Monday, November 09, 2009

LibDem MP Does The Right Thing Shocker!

And they say there is no honour left in politics. Read THIS tale of political honesty to warm the cockles of your brow-beaten old political heart. It concerns LibDem MP Mike Hancock who, a few days before the 2007 Tory conference received emails which were meant for Matthew Hancock, George Osborne's adviser. They laid out plans for the inheritance tax cut, which Osborne would announce at the conference. But instead of using the emails for partisan political advantage, Mike Hancock forwarded them on to their proper recipient.

Mark Reckons thinks this act of political propriety possibly changed the course of political history...
I think it is plausible that had Mike leaked this information, we could already be 2 years into a Gordon Brown led elected administration. Cameron could easily have been ousted as yet another failed Tory leader and the map of British politics could now look very, very different.

We shall thankfully never know.

So, I now have question for you. Would you have done the same thing?

Or have you got an anecdote of receiving emails which were not meant for your eyes?

23 comments:

Old Slaughter said...

You have almost made me a Lib Dem.

Campbell or Mandelson would have had him deselected!

Man in a Shed said...

On such small things do the fate of nations turn.

Denny said...

"Cameron could easily have been ousted as yet another failed Tory leader"

Maybe it would be worth a few more years of Brown...

Sean Haffey said...

Speaking as a district councillors, it's my experience that LibDems are as trustworthy as Tories.

Richard said...

A while ago, I worked with a middle-aged couple, who seemed to divide their lives between UK and Abu Dhabi. The husband returned to AbDab, while the wife continued working at my workplace. I swapped email addresses with the man, so we could keep in touch. A few weeks later, I received a very intimate email to 'honeybuns', describing in fascinating and uncomfortable detail what he would like to do to the recipient. I stalled for days before acting. If I ignored it, he would think she wasn't replying and that could cause all kinds of problems in a fairly tempestuous relationship. If I replied, we would both have the embarrassment of knowing that he called her all kinds of silly (and rather sexually specific) names, and also that they both shared several, shall we say, non-mainstream tastes. After taking advice from several friends, I decided to reply to him, along the lines of "I think you might have sent an email intended for Xxx to me by mistake. I deleted it unread, of course, but I thought you ought to know."

He was grateful, and no doubt was more careful in future, but I didn't hear from either of them again. Happy days.

startledcod said...

It wasn't a misdirected email we received but a long time ago we recived a misdirected fax from a branch of Interpol, or the Internaional Crime branch of the Met. We certainly didn't have any fun at all sending faxes to mates with guilty consciences, no that would have been totally WRONG.

Mark Fulford said...

Absolutely, yes, I have received useful e-mails not meant for me. I recall one from a supplier which revealed their minimum sale price on certain services we buy through them. I didn’t embarrass the sender but, shortly afterwards, we did renegotiate our pricing.

Another e-mail included a company’s complete client list, including hard to get hold of high-level contacts. It could have been very valuable but, after a moment’s reflection, I simply deleted it.

On my own scale, that makes me 90% honourable.

tapestry said...

I received a startling message on my computer only this morning. The Guardian are forecasting a collapse in the Labour vote to 120.

Being an honourable person, I immediately contacted UKIP and told them that this message was really intended for them and that they would now do better to all vote Conservative.

If Cameron is to have 450 MPs, there will be a eurosceptic majority in Parliament for the first time in history. Cameron would fear that way more than a defeated Labour rump. For UKIP supporters this must now be the best strategy.

Their ingratitude was shocking. I heard words that I haven't heard for many a year. I would like to publish all the things they said in return to my brilliant idea, but I cannot.

tapestry said...

I received a startling message on my computer only this morning. The Guardian are forecasting a collapse in the Labour vote to 120.

Being an honourable person, I immediately contacted UKIP and told them that this message was really intended for them and that they would now do better to all vote Conservative.

If Cameron is to have 450 MPs, there will be a eurosceptic majority in Parliament for the first time in history. Cameron would fear that way more than a defeated Labour rump. For UKIP supporters this must now be the best strategy.

