Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Oft misquoted phrase by George Santayana (1863-1952), the Spanish born philosopher, essayist poet and novelist.

David Cameron badly misjudged yesterdays historic vote in the House of Commons. The split in his party over Europe evident for all to see. When 81 normally pretty loyal MPs defy your Three line Whip you are in deep trouble. This goes some way to explain Cameron’s attempt today, to put a brave face on it, he’s all over the media like a rash as I write.

Yesterdays unedifying spectacle was occasioned by a petition signed by over 100,000 people calling for a proper referendum on the issue of Europe, the backbench business committee had decided that the issue should be debated on Thursday, but had it brought forward to last night, Monday 24th October. This was done for narrow party advantage. The fact that it backfired, big style, just shows the extent of Cameron’s miscalculation and the real trouble he is now in.

Remember this was a ‘peoples petition debate’. Most of us might assume that this would mean that any vote taken was not to be whipped and turned into a party political issue but of course you would be wrong! Three line whips all round! All the three main parties, yesterday, conspired against the people in the most disgraceful of manners! Don’t our opinions count for anything? Shame on the Liberal, Tory and Labour front benches and hearty congratulations to all the rebels who defied their party machines and voted against their party leaderships disgraceful and fundamentally undemocratic position!

Back to where this post began, has Cameron not learnt anything about his own parties past? Not, apparently, on this occasion, over the European question. A test of wills from the start, he has misjudged the mood both of his own backbenchers and the Tory Party members in the country and has also failed to understand the mood of the people. We have had our belly full of distant greedy politicians who do not listen to us, or fight our corner for a change.

The economy is in the doldrums to say the least. Unemployment is growing disproportionately in the North. We are close to an international banking crisis. The whole of Europe is in crisis economically. Business failures are again becoming commonplace. Inflation way above comfortable levels and not set to slacken for quite some time according to Mervyn King the Bank of England Head. The outlook looks bleak for most ordinary people. Oh, and we are told, ‘there is no alternative’!

The picture painted above should be awfully familiar to anyone who studies the Thatcher years from an objective perspective! Why is Cameron so determined to repeat the same mistakes of the past? One thing is for sure, Cameron is no Maggie!

Tories problem for 2012 – time to wield the knife as well?

One of the complaints, often levelled by critics of this blog, is that we rarely feature anyone else other than Labour on Rotherham Politics. The simple fact is, we are about holding those in power to account and that would be enough to explain our apparent bias but there is another reason why we have paid the opposition scant attention in the past. They are quite simply, so bad, that even their own members are embarrassed!

This year sees four Tories facing selection/reselection battles of their own:

Anston and Woodsetts Ward: Good candidate required for safe Tory seat? last one walked off and joined Labour, so much for ‘cuddly’ Tories, it would seem?
Boston Castle Ward:
Brinsworth and Catcliffe Ward:
Dinnington Ward:
Hellaby Ward: John Turner  – Con
Holderness Ward:
Hoober Ward:
Keppel Ward:
Maltby Ward:
Rawmarsh Ward:
Rother Vale Ward:
Rotherham East Ward:
Rotherham West Ward:
Silverwood Ward:
Sitwell Ward: Middleton, Christopher Norman Con
Swinton Ward:
Valley Ward:
Wales Ward: Thomas Anthony Fenoughty – Con
Wath Ward:
Wickersley Ward: Martyn Lawton Parker – Con Ward set to go back to Lab.
Wingfield Ward:

Even worse than Labour! At least Labour members do something for their money, instead of ‘taking the money and running’, as the Tories have done for many a year!

Quite simply, the Rotherham Tories are a disgrace, and are taking the mickey out of their electorates even worse than Labour!

Pickles on bloggers from ConservativeHome

“New technology – particularly social media – means new opportunities to scrutinise councils; while the growing interest in citizen journalism and blogging means more people wanting to hold their council to account. It’s important that we keep pace with these new developments. So it’s disappointing that some council officers seem stuck in the analogue age: with some banning videoing, tweeting or live blogging.”

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. From ConservativeHome.

Open council meetings to bloggers, urges Eric Pickles

Expenses Scandal Latest News – Ex-Tory MEP told to repay staggering £345,289!

The news has surfaced today of more ‘unfinished business’ on the expenses scandal front. This time, Ex-Tory MEP and Ex-MP, Den Dover, no spring chicken at 72, has been ordered to repay the eye-watering sum of £345,289!

This is bad enough but the original repayment demanded of him was the much more considerable sum of £538,000! This sum has been reduced as a result of his appeal whose judgement has been revealed today.

Where there’s a trough, the greedy politicians will shove their greedy noses in it! Just think about it, it could have been worse, he could have had a parliamentary credit card as well!

Den Dover previously represented the North West of England in Brussels and was the former Tory MP for Chorley.

Breaking News! MacShane File Passed to Prosecutors?

Greedy Pig MacShane. Picture thanks to Guido

I can report to readers a breaking news story said to relate to Rotherham’s own greedy piggy of an MP, Denis MacShane.

After an investigation by the Metropolitan Police a file has been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for their consideration.

This is the ninth file passed to the CPS. Of the other eight, six have resulted in prosecutions still going through the Courts system and two were not proceeded with.

This will now be considered by the special team, set up last year to consider political expenses cases, by Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer and Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson.

Former Labour MPs David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine have been charged with theft by false accounting. earlier this year. David Chaytor now faces jail after he pleaded guilty to stealing more than £20,000 at the Old Bailey last Friday. He will be sentenced in the new year.

