Margaret Beckett is to be the new chairman of the Intelligence & Security Committee, succeeding Paul Murphy who rejoined the government last week. Apart from being a dismal Foreign Secretary for twelve months I would love to know what her qualifications for the post are. This seems to be a post which is automatically given to 'hasbeen' ministers, the best example of which was Anne Taylor. Mind you, having said all that, I'm hardpressed to think of many Labour MPs who would suit the post. Perhaps it should have gone to Ming?!
Hattip Rachel North
Still nothing on pal Derek, rang him to sympathise yet iain?
Well, two of her - admittedly few qualifications - for the post were that she was neither a candidate for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party this time around, nor does she have any children to finance through their education out of misappropriated public funds. It was probably difficult for Gordon Brown to find a poltician who was so well qualified these days.
Oh Dear Iain see the Times are already having a go at you!!
What is the 'ISC'? If I don't know, there must be lots and lots of your readers who don't know either. I could look it up but why should I?
Iain I'm very (some would say far too much) into politics..
but what does "ISC" stand for/do?
Is this blog turning into a "lets all go home in taxis to our gated apartments / why are the oiks so worried about immigration" westminster beltway type blog?
After your comments on Conway and Thorpe, I suggest you take a rain check about passing judgement on people. I think you have damaged yourself badly over the last couple of days.
Do you indeed. You live in a funny world. I won't diss my friend so in your world I am a bad person. So if I shit on him from a great height that makes me a good person. I prefer my world to yours.
It really is a close fight for the Most Over-promoted Person in Christendom - between Beckett and Lorraine Kelly....
Iain, I think you are right to stick by your chums - no point in being a 'fair-weather friend' is there ?
I guess the point some are trying to make is that people will judge a man by the company he keeps, and there is a perception that in the Tory Party there is an 'old boys club' of school / university chums who stick together through thick and thin, even if it is at the expense of legal, ethical and moral behaviour.
This might be an out-dated view, and I'm certainly not suggesting that the modern Tory Party is like a 'masonic mafia' where blokes in grey suits cover up for each others 'crimes and misdemeanours'. But the old Bozza/Darius Guppy scenario, coupled with the damage done by Jonathan Aitken with his 'trusty sword of truth' cast long shadows.
Ditching Conway has no doubt been a painful thing for him, you and Dave Cameron. But when one has toothache one has to have the offending molar dealt with sooner rather than later. Putting off such decisions only causes more pain and merely postpones the inevitable extraction..
Menzies Campbell who agreed in 2002 that Iraq definitely had biological weapons, probably had chemical weapons, was trying to get nuclear weapons, thought the dossier was simply confirming what was already known, but still didn't want to take any action against Iraq? Failure of intelligence there I think.
Margaret Beckett is a very good choice for the Intelligence and Security Committee. A good effective minister who was perfectly discreet. The chairman of the ISC is always a government supporter, just like the chairman of the PAC is always from the opposition.
God help us all.
She's another untalented, charmless moron who inexplicably keeps getting good posts. Like that other great Inexplicable, John Prescott. I wonder which bodies she knows about?
I think, Iain, re: the issue of shitting on friends from a great height, you may care to consider the proposition that it is, perchance, you who is on the bottom rung of the ladder and you who is receiving your "friend's" ordure from above. If I had brought such dishonour on my party then I would have thought that it was I who had shitted on my friends - not the other way around.
The unISC ?
Jeremy Thorpe , yes that foxed me , .... lightweight..popular ,colourful raconteur and gay ...... nope I still can`t see the appeal but he did say this
"Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his life".
She is probably as well qualified for the job as the chairman appointed by John Major - Tom King MP
Her qualification is her obedience.
ISC = Intelligence and Security Committee. Supposed overseer of the security and intelligence services. Hand-picked by the PM with terms of reference set by the PM.
Come to think of it, Rosa Klebb is an inspired choice indeed!
I think you are being rather harsh. Given that it will inevitably go to a semi retired Labour MP who would be better than Beckett? 10 years in the Cabinet, no personal scandals and a year as FS will have given her at least some experience of reading intelligence? Her time at DEFRA was poor but at Trade and Industry she was efficent and her brief stint as Labour leader when john smith died was dignified.
Iain....no "Blackberry" endorsement?
The I.D. friendship conundrum has been worrying what is left of my brain cells for twelve or more hours.
Luckily, I've had 'just the one' and it now becomes clear.
Were I.D. in a position of 'power' (not quite the right word, but I've had one or two) he'd be obliged to disregard his relationship with his friend.
I.D. isn't in said 'position of power' so I'd like to say "Well done you (I.D. that is)".
I couldn't care less - or thought I didn't until that childish oaf David Boothroyd gave Beckett his gold star.
Now I think the woman -her husband is paid as her office manager I think -and her caravan is as fit for this job, as Boothroyd is for opinions on modern day politics.
Suppose it had to be given to one of the old crowd. What harm could she do?
