Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Difference Between Imagined Sleaze & Real Sleaze

Hold the front page! The Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Times bring you the earth shattering news that ... wait for it - you will be horrified - ... Hazel Blears had a few hours Spanish tuition at ... gasp ... the taxpayer's expense. Obviously she must be sacked. Only right at the end of the piece does the Sunday Times tell its readers that the lessons were in advance of an EU Summit in Valencia.

And even more earthshattering is the news that Peter Mandelson had to be taught how to use a Blackberry. And this tuition took place during working hours. Jesus. And this is what constitutes journalism today.

How, exactly, is this a story? Because Tory MP Greg Hands unearthed the information in parliamentary answers. I am second to no one in my admiration for Greg Hands. He is one of the brightest of the 2005 intake of MPs. But I don't think he does politics any favours by trying to insinuate that politicians are somehow 'on the take' in this manner. Lay off the Chipmunk!

One politician who has legitimately been exposed today, however, is the former Labour Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman, who is clearly cashing in while he still has the opportunity. The Sunday Times reveals how he has been using his Commons office to lobby on behalf of Transport firm ITIS. The final sentence of the story demonstrates why he deserves to lose his Thanet South seat, which has a very small majority...
When he was asked last week whether other companies who did not employ MPs to lobby might consider themselves at a disadvantage, he replied: “It’s their choice. They can hire MPs.”
Don't those two sentences reveal all you need to know about Mr Ladyman? They also demonstrate how we still haven't dealt with the vexed question of MPs' outside interests. Even when MPs act totally properly in this area, there are still suspicions that there's something fishy going on.


Null said...

"Jesus. And this is what constitutes journalism today."

Yep, that is why this awful administration have been able to get away with it for so long.

Null said...

And another thing... Given Ladyboy's comments and his tiny majority, I would guess that he is hoping for a 2010 general election.

Dick the Prick said...

I hope you're not implying that Dr Stephen Ladyman got trained up as a government minister, schmoozed his way around his department, failed spectacularly on all counts, courted oppribrium from the public and has now got into bed with dodgy companies to line his own pocket.

Has anyone been watching the Bremner,Bird & Fortune thing? The chaps have taken the gloves off - I had to turn over last night as my fury was sending my heart rate too high. £100 (no typo) invested in a Scottish hospital PFI gives rise to £89 million!! Many other throw the telly out the window stats also - brilliant telly, too brilliant to err... watch.

Gordon said...

Given Mandelson's record, I'm disappointed the best that Hands could do was Blackberry lessons. I thought he was one of the best of the 2005 intake.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Do you think Labour would have taken your attitude if it was the other way round. Labour hate the Tories, yet Tories behave like gentlemen to Labour.

Before Blair won his first election he went round like an angry youg man and had a go at anything and everything the Tories said and did.

It may not be pleasant but thats the way it is and there is a massive ammount of naivety from Tories who should know better.

We have to fight and that means using anything to fight as Labour do.

The preasant Tory leadership and supporters need to grow up and become streetwise

Hacked Off said...

Yes, we are well impressed with Ladyboy, but he is not the only one.

How about getting down and dirty and exposing all of their "outside interests?

The Penguin

AloneMan said...

Doubtless the Today Programme wil ocver the Ladyman story tomorrow in the same detail and depth as it covered Tories sleaze allegations towards the end of Major's administration.

Victor, NW Kent said...

I detest almost all Labour politicians but for Greg Hands to attack these insignificant amounts is counter-productive.

Even Ladyman's £1000 a month for perfectly legal work, for that it is, is not worth much of a mention.

Man in a Shed said...

Surely your little Chipmunk should be concentrating on more marketable skills for her future career ?

Unknown said...

What is it with you and the chipmunk Ian? Are you a closet fish friar?
She is just as obnoxious as all the other New labour drones. See one of John Redwood's recent posts. She is just as bad as all the rest, even if she is a perky little red head.