Posts Tagged ‘Tom Watson’

Uncut Review: Blue Labour, Forging a New Politics, edited by Ian Geary and Adrian Pabst

02/03/2015, 10:43:34 AM

by Jonathan Todd

This book is reviewed in advance of the launch event at 7pm tonight in Portcullis House

Blue Labour was a useful vehicle for Ed Miliband. He wanted to move on from New Labour. Blue Labour helped him to do so without backing into too many left-wing cul-de-sacs. But Maurice Glasman, the original Blue Labour guru, grew frustrated with Miliband, having probably already alienated the party leader with his predilection for colourful comment.

Reflecting on this in Blue Labour, Forging a New Politics, a new book edited by Ian Geary and Adrian Pabst, Glasman laments that “in a rationalist, tin-eared and ungenerous Westminster village” he has fallen “into trouble” as a result of a fondness for “paradox, something that sounds wrong but is right”. While the book contains chapters from Labour’s Policy Review Co-ordinator (Jon Cruddas), as well as potentially the next Labour London mayor (David Lammy) and next deputy leader (Tom Watson), it is uncertain whether Blue Labour can again be the Westminster village force that it appeared when Miliband was elected leader.

Appropriately for a public philosophy propagated by Miliband, it is ceded within academia. Four book contributors are current holders of academic positions, while the University of Kent’s website indicates that Pabst’s “research focuses on contemporary post-liberal politics”. It’s not so long ago that I was commenting on drafts of a Demos Quarterly essay by David Goodhart, who also appears in this Blue Labour collection, on post-liberalism, never having previously encountered post-liberalism as a term. Now post-liberalism is subject to academic research, while Blue Labour, Pabst claims, “emerged as part of a wider ‘post-liberal’ turn in British politics in the wake of the 2008 economic crash and the 2011 London riots”.

The financial crisis, of course, wrought deleterious consequences. Through its analysis of the interactions between globalisation and financial liberalisation, Martin Wolf’s latest book provides a powerful account of how this happened. Wolf was caustic at an IPPR seminar last autumn on what he perceives as Labour’s failure to provide policy solutions big enough to meet the challenges that he poses.

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Falkirk: an epilogue

19/02/2014, 07:23:43 PM

by Rob Marchant

Two weeks ago, in all of the excitement of Ed Miliband’s surprisingly successful bid to reform Labour party power structures, a parallel development was almost buried in the bigger story, apart from at the Guardian, which broke it.

The night before the NEC was due to ponder the matter, the full report which Ed Miliband had steadfastly refused to publish was, finally, mysteriously leaked. Whether it was the party, or Unite, or the Guardian itself, or even the Tories ineptly trying to cause trouble, we may never know.

The Labour party has made – caveats notwithstanding – big progress in dealing with the root cause, and there is already a new candidate for Falkirk. The story is over.

But before we lay its ghost to rest, and after the extraordinary impact it has had on the course of Labour Party history, it behoves us to spend a little time understanding exactly what did happen.

Leafing through the 20-page report, a few things stand out.

There seems little doubt that recruitment was carried out in contravention of party rules; or that it was later generally agreed to pretend that things were otherwise.

Any recruitment purely for the purposes of manipulating a selection is against the rules but, since intent is evidently difficult to establish, there exist a number of controls (such as signatures, rules prohibiting bulk payments, application acceptance criteria and freeze dates) to ensure that such recruitment is minimised, if not wholly eliminated. These calls were all jumped in various ways: single cheques for multiple applications, backdating, signing on others’ behalf and so on. Police found insufficient evidence to classify these practices as illegal, but that is hardly the point; internal selections are hardly processes with much legal standing anyway.

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The Uncuts: 2013 political awards

31/12/2013, 03:22:37 PM

Another year slides by. Historic figures shuffled off this mortal coil, the political pendulum swung back, then forth and we end with Labour holding onto a poll lead, albeit halved since last year.

Sorting through the detritus of the year that was, we’ve decided to revive our annual Uncut awards. These beacons of prestige are awarded on the basis of the skill and judgement of the team at Uncut. They represent our opinion, have your say in the comments

Politician of the year: Nelson Mandela

Even in death, Mandela reminded us of the power of politics to achieve great things. Contrary to the rose tinted reminisces for a secular saint that suffused so many obituaries, he was in many ways a typical politician. There’s ample evidence that he harboured the same deeply held personal emnities as most politicians, that in private he was far from the engaging avuncular figure of myth and that his family felt him to be distant.

But what distinguished him was his political judgement.

