Friday, March 13, 2009

Ed Miliband Is Innocent, OK?

The Telegraph front page story on Ed Miliband's girlfriend Justine Thornton, who works as a leading counsel for the nuclear industry, is a disgrace. It insinuates that he has a conflict of interest as the man in charge of Britain's energy policy. The paper says "Ed Miliband kept the identity of his girlfriend secret from the media, although his department is aware of who she is." Bollocks.

He did nothing of the sort. She has featured in a Guardian profile, and he freely talked about her to me when I did a profile of him and his brother in GQ last year. Just because Rosa Prince didn't know about her, doesn't make her a secret.

The story goes on... "The revelation has raised questions about a potential conflict of interest and aides to Mr Miliband confirmed last night that he had not excused himself from any decisions taken at the department."

And nor should he. Stories like this are from the school of thought that assumes all politicians are on the make or easy to influence in a malign way. And it is a story which not only should never have made the Telegraph front page.

UPDATE: Dizzy disagrees.

34 comments:

Anoneumouse said...

"mare zygotes and doe zygotes and little lambs and ivy."

Oldrightie said...

Is she also a big pal of Brown's brother?

The Grim Reaper said...

Funny how you've no problem biting the hand that used to feed you, Iain.

Doug said...

I disagree. The Telegraph may have over egged the pudding but there's barely a week that goes by without us finding out about cosy relationships between people in power. If you're going to be impartial to make decisions based on the public good then there has to be distance. It doesn't actually mean anything illegal or immoral has been done it is imply the least you can ask for a fully transparent process. Unless of course we have someone minuting every conversation Ed has with this woman. He should pass on nuclear decisions to someone else. Though I'm sure they've set up some cosy deal where his civil servants supposedly monitor his decisions in this area which is a bit like the fox guarding the hen house.

Chris Paul said...

Perhaps someone should do a quick rundown of Tory front bench W/HAGs and H/WABs?

If this person is a barrister it's a taxi-rank basis and they would take Greenpeace or whatever too. If they could afford the tab.

Blair and Booth spring to mind as a pair of barristers with opposing briefs.

Anonymous said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/labour/4988265/Ed-Milibands-live-in-girlfriend-is-nuclear-lawyer.html

Governments have fallen for less. Well... less of a relationship. On the other hand he hasn't lied about it. On the other hand he should have declared it. Perhaps he should just retire from politics to do good works in atonement.

force12 said...

"Stories like this are from the school of thought that assumes all politicians are on the make or easy to influence in a malign way."

Yes, it is. And a bloody good reflection of politics and parliament it is.

force12 said...

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear eh?

Tony_E said...

The problem is that once upon a time, this would have been considered an inappropriate relationship for a minister to be involved in, and if both parties felt that strongly one would have left their post for new pastures.

Politics, looking as tarnished as it is after more than a decade of such close relationships of one nature and another between business, the lobby and government, will continually be seen as being 'suspect' while such things continue.

There may be no impropriety here, but there is the appearance of such and that is the problem. Why should the Telegraph stay clear of such stories Iain, have you forgotten the total smear campaign of lies and half truths masterminded by such luminaries as Campbell, Draper and Clifford in the run up to 1997. At least this story has the credit of being true and accurate.

Cynic said...

I agree Iain. This is a non-story. He declared the 'interest' and presumably will have been careful to play no role in related matters. End of story.

It would be impossible to avoid every entanglement and potential conflict unless you were a monk living on a Hebridean Island and communicating with the Department by pigeon post

Savonarola said...

Ed Milliband is innocent OK!

Balls.

There is a conflict of interest and we should not rely on the idea that as he is not a politician on the make to guarantee that everything is OK. It is not OK.

That is the point of the article.

BTW the whole nuclear industry is riddled with conflicts of interest. Try Brown. Try Balls.

And moreover the scope of politicial immorality of Westmister Village results is a cynical public taking the position that all politicians are on the make unless they prove otherwise. In this category I put Field and Hoey.

Man in a Shed said...

Its no different from Gordon Brown's brother working for the French Nuclear generator EDF who have been allowed to buy our nuclear industry, more or less, which may ensure we have to buy French designs.

The French will also be in a good position to kill the British nuclar fuel and reprocessing businesses ( their main rival ).

But I think Gordon's too clueless to be involved in anything like that.

PS Doesn't Miliband minor have enough problems running his fantasy department without getting distracted by a girlfriend ?

Dick the Prick said...

Fair point - well made.

Westmorlander said...

Hold on a sec. Isn't Rosa an ex Mirror Hack and presumably with contacts with NuLab? Isn't Millipede a contender for the throne? Are these facts connected?

Anonymous said...