Beckett as Foreign Secretary was one of the most awful political appointments in history. Besides, wasn't that also Blair's second job?
Oh, I had heard Iain was against anonymous commenters personally attacking people.
Hmmmmmmmm.... "intelligence" and "security" two words that always spring to mind when I hear Margaret Beckett's name!!
I do not live in a funny world just a real one. I differentiate between my personal and professional life. If you cannot do that, I feel sorry for you. Thorpe is a proven crook and Conway an admitted one. By protecting your own shows bad judgement (two of your friends are crooks) and may go some way to argue why the conservatives may well be unelectable.
No, Howard, you should feel sorry for yourself. Are you saying you have developed no personal friendships in your professional life? How very sad. Look at yourself before you rush to judgement on me.
Thanks for the linky Iain, but it's RachelNorthLondon.blogspot.com
not the way you have it
Howard [11:44]: " ...and may go some way to argue why the conservatives may well be unelectable."
One instance, compared with Tony Blair and that small army of aspirational "lords" that left such a trail of sh!t stains on the carpets in the corridors of No 10 and drizzled all the way to Chequers and Lord Levy's country home wherever, followed by Scotland Yard.
And all the dirt that has already come to characterise Brown's surreal, unelected assumption of power with his coterie of Gormenghast minions.
Cameron sacked Conway. Not one person has been sacked from the socialist/Trot government in 11 years. A couple resigned ... and resigned ... and many more clung on by their fingernails (Tessa Jowell, Harriet Harman, Margaret Beckett with her 80-year old husband on salary as her "secretary" travelling with her on government flights ... Peter Hain ... until someone stamped on his knuckles and he had to let go with a shriek of pain ... and the whole total roiling, corrupt Labour passengers hanging onto the overhead straps for dear life on the UK taxpayer rolling Labour gravy train).
I can't stand Cameron, but at least he sacked Conway almost instantaneously. Think of the months of diddling around Peter Mandelson and David Blunkett involved before they finally let go their straps (although Tony held their places for them to scramble back on) both the first and second times for each. I believe Blunkett even held onto his taxpayer ministerial car and his ministerial residence for a year.
The corruption and cheap arrogance boggles the mind.
Iain, of course I not saying that I have never developed personal relationships in my professional life, and did not imply this either. Don't twist what I am saying. What I am saying if that I have learnt to differentiate between the two. Conway has taken PUBLIC money, which is far worse than donated money from undeclared individuals, although both are illegal. You are simply wrong in your judgement over Conway, and it is this type of protection of the political class that has great damage in the eyes of the electors.
Utter rubbish. I am protecting no one. All I said was that I wasn't going to publicly criticise a friend of mine and that anything I had to say would be said to his face. How you can misinterpret what I said in the way you have beggars belief.
ISC = 'Imperial Service College' What a good job for Beckett! See: http://www.haileybury.herts.sch.uk/content.asp?pp=115&ss=1&tt=115
Why is it that whenever right wing bloggers are criticized they say people are talking rubbish and never deal with the substantive points made. Why publicize the fact that fiends of yours are known crooks? Keep it to yourself and don't damage the party you support.
there is a perception that in the Tory Party there is an 'old boys club' of school / university chums who stick together through thick and thin, even if it is at the expense of legal, ethical and moral behaviour.
Labour has learned this very well too.
Howard - I agree with Iain, you silly, cheap wannabee, unsuccessful twister of words.
Iain declined to comment on his friend.
Honourably, he left his blog open for the opinions of others.
We have all condemned this chap. Iain did not muffle comments.
You write, "Conway has taken PUBLIC money, which is far worse than donated money from undeclared individuals, although both are illegal."
Explain how this is far worse ooh, err! than the more corrupt, slithering under-the-radar taking of undeclared money from individuals hoping to gain Parliamentary influence?
Personally, I think Conway is as corrupt as Margaret Beckett and her dreadful old husband on the public tit for 10 years under the guise of being her "secretary", travelling the world on taxpayer planes, staying in luxury class hotels courtesy of the never-consulted British taxpayer, eating expensive breakfasts in those hotels, travelling in HM's government cars in those countries, dining at establishments in those countries at the expense of British taxpayers earning £20,000 a year. This is Margaret Beckett's elderly husband ... a passenger on the taxes deducted from working British people.
How was Margaret Beckett's husband worth this large amount of taxpayer pounds through the years, and why?
I would say she is one of the most corrupt slappers in the socialist establishment.
But then ... the unwelcome image of Tony and the Manatee cloud the mind. And their kid in DC gotten a job as a senatorial aid through Tony's influence. (Didn't the senator - although a Democrat - finally fire him, or am I misremembering? I think not.)
With Tony and the Manatee with flats in Bristol or wherever, and crystals and the Manatee going on TV - apparently a pleading QC, yet needing the disgraced Peter Mandelson to write a weepy speech for her. (Reminder: Never hire Cherie Blair because even as a QC, she is incapable of pleading a case.)
