Political Blonde’s Independent piece on misogyny


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Joan Smith’s observational piece on misogyny from last weeks Independent, too thought provoking to miss. Readers might like to view the Apna Haq website click here. Click on image to read in full:

I did smell a rat!


Originally published as I smell a rat!, on March 16th 2011: Or even ‘lower than vermin’, apologies to Nye Bevan. I refer, of course, to Rotherham’s oleaginous and slippery Member of Parliament, Denis MacShane. Guido Fawkes reminded us yesterday that this … Continue reading

MacShane bites the hand that fed him?

Denis MacShane Rotherham’s oleaginous and very greedy Member of Parliament, cast adrift by Labour with the suspension of the whip last October, has announced that his phone was hacked and he would be issuing proceedings against one of his old employers! See ‘Tiser here.

Labour sources confirm that MacShane is most unlikely to remain a Labour MP and at some point a selection battle to replace MacShane, at a by-election perhaps, but certainly for the next General Election. The smart money seems to be being placed on a local rising star in Labours firmament, but a note of caution, Rotherham Constituency has been here before, last time the ‘local boy’ was Peter Thirlwall, remember what happened then?

The Rotherham Constituency Labour Party is in turmoil I hear, with many General Management Committee members in open revolt, no longer even prepared to speak to Denis and the one thing they all agree upon is that Denis must go. They are thoroughly fed up with the antics and plain greed of their MP and their embarrassment at Denis’s disgrace is manifest.

Denis MacShane is a past President of the National Union of Journalists and has form for abusing his influence abominably, no more so than when he threatens fellow Journos with NUJ discipline if they ask awkward questions along the lines regularly rehearsed in the excellent and informative MacShane Files. In short, as well as his many other failings, being a ‘low down bully’ can be added to the list of his calumnies.

The only person who thinks that he can survive this is Denis himself! He is about to discover that he is wrong! No one is above the party and he will be required to fall on his sword once the Met police and the CPS pull their fingers out, whether he likes it or not!

Is his legal battle to come with his former employers, just another attempt to milk the system for all he can get to go towards a comfortable retirement paid for up to now, largely by us, as is the ‘House in London’ from which he receives rental income, that we paid for along with his property just off Moorgate that he ripped us off for ‘office rent’, to the tune of £125,000 in five years! That exceeds the properties worth, even possibly today!

Only Denis would have thought it a good idea to remain in the House of Commons after last years General Elections. The exposure of Eric Illsley, almost as soon as the last vote was counted, did not bode well for Denis and by October he had himself been suspended from the Labour Whip. Unlike Jim Devine, who at least misused real invoices, Denis’s were considerably more amateur than that!

Why did he stay? Hubris and greed I should imagine. He could easily have left with his reputation intact and still made a living from writing. Another benefit for Denis would have been his long term relationship with Joan Smith, which might have survived if Joan had remained in blissful ignorance of Denis’s greed and deceptions. No one would have remained interested for long in the past claims of an ex MP and the scale of his greed would not have become public.

Denis’s brother, Edmund Matyjaszek the poet and School Headmaster must despair of his younger brother’s activities, as he rather forcibly included him as the provider of ‘research and translation services’ that never were!

Finally, I wonder whether they will let him out of prison to fight his civil case against News Group Newspapers? An amusing thought, I must say!

Accidental Anarchist

I smell a rat!

Or even ‘lower than vermin’, apologies to Nye Bevan. I refer, of course, to Rotherham’s oleaginous and slippery Member of Parliament, Denis MacShane. Guido Fawkes reminded us yesterday that this particular disgraced MP was ingratiating himself back on to the Labour benches where he seems to be increasingly tolerated by the new intake, at least! Don’t they ever wonder why he doesn’t attend parliamentary Labour Party meetings? They must be more stupid than they look!