MandelaMandela knew what needed to be done and ruthlessly pursued it – almost regardless of his personal predilections or the cost.

This is what made him great and what could so easily distinguish so many of our politicians – no need for sainthood, just a bit more conviction, some hard-headed decision-making and a little less focus-grouped tinkering.

Political speech of the year: Ed Miliband at Labour conference

During the autumn of 2007, there was giddy talk of an imminent general election and an increase in Labour’s majority. Then came George Osborne’s speech to Conservative party conference, committing to cut inheritance tax. The waves of Labour excitement quickly turned to fear. This was the closest Gordon Brown ever came to winning a general election and he was fatally weakened thereafter.

Ed Miliband made the political speech of 2013 by delivering the conference speech with the biggest impact since Osborne’s. The steadily improving economy, Falkirk and Tory ascendancy over debates like immigration and welfare had Labour on the back foot throughout the summer.

The energy price freeze reversed fortunes as dramatically as inheritance tax 5 years previously. Back pocket calculations were central to both, as they will be in May 2015. It remains to be seen if Osborne will then be as hobbled as Brown was in May 2010.

Brass neck of the year: Ed Miliband over Falkirk

Chutzpah. Not a quality that immediately leaps to mind when thinking of Ed Miliband, but events in 2013 proved he has an abundance of it.

In July, the Labour party suspended the union join scheme, which had been used by Unite to recruit new members in Falkirk ahead of the parliamentary selection. The party statement claimed,

““In the light of the activities of Unite in Falkirk we will end the ‘union join’ scheme… due to the results of Unite in Falkirk it has become open to abuse but also open to attacks from our opponents that damage Labour.”

Ed Miliband launched his proposals to reform the union link that month, castigating Unite,

“‘I am here to talk about a different politics, a politics that is open. Transparent. And trusted. Exactly the opposite of the politics we’ve recently seen in Falkirk. A politics that was closed. A politics of the machine. A politics that is rightly hated…’

At the time, it seemed a principled stand. But appearances turned out to be deceptive.

Ed Mili

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Farewell to blogging

13/05/2013, 01:45:47 PM

by Peter Watt

Well it had to happen at some point I guess.  After nearly three years and (I think) just under 150 posts I am giving up political blogging.  I have in all honesty been treading a fine line for a while now as I have tried to balance the competing pressures of my “day job” and my blogging.  It seems a long time ago now but the person who asked me to write for Uncut first was John McTernan; but I said no as I was still unsure as to whether or not I wanted to raise my head above the parapet.

My book had caused a bit of a stir earlier that year and I decided to keep my head down.  But then Tom Watson asked me to write a post when he was guest editing the site.  My first post was during the leadership contest and was advice for the incoming leader – something of a recurring theme!

Originally I wrote the occasional post and then one every other week before finally agreeing with Sion Simon that I would write a weekly post for Thursday mornings.  Sometimes they flowed easily and at others they were a complete nightmare.  At times I felt I could’ve written on a whole range of issues and at times I struggled to find any subject at all.  But I am pleased to say that I have not missed a post since; and that includes writing posts on holiday and over Christmas.   I’m not absolutely sure that my wife Vilma is as pleased about this as I am.

I have enjoyed the variety of people from across the political spectrum that have commented on, tweeted or messaged me about my posts.  It’s funny how sometimes I wrote things that I was really pleased with and no one seemed to notice.  At other times I would rush off something that I was unsure of and it would seem to hit the mark.  Occasionally people seem to feel that they could be rude as opposed to simply disagreeing with me.  It bothered me a bit at first but not anymore.

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An exclusive conference invitation

03/10/2012, 03:30:23 PM

by I.A.M. Special

An email from Tom Watson. A “Special invitation”. It continued this was an invitation to a “special Campaigners’ lunch” for key campaigners to share ideas with Tom Watson and Ian McNicol. Just to make it clear, “This is a special event by invitation only”.

There was definitely a whiff of exclusivity: maybe even food while sitting on a chair.

And so across the country hundreds of people put the date in their diary. And on that special day wedged themselves into a heaving Barbirolli Room at the Radisson. They patiently queued for spring rolls and carrot cake which they held in their hands, plates having long since run out. Then they took turns to look longingly at jugs of iced tap water unaccompanied by the glasses needed to drink from it.