And the Manatee going through the Green Channel at HM Customs so many times when she was LOADED with thousands of dollars worth of gifts - especially from Donna Karen NY?
And Peter Mandelson's very interesting mortgage history, and David Blunkett's girlfriend being driven around in taxpayer paid-for official cars and the attempt at travelling first class on trains as the "spouse" of an MP.
And old Tracy living high on the hog - and yes, I do mean John Prescott's shoulders - and being hoist thereon at a taxpayer paid-for party office of the illusionary "Deputy Prime Minister" department.
Your complaint of unfairness was ...?
Anyway Conway is gone now as soon to be de selected no doubt .I look forward to being served by his sons in MacDonalds , I wonder if they should give their educations back?
They are all hasbeens. It's just that they haven't been just yet, but their time will come. I wonder if she can claim her caravan as her secondary residence?
After Beckett's disastrous performance at DEFRA followed by her invisibility as Foreign Secretary (pace the lovely D Boothroyd) we should carefully consider what further damage she can do as ISC Chairman.
Perhaps she'll be needing the services of her husband - in his official capacity. Or maybe someone else's husband would do at a pinch. Beyond my powers of endurance, though.
Verity said ....
"And their kid in DC gotten a job as a senatorial aid through Tony's influence. (Didn't the senator - although a Democrat - finally fire him, or am I misremembering? I think not.)"
He served the planned 3 months successfully with a Democrat Senator then moved on to a Republican but stayed for only 2 weeks.
From the Washington Post - Harman said simply: "I'm disappointed that his graduate school plans prevented him from staying on as an intern in my office, and would welcome him back."
Doesn't sound like he was fired.
"He served the planned 3 months successfully with a Democrat Senator then moved on to a Republican but stayed for only 2 weeks."
Sorry, the other way round - Republican then Democrat.
Get some perspective everyone - the ISC job is very much a consolation prize for poor old Maggie B. She was desperate to be kept on in Brown's Cabinet, but he dumped her in favour of a bunch of teenagers. She also entertained hopes of succeeding Michael Martin as Speaker, only to be told in no uncertain terms that it has to go to a Tory or Lib Dem next time round. I would think chairman of the ISC comes a very poor third in her eyes.
Will there be enough room in her caravan?
Frightening! She avoids what she can't deal with & I've experienced it before, I think.
Or she was just "too busy" as the new "President of the Board of Trade" a title later reverted to "Secretary of State for Trade and Industry", we may assume.
All in all: a frightening thought. If I wanted confidence in the economy; some sinew of hope, the name of Margaret Beckett was hope suppressed.
Interesting about it being understood that the Speakership cannot always stay with the ruling party and yet for some reason this Committee chairmanship does. I think there were one or two disappointed Tories last time round when it did not come to them - why are we now having the third Labour chairman of this committee is a row? Isn't it meant to be a bipartisan committee and wouldn't some long serving member, such as Michael Mates, have been better? Having such a recnet Foreitn Sec might also be a conflict, might it not, if the Committee had to review something done on her watch? I know Mates is standing down at the election but it would still probably have been a useful 2 year stint; or else I am sure there might have been some other senior Tory who is not standing down.
Londoner, I don't think you understand - when the Intelligence and Security Committee was created (by the Major government) it was on the understanding that its chairman would be a government supporter and usually a senior ex-minister, because they should have recent experience of working with secret information.
Likewise the Public Accounts Committee is always chaired by a senior opposition supporter who is usually a former Treasury minister. It doesn't mean that a government supporter is no good, it's just a question of the responsibility of that post being to scrutinise government which comes better from the opposition.
David Boothroyd - Thank you for your rather patronising comment which I have only just seen.
I am sure you are right that it would always need to be chaired by an ex-Minister whose job had involved some contact with the security services (Mates would qualify for that from his stint as NI security Minister, even if it was a brief one) but where I wonder is this understanding set down that it would always be someone from the Government side and have to be someone with recent experience in office? In fact the two things contradict each other - who was Chairman at the start of the 1997 Parliament: a recent ex-Minister or a Government supporter? The two requirements set out by you are incompatible when there has just been a change of Government.
I should think that some of the same points about objectivity as apply to the Public Accounts committee ought to apply to this post, particularly now that the misuse of "intelligence" by politicians has become an issue.
What is telling - if what you say is in general terms, despite its logical impossibility in some circumstances, correct - is that the tradition of the Public Accounts Committee grew up at least many decades ago whereas this one is fairly recent. So in bygone days Opposition members had some primacy in the key Parliamentary scrutiny roles - and now it is Government supporters. Tells you quite a lot about the overmighty executive, and the weakness of Parliament, doesn't it? I know the reposte would be that there was no Intelligence Committee before at all, but is this committee just a graceful concession by the executive or a proper assertion of Parliamentary scrutiny?
Any prizes for guessing the party of the first Chairman of the committee approving over 30 day detentions, if it ever comes about?
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