What is known:

When the expenses scandal first broke MacShane had an article published in the Daily Telegraph on 12 May 2009, which made him appear to be Mr Clean himself. Headlined, ‘MPs’ expenses: The BNP must not prosper from this scandal’ he underplays the whole issue in a condescending manner, as usual, and raises the spectre of the BNP attacking him personally.The source of the complaint is irrelevant here! I smell a rat!

Incidentally, why was the only complaint selected for proper investigation, the complaint from a BNP activist when there were numerous other complaints making substantially the same point? Was this calculated to give him the best chance of at least a political defence? I smell a rat!

His then partner the feminist writer, Joan Smith, also rode to his defence and MPs generally, in her piece in the Guardian, Monday 25 May 2009 entitled I am sick of my country and this hysteria over MPs. People have been led to believe that we are governed by a corrupt political class. This is sanctimonious nonsense.” Rather unfortunately perhaps, she reproduced her piece on here own site, Political Blonde, on October 13th 2010. I hope she is not superstitious or regretting this now!

Before the General Election last May, Rotherham’s voters were assured that Denis MacShane ‘was cleared’ but had to make some minor repayments of errors and the matters of his expenses were closed. We now know different, there were further issues put off until after the election so as not to damage their prospects! An outrage in a democracy! I smell a rat!

On October 14th 2010, out of the blue, the world was informed that MacShane had been under investigation by the Parliamentary Authorities for unspecified problems with his expenses claims. Their own investigation was put in to suspension and the matter referred to the Metropolitan Police for them to investigate further, very serious then! No one told us that he was still being investigated, I smell a rat!

The Labour party moved with incredible speed removing the labour whip in short order. MacShane was well and truly in the eye of the storm and in some disgrace to boot. All media outlets from television to newspapers carried the story of MacShane’s disgrace and gave it prominence on their websites. It was later interesting to note the speed with which this story lost prominence and in some cases became absent altogether, MacShane is a former President of the NUJ – has he friends still in the BBC or in the press? We should be told! I smell a rat!

The various stories published since that usually name all the others involved and update the readers on the other expenses cases that are ongoing. There has been one name that always seems to be missing from these accounts, yes it’s MacShane! I smell a rat!

A particularly interesting example, was published in the Sunday Times of January 16th, 2011 under the headline on the front page, “Six MPs face new fraud allegations”, can’t give you a link as it is behind Rupert Murdoch’s paywall. This publication was preceded by an enigmatic posting on twitter the day before by MacShane. It read “S Times to run odd smear story tomorrow about anonymous MP who has published list of MPs who should be investigated by police. Pip pip!” The story asserts that the source for the story was ‘a male labour MP, representing a northern constituency and reportedly unhappy at being investigated by the ‘boys in blue’. A loathsome creature indeed, to try to justify his own difficulties with his explanations by involving others from all three main parties! This individual should be about as welcome in the House as a stray rat from Downing Street! Incidentally the story accounts for all the ongoing cases except Denis MacShane! Dominic Lawson in an op-ed piece deprecated the “type of man of the left for whom the essential and intrinsic virtuousness of his public positions allows him to retain his sense of personal rectitude even when his private conduct is deplorable.”

There was at least one apparent attempt at diversionary tactics, when a story in the Daily Mail pinned the blame on Eric Illsley. So upset was ‘Honest’ Eric, that he squashed this rumour at Southwark Crown Court when he appeared for sentencing, better to be known as a convicted felon, than to be thought of as a sneak who dobs in his mates!

During the recent lull in fresh information about the progress or otherwise of the police investigation Denis seems oblivious of his suspension of the labour whip or his personal disgrace and has carried on as if nothing has happened! He can frequently be observed skulking about on the labour benches to the point that even Hansard has become confused reporting him erroneously as Lab, when this is quite clearly wrong.

Denis MacShane can certainly be judged already as greedy and avaricious, the prospect that much worse than mere greed is involved is unresolved for now but even if prosecution is not the outcome, clearly MacShane is still in deep trouble with the Parliamentary Authorities once their investigation is restarted!