They shouted loudly to all their chums, who’d also been invited. And they listened as Tom Watson treated the special, if thirsty, with a never before told tale of how it was him that did all the dishes in the McNicol/Watson bachelor household. They whooped and cheered “Milton Keynes” and then “Edinburgh” for doing something very important and probably special. And as they took our bottles of warm water from their bags and swigged they reflected on all those ideas and best practice they’d swapped. And that somewhere, surely, there were some members that hadn’t been invited.

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Wednesday News Review

07/09/2011, 06:59:53 AM

Testimonies put Murdoch in hot water

James Murdoch could be recalled to Parliament to face MPs after fresh phone hacking claims at the News of the World emerged. The paper’s former lawyer Tom Crone told the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee yesterday Mr Murdoch knew the practice went beyond “rogue reporter” Clive Goodman. Mr Crone said he was “certain” he told him about the “For Neville” email, which is thought to have been intended for reporter Neville Thurlbeck. It contained hacked information about Profesional Footballers Association chief Gordon Taylor, to whom Mr Murdoch authorised a damages payout of £425,000. Mr Murdoch had previously told MPs he was not informed about the email. He said in a statement yesterday he stood by his initial testimony. – Daily Mirror

James Murdoch is likely to be recalled to parliament to answer fresh questions after two former News of the World executives said on Tuesday they were certain Murdoch was told of an explosive email that indicated phone hacking at the paper went beyond one rogue reporter. Commons sources said Murdoch would probably be ordered to appear for a second time before MPs next month to clarify whether or not he was told about the now-notorious “for Neville” email, which blew apart the newspaper’s defence that phone hacking was isolated to its royal editor, Clive Goodman. In a tense session before the culture, media and sport committee, Tom Crone, who left as News Group Newspapers‘ legal manager in August, said he had told Murdoch about the email. It was after hearing the news of the email at a 15-minute meeting in 2008, he claimed, that Murdoch authorised a payment of £425,000 plus costs to Gordon Taylor, a football executive. This contradicts James Murdoch’s account of events. Giving evidence at the same session, Colin Myler, who became editor of News of the World after Andy Coulson resigned over phone hacking at the paper, said it was “inconceivable” that Murdoch was unaware that the email indicated hacking went beyond a single rogue reporter at the Sunday newspaper. – the Guardian

Osborne admits to economic woes but will stick to Plan A anyway

Britain is living through a ‘Great Contraction’ which will mean lower than expected growth – but would face disaster if it shifted course from tough austerity measures, George Osborne said last night. The Chancellor gave his clearest signal yet that official forecasts for recovery will have to be downgraded later this year, admitting: ‘We have all had to revise down our short-term expectations over recent weeks.’ Mr Osborne blamed Labour’s mismanagement of the economy – arguing that the ‘overhang of debt’ meant the recovery from the financial crisis was ‘slower and choppier’ than recoveries from other kinds of recession.  ‘That’s why economists… have called the period we are living through the “Great Contraction”,’ the Chancellor said. – Daily Mail

In boastful mood last night George Osborne said the Government’s tough deficit-reduction strategy meant Britain was “master of its own destiny” unlike other European nations which were at the mercy of the financial markets. In a defiant speech to the Lloyds insurance market in London, the Chancellor conceded that all countries had had to “revise down our short-term expectations over recent weeks”. That was a clear signal that the Office of Budget Responsibility would scale down its growth forecasts on 29 November, when the Chancellor publishes his autumn statement. He is expected to unveil a raft of measures designed to boost growth, some of which may be trailed at next month’s Conservative Party conference. Last night he argued that the lesson of the summer was that Britain had not suffered the same wobbles as Italy, Spain and France because the Government enjoyed the confidence of the financial markets. – the Independent

Moran faces 21 charges

Disgraced former Luton MP Margaret Moran is to face criminal charges in relation to her parliamentary expenses claims. Ms Moran was considered to be among the worst offenders in the 2009 expenses scandal and was forced to stand down at the 2010 general election. She is to appear at Westminster magistrates court on September 19th to face 15 charges of false accounting and six of forgery, the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed. Keir Starmer QC, director of public prosecutions, said: “Having thoroughly reviewed the evidence gathered by the police, we have decided there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to bring criminal charges against Margaret Moran. “These charges relate to fraudulent claims with a total value of more than £60,000.” Ms Moran is the fifth Labour MP to face criminal charges over expenses, following David Chaytor, Jim Devine, Eric Illsley and former minister Elliot Morley. – politics.co.uk

