Posts Tagged ‘MPs’

We have to be better than this

18/06/2016, 04:51:00 PM

Uncut didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Jo Cox. We know lots of other Labour MPs, some among the 2015 intake, many personal friends. As soon as Thursday’s terrible news emerged, our thoughts turned not only to Jo’s family but also to our MP friends and their families. You don’t have to believe in God to immediately sense that it was only some kind of grace that kept them from suffering the same awful fate that Jo and her family are suffering.

There was so much to admire about Jo. Those who knew her best have captured this far better than we would be able. We have been moved by their tributes. We think too of what she had in common with other politicians and feel vulnerable on their behalf.

We have to be better than this. We are a tolerant, civilised and democratic country. Whatever else Jo’s murder was, whatever may have motivated her killer, it was a brutal attack on all that we hold most sacred. Quite possibly the darkest hour in the long history of the oldest democracy in the world.

We all now, whether as newly threatened MPs or concerned citizens, have an obligation to ensure that these most precious gifts of life in this country are not further tarnished but renewed. It remains the case, as Jo so poignantly put in her maiden speech, that more unites than divides us. There are patriots on all sides of the referendum debate. There are good people on both sides of the House of Commons. There is still time for us to turn around.

This begins with the Jo Cox Fund – to which Uncut has contributed and would encourage others to do so – and continues with how we conduct what remains of this terrible referendum campaign, and our political and civic lives beyond that.

https://www.gofundme.com/jocox

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Show voters you care: talk about their jobs, not yours

15/09/2011, 01:00:32 PM

by Peter Watt

I have developed an annoying habit. You know the way that ex-smokers are annoying, always pontificating in a superior way about the dangers of smoking, the nasty smell and the cost? Well I am kind of like that about politics. I used to “do politics” full time. I was a real insider and all that. And then I gave it up, and now I love to tell those still addicted the dangers of the habit, the nasty smell and of course the cost.

Well this week, let me tell you, I have felt a pretty smug ex-politico and to be honest I think that I am justified, even if I am annoying.

The real anger at Westminster this week has been reserved for, wait for it, the outcomes of the boundary commission. Not the weak state of the domestic, European or even world economy. Not the worryingly high level of inflation and the real pain being felt by families struggling to make ends meet. Not the implications of the welfare reform bill for people with disabilities or the health and social care bill. No, not even the hacking of phones could come close to the levels of Westminster angst that the threat to a handful of MPs’ jobs could raise.

MPs and political parties have been getting agitated about whether MP A or MP B might or might not have a seat after the election. At the same time, mere mortals are working hard just to pay their electricity, gas and food bills. Whatever the rights or wrongs of the policy to reduce the number of Westminster seats, I am not sure that much of the public will share the dismay of many at Westminster. Well, except the dismay that the numbers are not being reduced further. (more…)

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Yes, MPs work hard. But who for? Themselves.

19/04/2011, 02:00:23 PM

by Alex Hilton

It’s truly challenging to express incandescent rage in the form of dry, political writing but let me have a go. I am stomach-wrenchingly sick of MPs defending the nobility of MPs in the process of backing the first past the post electoral system.

I’m sorry, Jim Murphy, but I’m talking about you.

Murphy is one of the better MPs. By all accounts he’s intelligent, hard working, serious and responsive to his constituents. But because he is good, does that really mean the rest of them are?

He is the latest in a long list of MPs telling us how hard-working and selfless MPs are. Please listen to me: this is utter tripe. Many MPs really are hard working, some are even obsessive and monomaniacal. But you have to ask who they are hard working for, and it’s usually themselves. It’s not their fault, it’s just how the systems works. (more…)

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Half a minute Harris

09/03/2011, 12:05:16 PM

Episode 2: Should we abstain on the welfare reform bill?

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Why did the police not investigate phone hacking leads?

26/01/2011, 08:35:20 AM

by Tom Watson

I’m not a lawyer but the phone hacking scandal has meant I’ve had to act like one.

