claimed for is both legitimate and fully justifiable. If she had any loyalty to the conservative party or anyone other than herself she would surely have stepped down by now.

I hope the Bromsgrove party members will grasp the nettle and put an end to this saga today so the focus can move onto the real issue of removing this dismal Labour government.

David Cameron has looked incredibly weak on the Julie Kirkbride saga suggesting that he may well have cut a deal with Andrew Mackay when he resigned.

John Houghton said...

*sigh* I wondered how long it would take Iain to trot out the "its in the rules" mantra, and sadly it was within about 15 seconds of him opening his mouth

Beware of Geeks bearing GIFs said...

The only problem is I think that the Tory damage at the election will be bigger than we all thought.

All the electorate are seeing 24/7 from all the MSM is “Tory expense this, Tory expense that” and not a peep out of Labour now.

What happened to Ed Balls and his wife's expenses scrutiny? Why nothing on them?

I made a comment about this three weeks ago saying the media would feast on the Labour expenses initially, then draw out the Tories scams much closer to the election, proportionally increasing the damage to the Tories election chances as the electorate have very short memories.

Telegraph conspiracy

Anonymous said...

Its time we stopped these hand outs to MP's they earn enough money. No money for house extentions family members working for them, they use the system to benefit themselves and their own careers. Don't care what party ther represent I'm all right sod the public.

Feathered Nest said...

The problem is fourfold.

1. MPs are amateurs who expect a professional's salary. You only earn 60K plus in the real world by building your own business, working your way through the ranks of a company and/or bringing transferrable managerial skills, through many years of intensive academic training, or by taking high-risk, high reward financial roles.

There is an exception to the rule, however; entertainers. Those put up for adulation and/or ridicule. When the audience is bored of them, then they go. Like banks, politicians depend on confidence. One thing I would say in defence of Ms Kirkbride was that she was very clear about who she had to convince, and ultimately answer to.

2. My wife and I work. As middle income families (cf Today programme) we pay about £7,000 per year for childcare. The amount of childcare that is tax-free is about a third of that. If Julie Kirkbride, on her 68K income, thinks that the state should pay for her childcare, the onus is on her to change the system for everyone, not weedle through whatever loopholes she can find - what example is that to set to the young families that she seeks to represent?

3. If she wanted a bedroom, I'm reliably informed that she could get a single storey bedroom extension built for £10,000. I'd like to be able to move my mum in to babysit, but can I get a grant from the council to build a granny annexe? Can I heck.

3.5. Her son goes to school in London. We're talking about holiday cover. My daughter goes to Holiday club. It costs £20 per day. I don't get to claim any of that back.

4. The Green book needs to be thrown out, and simple Self-Assessment rules brought in. If a self-employed businessman can claim it for tax purposes, then it's acceptable for ACA. No fuss.

Alternately,

4. There needs to be means testing of the ACA. It's a benefit not (as Ms Dorries claims) a salary top-up. Like working on JSA, if you earn more than your ministerial salary, then this should be deducted from your 'benefit'.

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/MEANS-TEST-ACA/

DC said...

And she's gone! Done the honourable thing way too late to be honourable.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave..."

Who ever will employ these two freeloaders now?

John Page said...

I notice you list only Labour MPs and defend a Tory expenses thief.

I've just heard you on The World at One toadying to Julie Kirkbride following her announcement that she's standing down, with no ackowledgement of the case against her at all.

According to you, she did nothing wrong and has been hounded by the media.

Excuse me, she connived with her unlamented husband to claim for two second homes between them. If he is a thief so is she.

She had to go. Also gone is any credibility you had as an objective political commentator.

Goodbye, Tory toady.

julie freeride must go! said...

Good lord, all this talk of the France's masterminding the downfall of a meek tory matron? Missing your next Grisham or Archer claptrap are we? The most interesting thing here, is the concerned constituents angle. Louise Marnell is the non-political figurehead. Mark anthony France has connections to Respect, as well as Trade Unions (do we have an unsavoury connection here?)
The main impetous here, amazingly, has been the social network site Facebook! Quickly, information and idealogies have been swiftly passed around residents saavy to this new form. I myself got involved this way, as an apolitical but fed-up strategist. I questioned Mark France on his Respect connection, and unfortunately for all you melodramatists, he told me he's had sod-all help. No secret envelopes of directives or late night meetings. Just him as an activist with previous experience at agitating (for whatever cause)
We'd been conversing politiks with other malcontents for months, and the media frenzy of saturday's Julie must Go campaign, was the first time I actually met him. Pleasant chap, if a bit extreme. The thing is, though, after months of corrupt bankers, and MP's, and job losses, and paycuts, and rising fuel and food costs, a lot of us little people have had enough. The happenstance is, that he has directed this storm, like a lightening rod, nationally. Mr France happens to be more aware politically, and eloquent (though not as much as our julie!.) Mrs Marnell has fielded the sudden Media fest quite admirably, with little instruction, other than her indignation. And let me tell you something for free, the Respect party can't help you out on that front. If anything, it hindered the campaign amongst the more supposedly educated middle classes bromsgrove teems with.