Another ex-Tory MP to appear on Strictly

Brendan Cole has admitted he would be happy to be partnered with ex-politician Edwina Currie on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. Brendan Cole would be happy to partner Edwina Currie on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. The professional dancer – who previously won the show with Natasha Kaplinsky in 2004 – is set to find out who his partner will be tomorrow (07.09.11), but admits he doesn’t care who he gets, despite predictions the 64-year-old ex-politician will struggle with the routines because of her age. When asked if he’d like to dance with Edwina at the launch for the Jeans for Genes campaign at Kettners in London last night (06.09.11), Brendan exclusively told Bang Showbiz: “I don’t mind who I’m partnered with, to be honest, young or old. – the List

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Tuesday News Review

06/09/2011, 06:49:16 AM

MPs to examine Murdoch’s claim

MPs will test James Murdoch’s assertion he knew nothing about a crucial email in the phone-hacking scandal when they quiz former News Of The World executives today. The News International chairman has reportedly cancelled a trip to Asia to monitor first-hand what is said at the select committee hearing because he knows his credibility as a witness and a business leader is on the line. When James Murdoch appeared with his father Rupert before the Culture, Media and Sport committee in July, he was asked if he knew about a document known as the “for Neville” email which is seen as critical to the hacking inquiry. The email indicates that the practice of hacking was more widespread than News International (NI) originally admitted. James Murdoch said he was unaware of the document at the time he sanctioned a payout totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Professional Footballers’ Association chief Gordon Taylor, whose phone was hacked by the News of The World (NOTW). His denial of knowledge of the email was subsequently contradicted by Colin Myler, the NOTW’s last editor, and the paper’s former lawyer Tom Crone, both of whom will give their side of the story to the committee. –  Sky News

The former legal manager of the News of the World (NOTW), Tom Crone and the paper’s former editor, Colin Myler, today face questioning from the Commons committee investigating phone hacking, after Scotland Yard confirmed no formal charges were imminent in their own criminal investigation into the scandal. MPs on the culture, media and sport select committee had been concerned that their probe into phone hacking was on the verge of being halted as police investigations throughout the UK intensified and threatened formal charges being brought against key figures at the centre of the hacking affair. However, the Metropolitan Police’s specialist crime directorate investigating phone hacking, will now allow MPs to pursue an uncompromised re-examination of Mr Crone and Mr Myler. In 2009, the two gave evidence to earlier hearings of the committee, saying James Murdoch, News Corporation’s chairman and chief executive, had been informed of the background behind an out-of-court settlement of £700,000 to a hacking victim, football boss Gordon Taylor. – the Independent

Rioters were known criminals

The justice secretary, Kenneth Clarke, has blamed the riots that swept across England last month on a “broken penal system” that has failed to rehabilitate a group of hardcore offenders he describes as the “criminal classes”. Revealing for the first time that almost 75% of those aged over 18 charged with offences committed during the riots had prior convictions, Clarke said the civil unrest had laid bare an urgent need for penal reform to stop reoffending among “a feral underclass, cut off from the mainstream in everything but its materialism”. Writing in the Guardian, Clarke dismisses criticism of the severity of sentences handed down to rioters and said judges had been “getting it about right”. However, he adds that punishment alone was “not enough”. “It’s not yet been widely recognised, but the hardcore of the rioters were in fact known criminals. Close to three quarters of those aged 18 or over charged with riot offences already had a prior conviction. That is the legacy of a broken penal system – one whose record in preventing reoffending has been straightforwardly dreadful.” – the Guardian

Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has blamed last month’s riots on a ‘broken penal system’ that has failed to rehabilitate what he describes as the hardcore ‘criminal classes’. He revealed that almost 75 per cent of those aged over 18 charged with offences committed during the riots had prior convictions. Mr Clarke said reform was vital to prevent reoffending among ‘a feral underclass, cut off from the mainstream in everything but its materialism’. He also expressed concern at ‘the instinctive criminal behaviour of apparently random passers-by’. His remarks will be seen as bitterly ironic by right-wing Tory MPs, who blame the Justice Secretary for threatening their party’s reputation on law and order with a series of ‘soft sentencing’ policy proposals, which had to be overruled by Downing Street. – Daily Mail

Cameras to be let in the courts

David Cameron is expected to pave the way for the move in a speech on crime planned for later this month. The televised coverage is expected to be limited and will not allow cameras to record witnesses giving evidence. Television cameras are currently banned from most courts in England and Wales, although the proceedings of the new Supreme Court can be broadcast. It is understood cameras will first be allowed in to the court of appeal. That move could be announced today, but the Government is keen to expand it to other courts and is in talks with the judiciary on how that might work. Lord Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions, backed the move, comparing it to the broadcasting of parliament. “I’ve been a supporter of this for years,” he said. Baroness Kennedy QC, a human rights lawyer, has argued that cameras would distort trials. – the Telegraph