The people of Rotherham Town feel a sense of acute embarrassment and outrage. They are scandalised by what is already known about their MP! If they were given half a chance they would bodily eject him! Time to call an end to this sorry episode in Rotherham’s history, MacShane must go! NOW!

Reading the Runes? or would that be runiczny?

Twitter: Denis is an inveterate tweeter, normally averaging more than five tweets daily. Sometimes up to ten! Denis MacShane on twitter.

Astonishingly for Denis, he has suddenly stopped!

No posts at all since 11:11pm on the 18th, when there was one preceded by just a couple on the two previous days. It takes an awful lot to shut this arrogant politician up.

Perhaps he has now significantly altered his opinion of the police’s  intelligence and range of investigative tools at their disposal. Alternatively he may have been the beneficiary of some serious advice, of the ‘when you’re in a hole, at least stop digging’, variety. We shall see?

Stop Press: 23rd October 2010. It would appear that I might have at least one reader? Within hours of  making a point about lack of activity by Denis on Twitter, low and behold a sudden flurry of posts, well two actually.

Political Blonde: Joan Smith’s Website. Who is Joan Smith?  Denis MacShane’s partner!

On the 13th, hope she is not superstitious? republished a Guardian piece she had written, originally published on the Guardian website last year as; I am sick of my country and this hysteria over MPs, published 25th May 2009. Strange that she re-published her original defence of parliamentarians in general, and Denis in particular, the day after the Parliamentary Standards Committee met and made their decision and a day before their decision was made public on the 14th!

This has the potential to make her look rather foolish or naive at best, if the ‘boys in blue’ find differently?

Where the story of Denis’s liberal interpretation of the provisions of the ‘Green Book’ started, back in June, 2009.

Mail on Sunday story 20th June 2009. Former Labour Minister’s £8,000 cash for his poet brother’s ‘translation services’

I quote from the story:

‘On the 19th June 2009, when he was initially contacted by the Mail, Mr MacShane said: ‘It is no secret that I do more work for Europe than any other MP, and people connected with the institute help me with that. That is all I can really help you with.’ The line then went dead.

A couple of hours later, Mr MacShane, who served as Europe Minister between 2002 and 2005, sent a text message saying:

‘The EPI was set up 20 years ago by a network of people on the Left working in Europe and the US. It has organised conferences and published books and reports.

‘Ed is my brother, but simply administrates it. The claims refer to work in connection with my well-known Parliamentary activity on European and global politics. When I stopped being Europe Minister, I used the EPI to claim for research and translation* relating to my work as an MP on European politics.’ * My emphasis.

The Mail, clearly touched a raw nerve with MacShane when they asked about this little arrangement with his brother, Edmund Matyjazek.

When Denis MacShane makes a statement it usually requires careful textual analysis to determine exactly what it means.

This phrase from the text statement is instructive: ‘I used the EPI to claim for research and translation’.

What is he saying here? The use of the term ‘to claim’, not ‘to carry out’ is perhaps, more revelatory than he intended?

Gerald Shamash, of Labour Party solicitors, Steel & Shamash, has reportedly, been engaged by MacShane to help him. I myself have previous experience with this firm of solicitors and found them less than thorough about checking that ‘facts’ were actually true! I will probably tell the full story of this episode at a later date. It would be quite instructive! On their website they claim ‘Steel and Shamash, has established a fine reputation in criminal cases over many years. They claim to specialise in serious cases, such as fraud’. Gerald Shamash, himself, claims among his specialities; (Cases involving) Parliamentary rules relating to the conduct of Members of Parliament. Probably got the right solicitors then.

Edmund, Denis’s older brother, is unlikely to be at all happy that he is being dragged into a situation of considerable potential embarrassment, by his younger brother. Edmund is owner and proprietor of an Isle of Wight, private school as well as being it’s Headmaster. He is also poet and luminary of the Poetry Society. A lot to lose therefore.

I know from personal experience that younger brothers can end up causing a lot of pain, embarrassment and more than a little money, through their own stupid actions. Just when you least expect it!

Seen Elsewhere:

Neil Clark Blog on Denis