If you told me a year ago that I would have read Archbold, the criminal lawyer’s bible, inside out, I would have laughed. I’m the digi-guy. I read Clay Shirky, not boring legal text books. But then Tom Crone, the slick in-house lawyer for News International, tried to remove me from the culture, media and sport select committee. It was an act of aggression that finally convinced me that I had no choice but to get to the bottom of this murky affair, once and for all. Phone hacking took over from the future of the Internet as a policy preoccupation. I look forward to the day when I can return to Shirky.

When I read the section of Archbold on perverting the course of public justice, the whole hacking saga came into focus.

“The offence may be committed where acts are done with the intention of concealing the fact that a crime has been committed, although no proceedings in respect of it are pending or have commenced”,

says Archbold in the  2009 Edition, page 2631.

This week, the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, confirmed that he would examine all new evidence in the News of the World phone hacking saga.

I’ve made the case that he should be investigating a potential attempt to pervert the course of public justice. As fragments of evidence have been forced out of news international and the metropolitan police service by civil litigants and Parliamentary enquiries, the case for a deep investigation by an outside force is now, I think, insurmountable. (more…)

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Coulson’s imminent departure is just the beginning

23/11/2010, 07:00:12 AM

by Tom Watson

Andy Coulson will resign as Downing Street communications director within the next few weeks. When the moment comes, his powerful but embarrassed friends will breathe a sigh of relief. They want it to be the end of the phone hacking scandal. It is just the beginning.

For, as any investigative journalist will tell you, it’s always the cover up that sinks you. Senior executives have been clinging onto the line that “Clive Goodman was a rogue reporter” like it was a life belt on the Titanic. The unanswered questions are pouring in.

There is a police investigation and at least three court cases. There are two Parliamentary enquiries on top of a damning report by the media select committee. There are whistleblowers. Insiders are breaking ranks, beginning to talk. Shareholders are asking questions. Coulson may be on his way, but the story won’t go away, despite hardly being reported in some of the best-selling newspapers.

There will be adverse criticism of the Prime Minister’s judgement, but, frankly, that’s a side show. In the degenerate world of Westminster politics, Coulson was a “success”. He got Cameron into number 10. He served his master well. Now it’s over, a lucrative, if unrewarding, career in PR awaits him, whatever the various enquiries hold for him in the short term. (more…)

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Wednesday News Review

22/09/2010, 07:31:25 AM

Last day of voting

Supporters of each of the five candidates for the Labour leadership are making a last-ditch effort to secure votes before polling closes. MPs, MEPs and party members have until 5pm to cast their ballots, and votes are expected to be cast electronically via the Labour website right up until the last minute. Voting for members of trade unions and affiliated organisations closed on Tuesday. Polls suggest that shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband had closed the gap on brother David as the race came to the wire. But bookmakers Ladbrokes still made shadow foreign secretary David 1-2 favourite on Tuesday night, ahead of his younger brother on 6-4. – The Press Association

Today voting ends in Labour’s leadership contest. Mirror readers who are Labour members have until 5pm to vote. It takes just a minute online. I will be a leader who will make sure that Labour will again be a party which stands up for the hard-working majority in Britain. We all know what happened under 18 years of Tory rule. And just look at what they’ve done in their first few weeks – hiked VAT to 20%, slashed Tax Credits, frozen Child Benefit, threatened Winter Fuel Payments, axed new school buildings. Cameron promised compassionate Conservatism, but is showing that for the majority there is no such thing. – Ed Miliband, The Mirror