Their ingratitude was shocking. I heard words that I haven't heard for many a year. I would like to publish all the things they said in return to my brilliant idea, but I cannot.

Danvers said...

The most astonishing thing about this story is that Matthew Hancock didn't change his email to something more distinctive to prevent this from happening in the first place.

However, I wonder how many sensitive LibDem plans have ended up in his inbox - probably explains why they are still floundering - LOL.

titus-aduxas said...

I didn't receive an email, but trying to send one got me some interesting information.

I had two windows overlaid on the screen and had entered this lady's name on the address line of my mail client - or so I thought.

I had previously been looking up a couple of potential clients on Google people.

Fact is, I got the name in the wrong box - and discovered that the lady I was emailing had been a Playboy centrefold.

She is still unaware that I know.

Obama London said...

A recruitment consultant who I had registered with once mistakenly sent me her entire contact list of registered job seekers. It was intended for her replacement, who had the same first name as me. I deleted without reading, and told her so. She was spectacularly relieved.

simonh said...

Impressively honourable behaviour but there is often a cost to sticking to your principles. Mr Hancock will have an Osborne Chancellorship on his conscience for the next few years.

Paul Burgin said...

Given my struggle not to feel contempt for George Osborne as a person, it would have been tough, but I'd like to think I'd do the right and decent thing.
Next question is whether Osborne bothered to say thanks

Will 883 said...

Are we really saying that if you know something about others they don’t want you to, that you should keep it to yourself?

What is the moral difference between a wrongly addressed e-mail and an overheard conversation, or even a wife finding a pair of knickers in the pocket of her husband’s jacket? Should they be disregarded in the same way, given that the ‘owner’ of the information didn’t give permission for you to know it?

And how does this tie in with all the government leaks? If you are moralising that people should not use information they gained without the owner’s permission, then surely Damian Green was wrong to use Home Office leaks, was he not??

An interesting moral dilemma, however there is no copyright on knowledge.

Twig said...

It demonstrates integrity and decency on Mike Hancock's part, but it brings into question the integrity and security of the Tories ICT.

Notwithstanding, I can't forgive the LibDems for failing to honour their commitment to a referendum on the EU treaty.

Terry Hamblin said...

I keep receiving a misdirected e-mail from a bloke in Nigeria telling me I've come into a lot of money. Trouble is I don't know who it is meant for. Anybody claim it?

Stephen said...

Hancock has always been a good guy. I remember feeling a bit sorry for him when he lost the seat in 92 after picking up in a by election but he got it back in 97.

Gareth said...

Iain, yes the LDs are the good guys.

I happen to know that Osbourne and Vince Cable have staffers with similar names/emails.

Osbournes staffer wasn't as honest a few months ago.

Bill Quango MP said...

I got a junk email yesterday from a French energy company promising to 'make you free from carbon in 20 years. Sign up now for unbelievable investments in nuclear reactors. Buy 1 for £100 billion and we'll give you another one at half price. Order before the next election and get 10% off. Orders of 10 or more come with free delivery."

I forwarded it to Ed Miliband. Don't know what he did with it.

adamcollyer said...

Forgive me for being a wet blanket, but there is I feel some room for doubt as to the veracity of this story, m'lud.

"He insisted I report that I heard about this through some Tory sources, just in case people thought he was “crowing about it”. Hmmm.

But then I'm cynical.

The Boiling Frog said...

I had the same name as the CEO of our UK branch office and I used to receive quite frequently his emails.

Mostly they were of nothing of interest but once I got one from the main overseas HQ detailing the likely redundancies and cuts in the UK branch.

I forwarded it on to the intended recipient and deleted it. I soon got summoned to his office.

He asked if I had read and had told anyone. I replied I had read it, but had deleted it immediately and not said a word (which was true)

He gave me a bottle of wine as a thank you

George said...

"I think it is plausible that had Mike leaked this information, we could already be 2 years into a Gordon Brown led elected administration. Cameron could easily have been ousted as yet another failed Tory leader and the map of British politics could now look very, very different."

It is also plausible that we could have been spared two miserable years of Brown bungling.