Lawson invited to join UKIP

With impeccable timing, the UKIP leader Nigel Farage today wrote to the former chancellor Lord Lawson to invite him to join his party. Farage fired off a letter after Lawson called on David Cameron to use any future EU treaty negotiations, in the wake of the crisis in the Eurozone, to call for an end to greater European integration. This is what Farage says: “Nigel Lawson has come to the conclusion that the very approach of the EU is against Britain’s interests, and is calling for the concept of ‘Ever Closer Union’ to be struck from the Treaty. He calls for a new Constitution that makes explicit the limits of EU power. He is also wise enough to know that his proposals have not a cat in hells chance of being accepted by the other 26 countries of the European Union. What Lord Lawson leaves unspoken is what happens when inevitably the EU rejects his idea. If the changes he calls for are not made, then Britain must reserve the right to leave the moribund European Union and strike out as a free-trading good neighbour of the European Union.” – the Guardian

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Friday News Review

29/07/2011, 06:24:12 AM

“A new low”

The News of the World hacked a phone belonging to Sarah Payne’s mother – which was given to her by then editor Rebekah Brooks, it was claimed yesterday. Scotland Yard have told Sara – mother of the eight-year-old schoolgirl murdered by Roy Whiting – that the mobile may have been targeted by the newspaper. They said they had found evidence suggesting she was hacked by News of the World ­investigator Glenn Mulcaire. Friends of Sara Payne said that she is “absolutely ­devastated and deeply ­disappointed” at the news. The newspaper – and particularly Rebekah Brooks – had championed Sara’s campaign for Sarah’s Law. Sara even wrote a column for the paper’s final edition, calling their staff “my good and trusted friends”. Labour MP Tom Watson said: “This is a new low. The last edition of the News of the World made great play of the paper’s ­relationship with the Payne family. Brooks talked about it at the committee inquiry. Now this. I have nothing but contempt for the people that did this.” –  Daily Mirror

I want you back

Labour MP Tom Watson said he would also call for ex-News of the World editor Colin Myler and the paper’s ex-legal manager Tom Crone to answer questions. Mr Murdoch told MPs he had not been “aware” of an email suggesting hacking went wider than a “rogue” NoW reporter. Mr Myler and Mr Crone have both disputed this. Mr Murdoch later said he “stands by his testimony” to the committee. Mr Watson told BBC Two’s Newsnight programme he would make the recall requests to the committee on Friday “so that we can get to the bottom of this, find the facts and Parliament can then move on and let the police do their inquiry”. The committee is due to hold an internal meeting, which will be closed to the public, on Friday morning. – BBC News

Lord Leveson sets out inquiry plans

The man appointed to lead the judicial inquiry into phone hacking and press standards last night warned newspapers not to “close ranks” but help him expose the “depth” of journalistic malpractice. In his first public comments since being appointed, Lord Justice Leveson said he intended to call “waves” of witnesses including journalists, politicians and policemen starting in autumn. He also warned that the expansion of the terms of reference of his inquiry had been so broadened that he might not be able to complete the first part of the inquiry within the planned timescale of a year. Lord Justice Leveson met for the first time formally with the other members of his inquiry panel yesterday and read a statement outlining the procedures and time-scale for the first section of the inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. The second section of the inquiry will look at the specific phone-hacking allegations that arose in the wake of the scandal at the News of the World but will only begin once police investigations have been completed. A series of seminars will be held in October looking at law, media ethics and the practice and pressures of investigative journalism for broadsheet and tabloid newspapers. – the Independent

“Die or go private”

NHS managers are deliberately delaying operations in the hope patients will either die or go private in a ‘callous’ attempt to save money, it was claimed yesterday.  Health service trusts are ‘likely to impose greater pain and inconvenience’ by making those in need of care wait longer than necessary for surgery, an official report found. By making patients wait sometimes for as long as four months, it is hoped they will remove themselves from lists ‘either by dying or by paying for their own treatment’.  The claims are outlined in a report by the Co-operation and Competition Panel (CCP), an independent watchdog that advises the NHS.  With NHS bosses having to make £20billion of savings by 2014, the organisation discovered damning evidence that managers are imposing minimum waiting times and ‘excessively constraining’ patients’ rights to choose where to have routine operations, such as hip replacements. – Daily Mail