Left Ed, Right Ed

According to his critics, he’s a dangerous left-wing radical who, if he ever became prime minister, would take Britain back to the Socialist 1970s. According to his supporters, he’s the man who will lead Labour away from Blairism and reconnect the party with its core supporters and traditional values. Both his detractors and supporters are in agreement that Ed Miliband – who could well be Labour leader when the results of the party ballot are revealed this weekend – is the candidate for ‘change’. Miliband himself has as his campaign slogan: ‘Call for Change’. But if we look beyond the rhetoric and the sound-bites, a very different picture emerges. The reality is that Ed Miliband is not so much the ‘change’ candidate, but a politician who will deliver more of the same neo-liberal policies that both Conservative and Labour governments have followed over the past 30 years. – The First Post

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Friday News Review

10/09/2010, 08:31:58 AM

More questions, few answers

The parliamentary sleaze watchdog is to investigate claims of phone hacking surrounding David Cameron’s chief spin doctor. MPs agreed yesterday that the powerful Commons Standards and Privileges Committee should hold an inquiry into the allegations. It comes amid growing pressure on Andy Coulson, No 10’s head of communications, over accusations he knew of illegal phone-tapping while he was editor of the News of the World editor. Chris Bryant, the Labour MP who claims his phone was targeted, told MPs he was concerned that recent allegations were just the “tip of the iceberg”. – The Herald

Labour former minister Tom Watson told the Commons: “Something very dark lurks in the evidence files of the Mulcaire case, and dark and mysterious forces are keeping it that way.” He claimed too many powerful politicians were “afraid” of the power of newspapers. He said: “Here we sit in Parliament, the central institution of our sacred democracy, between us some of the most powerful people of the land, and we are scared. We are afraid, and if we oppose this resolution it is our shame. That is the tawdry secret that dare not speak its name. – The Express

David Cameron’s spin doctor suffered another blow yesterday when MPs ordered the Westminster sleaze watchdog to probe phone-hacking claims. Ex-News of the World editor Andy Coulson has insisted he didn’t know the eavesdropping technique was used at the paper. But former employees claim Mr Coulson – now No10 director of communications – must have been aware of the practice. – The Mirror

THE POSITION of British prime minister David Cameron’s top media adviser is under increasing pressure following a decision yesterday by the government not to block an investigation into allegations of widespread telephone tapping by British newspapers. The adviser, Andy Coulson, who resigned in 2007 as editor of theNews of the World after one of his reporters was jailed for telephone tapping, has faced fresh allegations in the last week that he approved of the widespread use of such tactics during his time in charge of the powerful tabloid. The Standards and Privileges Committee at the House of Commons is to meet early next week to decide whether it will launch a full public inquiry into the affair, but there is little doubt that it will do so given the strength of feeling expressed by MPs from all parties present at a debate on the matter yesterday, who voted unanimously for an investigation to take place. – The Irish Times

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It’s time for a local discussion about what our representatives should do for communities, argues Fiona Gordon

22/07/2010, 05:30:11 PM

Like many people I feel that I am still recovering from the strangest general election campaign that I have ever been involved in.  I helped organise the Birmingham Selly Oak campaign not only in the month of the short campaign but for 3 years leading up to it. We won –   thank goodness, not least because the candidate was my partner Steve McCabe.

So I say all this not as a armchair socialist but an active campaigning member of the Labour Party.

Don’t you think it is strange that there are rules and regulations about selections and elections  in our Party but nothing at all about what we should get from our Labour representatives once they are elected?

I understand why the Labour Party has followed  a key seat strategy, concentrating on the seats we have to win to form  a government. I have been a Labour Party staffer and have been part of implementing this. But don’t you think it is time for a change. Politics is changing and the Labour Party needs to too.

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Those unconscious phrases which reveal so much…

09/06/2010, 03:55:36 PM

One war-weary Labour old stager just sent Labour Uncut a text message from an idle moment.  It was one of those absent, unsolicited little updates that the Twitter-literate now do without thinking.

On this occasion, quite without realising how quickly he’d become accustomed to a new world which is mad, this MP described himself as “sitting in the IPSA queue with several other MPs”.

That’s what they do these days.  Between legislating and agitating and holding the executive to account.  They sit in the IPSA queue.

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