Friday, May 25, 2007

Labour MP in McDonald's Hospitality Riddle

Clive Betts is one of the more on message Labour MPs I have encountered. He hasn't got much of an independent mind - he's the one they wheel out to parrot the party line when there's a crisis and no one else is available. Tonight, I leave you to judge whether he has brought Parliament into disrepute or not. And what over? McJobs. Not the jobs themselves, you understand, just the word.

Clive Betts, it seems, has become McDonald's favourite MP. Dave's Part blog reports that my second favourite Burger company has launched a campaign to persuade the Oxford English Dictionary to change the definition of the word McJobs in their new edition. The BBC has more HERE. Of course, Bett's decision to table this EDM...

Mr Clive Betts [R]
Mr John Leech [R]
Andrew Rosindell
Mr Greg Hands
Mr Sadiq Khan
Alan Keen

That this House recognises the valuable contribution the 1.9 million people in the UK's hospitality and catering industry make to the UK's economy; regrets the use of derogatory phrases attached to these jobs such as `McJob' which write them off as unstimulating, low-paid jobs with few prospects; further recognises that because of this namesake for this derogatory term, this prejudice is felt most sharply by the people who pursue careers and jobs at McDonald's in the UK; and calls for a wider recognition of the value and importance to the UK of the service sector and the people who work within it.
[R] Relevant interest declared
... would of course have nothing to do with this entry for him in the Register of Members Interests...

BETTS, Clive (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
6. Overseas visits
8-11 June 2006,
to Germany as a member of the UK Parliamentary Football Club, to attend the World Cup and play football matches for charity. I received match ticket, hospitality and coach transport from McDonald's, and hospitality and coach transport from National Grid. (Registered 29 August 2006)

So, McDonald's give him World Cup tickets, and he puts down an EDM and tours the Westminster broadcasting studios on their behalf. If he had been a Tory in 1996 that would be headlined SLEAZE with a capital S. Just as well he didn't ask a Parliamentary Question, isn't it?! The interest is declared so he has broken no rule. So that's alright then.

Of course Mr Betts is no stranger to putting down ridiculous EDMs. Labour Watch reports that Clive Betts has attempted to generate some local publicity amongst his Sheffield United supporting constituents by tabling an EDM calling for West Ham to be deducted points over the Tevez affair. Not that this has anything to with why I am posting this, you understand! This EDM was met with some frosty words by Martin Samuel of The Times...

Sheffield United deserve our sympathy. Yet the righteous anger that was so appealing a few weeks ago has metamorphosed into the sort of wrongheaded feeding
frenzy that keeps Chris Morris, the media satirist, in pay cheques. Latest to join the mob is Clive Betts, Labour MP for Sheffield Attercliffe, who tabled an early day motion yesterday calling for West Ham to be docked points.Betts would, of course, know much about false paperwork, having been suspended from the House of Commons for seven days in September 2003 for copying a doctored document so
that his Brazilian rent-boy boyfriend, José Gasparo, could stay in Britain. Betts also provided Gasparo with a Commons pass, as his “researcher”. Still, it is good that someone is willing to pull up his trousers and take a stand for morality.

PS Cue in the comments the Labour anonymous trolls crying "oh this is really weak Iain"...
UPDATE: It seems LibDem John Leech, a sponsor of the EDM, also received hospitality from McDonald's. His entry in the Register of Members' Interests reads: 8-11 June 2006, to Germany as a member of the UK Parliamentary Football Club, to play football matches for charity. I received coach transport and hospitality from McDonald's Restaurants Ltd


Anonymous said...

Have you photoshoped that picture. Or is he half man / half wide mouthed frog?

Iain Dale said...

No I haven't!!

Anonymous said...

This is really weak, Iain.

Anonymous said...

Sheffield should go on strike to get better MPs.

Anonymous said...

The term 'McJob' was popularized by the (Canadian) writer Douglas Coupland's 1991 book Generation X.

It means 'a dead-end, low-wage, low-benefit job esp. in the service sector'.

How could they stop people using this word - ban all future reprints of the book 'Generation X'? It's called poetic license.

***The liberty taken by an artist or a writer in deviating from conventional form or fact to achieve a desired effect.***

The word 'McJob' is now part of contemporary culture. I think it's a good word. Everyone knows what it means. It is now part of the English language - like it or not.

Anonymous said...

PS> Clive Betts is so ugly he could make onions cry! :)

Anonymous said...

So what is Lib Dem John Leech's 'interest' in this mcShite?

Anonymous said...

I think that McDonalds have a real chance here; all they need to do is prove that 'McJob' is racist and the editor of the OED will have to remove it or spend five years at Her Majesty's pleasure.

Its far too dangerous to allow people to use English indiscriminately. I believe that we will only be safe from racists, reactionaries and revolutionaries when Newspeak is recognised as the only fit communication system for... baa..baa..baa

Anonymous said...

Ever wondered what the [R] in the EDM signatories list means?

Anonymous said...

