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National politics

Local MP playing the man

On Wednesday night I went on Petrie Hosken’s show on LBC radio. They do a political hour at 8pm on a Wednesday. I was on with Ealing, Acton and Shepherd’s Bush MP Andy Slaughter and Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone.

We talked about new (and unwanted by me certainly!) powers for local councils, MPs’ expenses, the successful appeal of Baby P killer Jason Owen and routine arming of the police. All very tabloidtastic.

One of the things we will see more and more of as Labour see power slipping through their fingers is that they will get nastier and nastier. Local MP (not for long) Andy Slaughter did his bit on Wednesday. This section stood out:

… they (David Cameron and George Osborne) have never done a proper day’s work, they have never suffered in their lives, they have never had any hardship… The Tory front bench is stuffed with old Etonians.

I don’t know how losing a disabled child very young fits into this view.

I told him he was talking nonsense and so it is. Not only nonsense but in his case sheer hypocritical nonsense. He failed to mention that he himself attended elite Hammersmith public school Latymer.

Yes, the Tory front bench is stuffed full of people from good schools as is the Labour front bench. Our “bog standard comprehensives” regrettably don’t provide enough members of either cabinet or shadow cabinet. Famously Harriet Harman went to St Paul’s Girls School. Blair went to the “Scottish Eton”, etc, etc.

Of course chief Labour dodgy story teller and dividing line drawer, Gordon Brown, has previous on this issue as on so many. When he said a couple of years ago that:

I’m an ordinary guy from an ordinary school who managed to get to university

he was, typically, not telling the truth. His old school, Kirkcaldy High School describes itself as a comprehensive school today but at the time that Brown went there is was a highly selective, elite school, the equivalent of an English grammar. With a history going back to 1582 Kirkcaldy had a public school ethos complete with a house system and rugby matches against old boys (which is how Brown had his sight damaged).

Expect to hear much more of this rubbish from Labour in the next few months.

5 replies on “Local MP playing the man”

It shouldn’t be that big a deal where you went to school – but I do notice that you don’t volunteer the identity of the school you attended Phil.

I do view it as a problem though the high number of barristers who are MPs and high ranking MPs at that. I beleieve that Mr Slauaghter is just such an adept adversarial arguer.

The problem both established political parties have also is that more and more electors view MPs en masse as liars and cheats. This view will cause some damage in the May/June 2010 elections.

Eric,

It isn’t me that makes background an issue but if you want to know I went to the local comp for two years. Tarring High School in Worthing had been a secondary modern school the year before but it was a very good school and two of my classmates went to Oxford from Tarring. Both my brothers went there. I got a scholarship from my father’s employer and went to a private school called St Edward’s in Oxford when I was 13. I was lucky to have good experiences in both systems.

I am sure your background does matter to the path you take in life but the behaviour and attitudes of your parents is way more important than the school you end up in.

I totally agree about what you say about the number of lawyers in Parliament. Far too many. Slaughter is a barrister. Hopefully he will be practising again soon. His Tory opponent in Hammersmith, Shaun Bailey, is a youth worker. The problem with lawyers I think is that they can convince themselves they are right even when they are wrong – Clinton’s refusal to talk honestly about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky being a case in point.

The reason so many MPs are Lawyers or Barristers is not far to seek – as a Lawyer or Barrister you are more or less your own boss, it is a Profession you can always go back to, and age is no barrier. I agree, there are too many in Parliament.

For the ordinary person with a job in a different field, even to have time to Campaign for Election may mean having to give up that job. If you are Elected and away from your career for some years it is often very hard getting back in to it, and may be impossible, when you cease being Elected.

That may be why so many MPs nowadays see politics as a career. Be good, do as the Whips tell you, Vote with your Party no matter what, and you will get a safe seat and lots of help to keep it. Where this leads, of course, is to representing (or even selling) your Party to your Constituents. This is the antithesis of what an MP should do, which is to represent his Constituents in Parliament and hold the Executive to account.

Not much of that happening these days unfortunately.

I am sorry I missed last week’s Petrie Hosken’s political punch-up [my terminology] on LBC – but I heard it this evening. Yellow Perilite Ed Davey is living up to my nickname for him of “Violet Elizabeth Bott” as he started attacking Conservative MP James Brokenshire in the most childish way, for childish reasons – and they ended up having a row on air.

I’m sure Petrie Hosken is a Lefty, but can’t work out which one. She appears to always agree with Comrade MEP Claude Moraes [“Who he?” Ed.]. But the other week she was speaking admiringly to a Yellow Peril Assembly Member [I think it was Caroline Pigeon].

I particularly enjoyed the programme when James Max sat in for her – he’s certainly no Lefty!

PS: The Comrades are hypocrites where private education is concerned. You missed out of your list Comrade Alistair Darling went to Loretto [Edinburgh’s other public school – their version of Harrow]. And a Pedant’s Corner comment – Fettes is known as “the Eton of the North” [as it’s based in “the Athens of the North”, Edinburgh]. And I am greatly looking forward to Comrade Andy Slaughter being slaughtered at the polls by non-Etonian Shaun Bailey next year.

Petrie Hosken appears to be extremely friendly with Andrew “Call Me Andy” Slaughter and it would seem lives in his constituency. She claimed on last night’s programme that he is “loved” by his constituents – at which point I snorted with laughter! The truth is that Slaughter is barely known by most of the residents of Hammersmith and those that do know him cannot wait to vote him out!

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