Shapps in housing U-turn

The government has revised instructions to the social housing regulator to explicitly state that flexible tenancies should normally last a minimum of five years. Under an updated draft direction on tenure social landlords will be required to set out any circumstances in which they will offer tenancies of less than five years in their tenancy policies. The previous version of the draft direction stated that two-year tenancies, which are the shortest that will be permitted under the Localism Bill, should only be used in exceptional circumstances. It did not state what these circumstances would be, or that five-years would otherwise be the minimum. Before the directions to the regulator were published housing minister Grant Shapps had told MPs that five years would be the norm. The omission of this statement from the draft directions when they were first published in July prompted Labour MP Nick Raynsford to accuse him of ‘a disgraceful breach of his own promise’ and call for him to explain his actions to parliament. – Inside Housing

An Autum of discontent?

Leaders of teachers, nurses, civil servants, firefighters and other public sector workers claimed they were being “frogmarched” into co-ordinated strike action after the Treasury took the surprise step of setting out in detail how much individuals will have to pay in contributions to their pension schemes from next April. The overall cost of £1.2bn is broadly as expected, but senior union sources said “we had no warning of this co-ordinated announcement for each scheme, or that it would be leaked to the Telegraph and the Sun laced with the usual rhetoric about ‘gold-plated pensions‘.” Union leaders said they were convinced some ministers, including Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude and health secretary Andrew Lansley, remain committed to a negotiated settlement before the new regime is introduced next April, but they questioned whether Treasury ministers were only interested in cash savings. Unison leader Dave Prentis accused Alexander of “crude and naive tactics”, urging ministers to “stop treating these talks like some kind of playground game”. – the Guardian

Tories outspend Labour

The Conservative Party spent £15 million more than Labour last year, according to official figures. The Tories spent £49,205,000 during 2010, including on the general election campaign, while Labour spent £33,840,000, the Electoral Commission said. As the independent party funding watchdog published the financial accounts of the main political parties, the British National Party (BNP) and Christian Party were warned they could face substantial fines for failing to submit their accounts on time. The figures show that the Conservative Party received income of £43,143,000, suffering an overall loss over 2010, while Labour received £36,270,000. And the Liberal Democrats spent £9,973,077 over the year, with an income of £9,637,354. – Huffington Post

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Tom Watson is readers’ hackgate hero

25/07/2011, 08:00:54 AM

In a close fought contest, Tom Watson has emerged as the Uncut readers’ hackgate hero.  His intervention on David Cameron during the Parliamentary statement was the public’s choice for goal of the month with 26% of the vote, 4% ahead of his other entry, the questioning of Rupert Murdoch at the Select Committee which secured 22%.

Ed Miliband’s pivotal PMQ performance from the start of July was joint third with Dennis Skinner on 20% of the vote, followed by Steve Coogan on 12%.

In voting throughout Friday, Ed Miliband built up a solid lead over the chasing pack, but was overhauled on Saturday by Watson’s two entries. Despite a late rally on Sunday, Miliband was not able to catch Watson.

The vote reflects the pivotal role Tom Watson has played in doggedly pursuing this issue for the past few years as well as the quality of his contributions in the Parliamentary statement and the Select Committee hearing.

As the scandal has unfolded, the twittersphere has been abuzz with who would play the central characters in the inevitable movie. This being a British scandal, the casting choices are somewhat different to the Redford and Hoffman partnership in All The President’s Men.

Currently the hot favourite to pick up the plum part of Tom Watson is Nick Frost.

They’ve been tweeting and agreeing though who Simon Pegg will play remains unclear. But given the nature of a scandal which continues to grow and grow, there are bound to be some new casting opportunities that emerge in the coming days.

Chief amongst these will potentially be the role of George Osborne. Studiously silent throughout proceedings so far, he has all the makings of a villain who emerges in the third reel as the puppet master, pulling the strings. (more…)

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The week Uncut

23/07/2011, 10:00:51 AM

In case you missed them, these were the best read pieces on Uncut in the last seven days:

Michael Dugher takes us behind the scenes of PMQs prep

Dan Hodges Commons sketch: Cameron’s escape

Tom Harris stands up for the off the record whisperers and backroom briefings

Kevin Meagher says Cameron is on the ropes, but he’ll last the distance

Matt Cavanagh reports on Cameron’s broken policing promises

Peter Watt offers a very personal account of the need for a work/life balance

Atul Hatwal asks you to pick your hacking heroes

…and a letter from Tom Watson to David Cameron from last year over Mr Coulson

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