Tag Archives: nick Clegg

A Tweet of Contempt

When the analysts sit down to work out the secret behind the so-called rise of UKIP or the reason why turnouts at elections continue to tumble they need to look no further than Chris Skidmore MP for their answer.

Now it may be that Chris Skidmore, MP for Kingswood since 2010, is a splendid constituency MP and all round good egg. It is not really Mr Skidmore that is the problem it is the Tweet that he, or someone on his behalf, posted last night.

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If you cannot make out what it says, he Tweeted “South Glos Euro results – Lab pushed into distant 3rd: Con 20,043, UKIP 24847, Lab 11827, LD 8162, G 5811”.

This is an example of exactly the sort of cheap political point scoring that is turning off the entire nation from taking part in the democratic process. It is also the sort of transparent spin that causes every one of us to mistrust our political figures.

This Tweet, however, goes to the heart of the problem in just 140 characters. Mr Skidmore sought to deflect attention away from the Conservative Party’s defeat by focussing on Labour’s position. As I say, a bit of a cheap political point. A cheap political point clothed in contempt for the electorate.

We can all see that the Conservatives came second. We do not notice that any less because Labour also lost. The fact is that UKIP won. However look at the little things the Tweet contains. The Conservative tally is the only one that contains a comma. The number just looks a little bigger that way. It may be a mistake, it may be the result of the limit of characters on Twitter but a remarkable coincidence that it only appears in the number of votes cast for his party.

And then there is the order of the parties. You will note that Labour is listed third, their position in the election. The Lib Dems and Greens are correctly in fourth and fifth place. It is only the Conservatives and UKIP that have been transposed. UKIP won, yet appear in second place (with their comma-free number). The results are not listed in correct numerical order or alphabetical order. Just in an order that may lead the casual observer to think the Tories won.

This is political spin that says “the voter is so stupid they may just fall for this”. It is not just deflection, it is a cheap shot at deception. A deception that is predicated on the basis that we, the humble proletariat, cannot count, cannot read and cannot think.

This Tweet says everything which is rendering the nation more likely to vote for a dancing dog or the new lead in an Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical than we are to vote for those who will make the big decisions. It is the 140 character representation of every politician who answers for their own failings by pointing out the failings of their opponents. It is every bent statistic traipsed out by a Minister to justify another cut.

We are sick of it. Sick of the meaningless utterances. Sick of the point scoring. Sick of the avoidance of responsibility. Sick of the falsehoods. Sick of being treated with such utter contempt.

I would never vote for a politician who so clearly thinks the citizens that they wish to represent are stupid enough to fall for such cheap tricks. Sadly no politician recognises this. Not Tory, Lib Dem, Labour or UKIP. From ministers making profit from policy, to broken promises to cling to power, to members of the opposition failing to oppose, to casual racism excused by exhaustion the political class believe they can act with impunity because we will not notice.

Well, we notice alright. That is why less than 40% of us turned out to pop an X in a box. It is so often said that people fought to give me and you the right to vote. Those same people fought so we would have leaders better than this. If Milliband, Cameron and Clegg want to know what they have to do to fight off Farage all they have to do is stop treating us like idiots and start earning our vote.

Perhaps we can just start with Mr Skidmore. And a Tweet that says “we lost, we will try to do better by you.”

A Second Letter to Lord McNally

Dear Tom,

I hope that I can call you Tom at this stage in our correspondence. Albeit I am still awaiting a response to my friend request on Facebook, I am sure this speaks more of how busy you are at the moment rather than existing as any commentary on the depth of our bond.

And busy you have been. The Lord Chancellor and you have developed a cunning strategy. He is an elected representative. He cannot continue his zealotry of Legal Aid reform unless he is in power. You are a life peer. You do not rely upon a mandate from the people to change society. If you are left to do front of house then, in the unlikely event this all goes wrong, Chris reduces his risk of losing his seat in the House because his name is indelibly linked to a failed policy as you are the public face for this reform. And it is no risk for you as you do not have to rely upon the mendacity of the electorate. Genius.

So when this has to be discussed in public you are the perfect man for the job. You are Chris Grayling’s bullet proof vest. Ready to take one for the team. You are the Kevin Costner to his Whitney Houston (without the romantic interest).

So let us talk about your week. The Bar Council invited someone from the Ministry to Legal Aid Question Time. It made perfect sense for you to go rather than Chris expose himself again. It was right that you should make it clear that you did not regret the hysterical comment. I mean the legal profession keep referring to the Magna Carta. The Magna-freaking-Carta. It’s not like that is even a real law. When King John signed the Magna Carta declaring “To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice” you, as a similarly unelected embodiment of the state, are free to ignore that. The legal profession and the judiciary referring to the Magna Carta is properly to be dismissed as histrionics. That is so different from Legal Aid. Did King John establish Legal Aid? No! So those pesky Judges should just let it lie.

If King John was around I’m sure he would have something to say about that cad Grieve. Something like “off with his head!”. He was being a very clever lawyer with the way he worded his letter to Treachery Counsel. He doesn’t “own” the policy on Legal Aid, the Lord Chancellor does. He may not own the policy but it was pretty clear to me that he was disowning it. What does he know? A fine example of what happens when you let lawyers meddle in areas like justice. Time to have a non-lawyer as Attorney-General. Can I suggest Eddie?

Now I know that when you were elected Leader of the LibDems in the Lords you said you wanted to be “the voice of conscience and reform on issues such as civil liberties, human rights, changes in the legal system and access to justice” but you should have told Nick Clegg you didn’t bloody mean it. What’s all this about it being perverse to not allow defendants to choose their own solicitor? Has nobody told Clegg about 20 year career criminals? It sounds like Clegg thinks they may, on occasion, be innocent. Time for a word with the Deputy Prime Minister. Remind him you did for Kennedy. That’ll keep him in line.

You need to make the likes of Grieve and Clegg realise where you are going with all of this. I recall you saying of Abu Qatada “The fact is, in my mind, if the Human Rights Act occasionally comes in favour of somebody who is not very likeable in terms of what they have done or who they are… that to me is a reassurance, that if even he is given the protection of our law and Human Rights Act then all the more the rest of us are going to be protected by it as well…..The law is there to protect us all and sometimes it protects those least worthy of its protection, but the fact its protection is there is part of what makes us a civilised society.” That demonstrates that you do indeed have a conscience. And you are right when you say that protecting those who we may dislike is the hallmark of a civilised society. And this is where your policy is so clever. We can have all the safeguards that show us to be a civilised society but then make sure no one can afford access to the courts so the Government are inconvenienced by hysterical lawyers. Foreigner we want to deport? Fails the residency test. Prisoner wants to review penal policy? Denied Legal Aid. Career burglar? Provided with lawyers no better than adequate and get them to plead without the rigmarole of a trial. Saving face whilst saving money. This policy is just brilliant. I can see you now at the party conference “Strong on Justice, tough on the causes of Justice.”

They should give you a Knighthood….

Yours admiringly,

The Gardener.

Read the first letter to my mate Tom here.