"Just because Rosa Prince didn't know about her, doesn't make her a secret."

Otherwise there would be an awful lot of secrets out there.

neil craig said...

It is a statistical inevitability that almost anybody, including almost any politician, will have family, friends, former employers etc who work for somebody directly or through their job in receipt of government money. Probably the large majority of them since government is now over 50% of the economy.

Ed's girlfriend is not one. The nuclear industry is not in receipt of government money, quite the reverse & asks nothing more of government than to be left alone & allowed to keep our lights on & provide power at 1/3rd the current price.

For the first time I am actually quite impressed by Ed who has managed to attract a competent woman rather than one of the hordes of ignorant & innumerate parasites that infest his party.

PS I guess blogging is a power in the land when the Telegraph will replate its front page hours after you criticise them

Anonymous said...

Well the story is still here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/labour/4988265/Ed-Milibands-live-in-girlfriend-is-nuclear-lawyer.html

It'll take a man (or a woman) with a screwdriver to remove it.

Anonymous said...

Well the story is still here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/labour/4988265/Ed-Milibands-live-in-girlfriend-is-nuclear-lawyer.html

It'll take a man (or a woman) with a screwdriver to remove it.

Jeremy said...

Well the story is still here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/labour/4988265/Ed-Milibands-live-in-girlfriend-is-nuclear-lawyer.html

It'll take a man (or a woman) with a screwdriver to remove it.

Jeremy said...

Sorry for repeats. Problems with the ID thing.

the ink slinger said...

With a few honourable exceptions (stand up, Messrs Heffer, Hannan, Moore (Brian, not Charles)) The Telegraph's status as a serious newspaper becomes flimsier by the week.

And don't get us started on the wretched, semi-literate Bryony Gordon.

We're in the non story camp, by the way.

Paul Halsall said...

Bryony Gordon - today comparing herself to other who addressed the Cambridge Union. ROTLAMAO.

[Besides, surely only the Oxford Union counts.]

Mirtha Tidville said...

Sorry Iain, think your wrong.....

Not a sheep said...

A world in which "Ed Miliband rates a one line mention" would be a much better world.

Jon Lishman said...

What's happened to Guido? His site seems to be down. Would have been interested in his take on this latest dose of circumstantial evidence clearly revealing that Nulabor is probably the most corrupt regime [Clarkson voice] in the world...lol

Conspiracy!!!

Jon Lishman said...

fi:
A wee bit of sleuthing reveals that guido's 'order-order.blogspot.com' is now
http://5thnovember.blogspot.com/

SO all the links on all these other blogs are wrong, I guess.

Or have I missed something...

Andy said...

"But The Daily Telegraph can disclose the woman is Justine Thornton, an energy and planning expert whose work includes representing major companies. She is described in the barristers’ bible, Chambers and Partners, as the “preferred counsel of E.On"

Iain I think you've got this one wrong. if the aboves quote from the telegraph is correct, he has a clear conflict of interest

OBC News said...

Ed Mil(l)iband has a girlfriend? Christ

Anonymous said...

Should we be surprised the Telegraph does not know what it is talking about - it ran a ridiculous main headline story about global warming the other day.

Anonymous said...

I wish Dizzy would stop saying, "the bottom line" and "at the end of the day"...it's so annoying.

Ed Miliband is innocent. OK. I agree. He is a human being and he is entitled to have a private life and a love life.

There is no reason why Ed should not love, or have a personal relationship, with someone who is 'off message'... in a political sense.

Ed Miliband is his own person and his girlfriend is her own person. That's the way it should be.

Life is too short to allow politics to pollute true love.

Go, Ed! Best wishes for a happy future. Screw the cynics.

Richard Lane said...

It's blogs like this that make me really like your site Iain. No hint of wanting to score a cheap party political shot. Just a no nonsense defence of something that is obviously right. Very refreshing!

Anonymous said...

It's a win win situation... everybody's being screwed

neil craig said...

Suppose it turned out that the majority of people on a candidate's selection commitee (I could also hace said lover or wife but was looking for somebody really powerful) turned out to be government employees. Would that mean the minister would have to excuse himself from any discussion on whether the number of government employees & their wage bill should go up.

By the theory put forward in the article it certainly should.

In fact I suspect that many Labour & LD constituency parties are in that situation & I very much doubt if they disqualify themselves. I doubt if journalists with wives &/or girlfiends in government employ refuse to write in favour of more spending. Certainly BBC journalists who themselves are government employees constantly tell us how much more regulation & general governing we need.

dizzy said...

I wish Dizzy would stop saying, "the bottom line" and "at the end of the day"...it's so annoying.

An absoloutely sure fire way of guaranteeing that I do it more.