Monday, January 26, 2009

When You Should Take Your Own Advice

Readers may have noticed today's stories in the Times and Guardian on the Lords Communications Committee report on the Government use of press briefings in advance of telling Parliament, conduct of SPADs etc.

There is a rather delicious irony in the Statement put out by the Committee yesterday...

'Ministers should make policy announcements to Parliament rather than the media, a committee of peers will recommend today.'

You'll notice that the committee's report has not actually been laid, nor is it on its website.

A case of "Do as I say..."?

UPDATE: The Press Gazette has a full report of the Committee's recommendations.


Anonymous said...

I'm so very sad, SPAD to me is signal passed at danger...

DespairingLiberal said...

You couldn't make it up, could you.

One thing that does interest me about this story generally though is the way the ST hit on Labour Peers only. Could it be that this is because they knew that if they had in fact hit on almost any group of peers, they would have had a similar result, the journalists in question being anti-Labour?

Just curious as it seems likely from the venal responses of some of the very honorable gentlemen in question that in fact they have been doing no more than is common practise in the esteemed Upper Haise.

"M'Luds both temporal and spiritual, venal and ridiculous, may I just say how very satisfactory our emolumentary dispositions truly are?". "Rear, rear, rear rear". "Why I meself have recently had cause to purchase a yacht in the Bahamas, and all for giving the nod to the [insert name of privatisation here]".

(Hansard: Shouts of "well done M'Lud" and "pass the money bag over" removed from the record at the request of M'Learned Friends at the Bar.)

Andrew said...

Despairing Liberal - do try to keep up at the back. The ST tried 10 peers, of which 3 Conservative, 2 Libs and 1 Labour told them to take a running jump. The other 4 Labour didn't.

Pretty convincing proof, I'd say, that 80% of Labour peers don't know (a) when they're being had and (b) when to keep their snouts out of the trough. And perhaps that 100% of Tory and Lib peers are entirely upright and honest. Hang on, that doesn't quite work...

DespairingLiberal said...

Oh thanks Alfred (blush), didn't realise that!

Maybe though it just shows that Libdems and Tories are quicker thinking on their feet than aging trade unionists?

Chris Paul said...

Doh! Why would this thing get any other treatment in advance of its recommendations being adopted?

Unsworth said...

Despairing Liberal

"the journalists in question being anti-Labour"


"doing no more than is common practise in the esteemed Upper Haise"


You're making a few assumptions here.

Actually it really doesn't matter, does it? These guys have fallen for it hook line and sinker and are - I do hope - severely emabarrassed at the very least. How incompetent - let alone venal - is that?

What's much more interesting is the reaction and pronouncements of the stunning (in several senses) Lady Royall. What she has said is this:

"I believe that all the rules pertaining to the complaints procedure, and indeed the issue of sanctions, need to be looked at and I'm confident that that's what the chairman of the privileges committee will do."

See what she did there? Excellent move, eh? Never mind whether these bent bastards are at it - just take a look at "the rules". Now, we can be certain that the Privileges Committee will spend many many hours, possibly days, examining the rules. But how much time will they spend investigating the actions (both past and present) of these scumbag noble lords?

DespairingLiberal said...

I agree about Royall's grotesquely inadequate and slippery response Unsworth, but do you not think that rather proves my point that they are all at it or at something?

In 2-3 months we will get an incoherent report, full of evasions and half-truths, trying to claim everyone is innocent and throwing out a minor and irrelevant rule change as some sort of half-baked panacea.

Unsworth said...

@ Despairing Liberal

I'm afraid your standards of proof do not coincide with mine, but let's just leave that to one side for a moment.

You say that Royall's response was inadequate. On the contrary, her response was perfectly adequate - for what she clearly wishes to do. Inevitably this is about damage limitation. By no stretch of the imagination is this an attempt to institute a thorough and scrupulous investigation of the allegations - and that is exactly my point.

What is clear is that these four are bent bastards. There is enough information on all four swilling around the internet to show that. Of course there may well be others in the Upper Chamber of a similar character, but that is yet to be established. What you have not done is prove your point(s).

DespairingLiberal said...

Unsworth - accept that we need more evidence and I used the word "proved" a bit loosely - maybe I should have said "indicated". I just think the whole tone of their remarks tend to indicate they think it's all just normal and I'll bet they have good reason for thinking so.

Unsworth said...

@ Despairing Liberal

"I used the word "proved" a bit loosely - maybe I should have said "indicated".

Well the two concepts are radically different, aren't they? Still, it's an indication as to your quality of thought and consideration. That the noble Lady Royall, the Labour Leader of the House has chosen a particular route of investigation certainly does not indicate that 'they are all it it'. What it might indicate is that she is in the business of covering her fellow Labour Peers' arses. Why else should she investigate 'the rules' rather than the actions - past and present - of these four, without even investigating whether they have complied with existing regulation and reporting that outcome to the House?

I presume the 'they' you mention is/are the four named Peers. Yes it's almost certain that they believe their behaviour to be 'normal'. So what? That four patently corrupt individuals might say their behaviour is 'normal' is no justification for such actions. Perhaps you think otherwise.