On monday, Mark Thomas visited the Artrix, our very own miniature middle class theatre venue. He worked the class angle beautifully, noteing the delicate Guardian reader sensibilities rather well. I mention this, as the majority of the audience, whilst applauding the inevitable Kirkbride digs, were surprisingly reticent at engaging the token Julie must go! requests for signatures. The anger was there, but the audience was too refined for the working class protesters, with their brummie drawls.
What i'm getting at here, is the concern amongst her constituents, from all classes, not just the easy targets that the proles offer for the Respect Party.

And, why is this the only constituency that Respect have supposedly whipped-up? Easy answer, is that the France's actually live here, and had no instruction from head-office. (although, when Galloway hears of this, eventually, no doubt he'll bullishly take some credit!)

Finally, it was Mark Thomas that gave the soundbite for the group, that it is not a witch-hunt, or vendetta, but actually democracy at work. In its purest form. And that this could be the model for a new form.

What could be done now, is use this to effectively cut out the rot at the existing local party level. Alan and Rita Dent, the other recipients of Kirkbrides generosity. She is secretary of the association, her husband being installed as supine party chairman, completely in her pockets, and at her behest. Keep it in the family, seems to be Kirkbrides motto. Naomi Dent, their daughter being employed previously as a nanny! Something is still rotten in Denmark, my friends!

julie freeride must go! said...

Good lord, all this talk of the France's masterminding the downfall of a meek tory matron? Missing your next Grisham or Archer claptrap are we? The most interesting thing here, is the concerned constituents angle. Louise Marnell is the non-political figurehead. Mark anthony France has connections to Respect, as well as Trade Unions (do we have an unsavoury connection here?)
The main impetous here, amazingly, has been the social network site Facebook! Quickly, information and idealogies have been swiftly passed around residents saavy to this new form. I myself got involved this way, as an apolitical but fed-up strategist. I questioned Mark France on his Respect connection, and unfortunately for all you melodramatists, he told me he's had sod-all help. No secret envelopes of directives or late night meetings. Just him as an activist with previous experience at agitating (for whatever cause)
We'd been conversing politiks with other malcontents for months, and the media frenzy of saturday's Julie must Go campaign, was the first time I actually met him. Pleasant chap, if a bit extreme. The thing is, though, after months of corrupt bankers, and MP's, and job losses, and paycuts, and rising fuel and food costs, a lot of us little people have had enough. The happenstance is, that he has directed this storm, like a lightening rod, nationally. Mr France happens to be more aware politically, and eloquent (though not as much as our julie!.) Mrs Marnell has fielded the sudden Media fest quite admirably, with little instruction, other than her indignation. And let me tell you something for free, the Respect party can't help you out on that front. If anything, it hindered the campaign amongst the more supposedly educated middle classes bromsgrove teems with.

On monday, Mark Thomas visited the Artrix, our very own miniature middle class theatre venue. He worked the class angle beautifully, noteing the delicate Guardian reader sensibilities rather well. I mention this, as the majority of the audience, whilst applauding the inevitable Kirkbride digs, were surprisingly reticent at engaging the token Julie must go! requests for signatures. The anger was there, but the audience was too refined for the working class protesters, with their brummie drawls.
What i'm getting at here, is the concern amongst her constituents, from all classes, not just the easy targets that the proles offer for the Respect Party.

And, why is this the only constituency that Respect have supposedly whipped-up? Easy answer, is that the France's actually live here, and had no instruction from head-office. (although, when Galloway hears of this, eventually, no doubt he'll bullishly take some credit!)

Finally, it was Mark Thomas that gave the soundbite for the group, that it is not a witch-hunt, or vendetta, but actually democracy at work. In its purest form. And that this could be the model for a new form.

What could be done now, is use this to effectively cut out the rot at the existing local party level. Alan and Rita Dent, the other recipients of Kirkbrides generosity. She is secretary of the association, her husband being installed as supine party chairman, completely in her pockets, and at her behest. Keep it in the family, seems to be Kirkbrides motto. Naomi Dent, their daughter being employed previously as a nanny! Something is still rotten in Denmark, my friends!