This is really weak, Iain.....blah, blah, blah

But he is a really ugly devil, isn't he? Not that that should detract from his right to express an opinion on behalf of his sponsors - sorry, constituents.

So, what is your favourite burger company? Krusty Burgers?

Anonymous said...

I've just seen Keith Vaz on Newsnight. I've been for a shower, but I still feel unclean

Normal Mouth said...

"I leave you to judge whether he has brought Parliament into disrepute or not."

I have. He hasn't MPs table pointless, trivial and wrong-headed EDMs all the time, sometimes at the suggestion of commercial interests. There is no reason why Mr Betts's motion should bring Parliamwent into disrepute to any greater extent than all of those.

Anonymous said...

you ask us not to swear on your blog and then post this?
what is the matter with you?

Mr Eugenides said...

Hat tip to Jamie from Blood and Treasure.

Mr Eugenides said...

That prior comment was supposed to contain a link, but it didn't work. How odd.

Anyway, the point stands.

Anonymous said...

Dear God in heaven. He is very ugly. Poor poor man.

Letterman said...

I think John Leech might have worked at Mcdonald's in the past. I know for certain that a Lib Dem MP has and I'm pretty sure it was him - worth checking out, I'm too lazy to do it myself.

Anonymous said...

Did David Maclean run over his head with his quad bike?

Anonymous said...

So two MPs who are in the UK Parliamentary Football Club, are hospitalitied (is that the right word? surely not hospitalised!) by McDonalds at the World Cup.
The hospitality was so great that nearly a year later, they sponsor an EDM supporting an action by McDonalds. Does this bring parliament into disrepute?
As compared to an illegal war in Iraq? Stopping constituents from accessing information? HIPS? Pension taxes? Junior Doctor appointments?
If those are not enough of a disreputation of parliament, perhaps the whole EDM sponsorship should be looked at.
Did anyone else in the football club go thanks to McDonalds or someone else?
Do any of the other signatories to the EDM have any kind of link to McDonalds?
How many MPs who have signed EDMs have links to the subject that the EDM is about?
Do the 181 signers of EDM 63 supporting the IWC all have links to anti whaling organisations or do those who have not signed it have links to whaling?
Saying that sponsoring or signing an EDM brings parliament into disrepute puts the sights on all MPs.

Rich Tee said...

On the letters page of the FT a university professor thinks trying to change the meaning of a word has Orwellian overtones.

Anonymous said...

EDM's about the blunts? I was under the impression that Betts is a Wednesdayite (I've certainly seen him at home and away games before!)

Given how rubbish he was when he was in charge of Sheffield City Council I can't say I have too much time for him but then again I'm not a great fan of anyone in Sheffield Labour party and I'm glad Labour lost overall control of Sheffield just recently.

Anonymous said...

Leech did use to work for McDonalds.

Personally I don't see how this brings Parliament into disrepute.

If you openly register your interest and then declare it during debates (or when you table questions or EDMs) then why should that stop you speaking on that subject.

I am sure it doesn't stop Tories with Directorships in vatrious companies speaking in debates, does it Iain?

It's not corrupt is it?

Anonymous said...

Canvas 25/5 10:11

All copies of the offending books must be confiscated and burned.

Anonymous said...

The symbol [R] next to Clive Betts' name in the signatories to the EDM means he has ticked the box on the form on which he has submitted the EDM to indicate he has an interest in the issue, which he has declared in the Register of Members' Interests.

Well done , Iain, for doing so much clever detective work yourself.

But if Betts has declared the interest already, in the form required by the House, and drawn attention to it in tabling the EDM, also in the form required by the House, it means it is rather less of a "riddle", doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Early Day Motions should be abolished. If MPs want to make fatuous dinner-party observations they should do so in their own time and at their own expense. Or get a blog.

Anonymous said...

Neil Walton, you would be right except that this motion is just SOOOOO 'sensitive' that it makes the authors look such obvious complete arses - and makes you think "Whyever would they do such a dumb thing if they were not getting dome furious backhander?".

Chris Paul said...

1. I'm not sure why either The Times then or especially the IDD now should be concerned about the old "rent-boy" story.

2. McJob (or wasn't it Mac job in the Coupland is a lot better than **** job.

3. EDMs should be reviewed. Leech signs 100s. He is addicted. There should be real ones, and MPs should have a sort of EDM group blog using a simplified version of the software from the No 10 petition site to do their grizzling, clever clogging, and points scoring.

In fact if a petition got to 20 names say it could then go onto paper and all the costs.

Anonymous said...

sadiq khan has had numerous McDonalds football hospitality - he doesn't have to declare it because of the financial amounts involved. Yet when he signed that EDM about McDs, he clearly had a conflcit of inetrest which he did not declare - it's a scandal and a disgrace!! Use your not insubstantial influence to get this in the public domain Iain.

Anonymous said...

Hmm a reasonably regular rebel. Doesn't really make him mindless.

EDM is stupid but it is worth trying to do a bit of research.

Anonymous said...

He's still better looking than Mr Dale