Former Tory Essex County Council leader Lord Hanningfield, also known as Paul White, faces six charges of making dishonest claims for allowances. former Tory peer Lord Taylor, full name John David Beckett Taylor, is to face six charges of false accounting.

Eric Illsley, the sitting former Labour MP for Barnsley Central, now sitting as an Independent (as is MacShane), is currently suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party and is awaiting trial and is accused of dishonestly claiming more than £20,000.

In March, Labour peer Lady Uddin was told she will not face prosecution over expenses for a flat in Kent which was apparently not occupied for long periods.

Lord Clarke of Hampstead is the second person to be told they will face no further action.

The small number of cases still under investigation by police are believed to include former Labour MP Margaret Moran, former Labour MP Harry Cohen and Labour Independent MP Denis MacShane.

Who says Christmas only comes once a year! Celebrate!

See also:

News from the Courts 1 – Greedy Pig, Chaytor Pleads Guilty! Aitken Moment?

Labour’s Greedy Pigs, David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine – Still Fighting Justice!

Supreme Court Judgement – David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine. No Parliamentary Privilege! Crown Court Looms!

Reading the Runes? or would that be Runiczny?

Democratic Outrage! Was there a ‘conspiracy of silence’ that concealed the full truth about ‘Dissembling’ Denis from the Voters of Rotherham?

Rotherham Hangs It’s Head in (Mac)Shame! Denis MacShane – Metropolitan Police Investigation! Suspended from Labour Party! More links of interest at end of this post.

News from the Courts 1 – Greedy Pig, Chaytor Pleads Guilty! Aitken Moment?

The Courts are a bit like buses, nothing for a while then several come along at once!

The surprise move by David Chaytor to suddenly change his plea to guilty has a historical precedent!

Jonathan Aitken was faced with the same dilemma when he realised that to proceed with his defence would put his daughter at risk of prosecution for a number of criminal offences.

David Chaytor has taken the same way out as Aitken and many others have done before him. The crimes of his daughter, ought not to be expunged by the  father avoiding cross-examination by pleading guilty at the last minute.

Investigations should be completed into his daughters role in this and she should be brought to justice too if she was up to no good!

What will happen next with the cases of Labour’s Greedy Pigs, Elliot Morley, Jim Devine, Eric Illsley and the Tory greedy pig, Lord Hanningfield has yet to be established as they are still wriggling and squealing! Or for that matter, the current police investigation into Denis MacShane and others or the ongoing parliamentary investigations yet to complete. Plenty more to come!

Denis MacShane – Independent Member For Rotherham – The Mike Britland Connection…..

I suppose getting the worst result for a Labour MP, against a self financed Independent at the May General Election, might even get through to Denis!

As I promised readers, that I would publish the Advertiser letters on this blog, I now do so.

On 14th May 2010 The Advertiser published the first two letters I draw your attention to. Mike Britland’s letter makes an attack on the person of Peter Thirlwall apparently authored by him as a member of Joe public!

The truth, I believe, is much more interesting than that! Read on below.

Peter Thirlwall has evidently ‘trodden on someone’s corns’!!!!

I also reproduce my letter of the same date, thanking our voters and promising to be back next year stronger and more able to take on the forces of inertia that prevent real change from happening.

Peter Thirlwall himself made a response in the next edition of the Advertiser on 21st May 2010.

Time to establish some facts:

Firstly, the results in question

General Election 2010
Rotherham Constituency
Party Votes % Share
Labour 16741 44.5
Tory 6279 16.9
Liberal 5994 15.9
UKIP 2220 5.9
BNP 3906 10.3
Rotherham Independent 2366 6.3

The breakdown for Independent local election candidates in MacShane’s Rotherham Constituency.

Rotherham Constituency Local Elections 2010
Rotherham Independent Candidates by Ward
Ward Votes % Share
Boston Castle 531 9.2
Brinsworth & Catcliffe 594 10.6
Keppel No candidate
Rotherham East No candidate
Rotherham West No candidate
Valley 828 16.8
Wingfield No candidate
Total 1953

Rotherham Independents, you will note above, fought only three Wards out of seven that make up the Rotherham Constituency. Is the ‘MacShane Camp’ seriously suggesting that Peter Thirlwall only received support from the Wards where we had local government candidates?

This part of his argument is at best, seriously flawed at worst, a deliberate attempt to misrepresent the facts?

Research indicates that Independents do much better in local government elections than in General Elections. Why is this? The publicity that Independents can attract at the local level can be considerable compared with the exposure during a General Election where all but mainstream candidates are drowned out by the television campaign.

It was thus across the country, where without a campaigning group to back them, they polled on average a rather meagre couple hundred votes, even Esther Rantzen did poorly. Many Independent Network, Parliamentary Candidates indeed did not get even a hundred votes.

MacShane had promised a similar outcome in Rotherham, but the ‘I will wipe the floor with Thirlwall’ did not materialise. Quite the contrary, in reality, once the electors voice was revealed for what it was, a lacklustre electoral performance by a sitting MP, with only44.4% vote share a meagre 16741 actual votes cast.

This is a disastrous result for MacShane however you put it, a total of 10,111 votes have gone AWOL since 1997! The BNP and UKIP votes were not suppressed! Nothing to boast about there then.

Neither was Peter Thirlwall ‘put to the sword’ metaphorically. Peter Thirlwall’s 2366 votes, a 6.3% vote share, was the truly remarkable outcome in a national context therefore! The best result for Independents in comparable circumstances, anywhere in the country! and he easily saved his deposit of £500!

Denis MacShane is a record breaker and now has the singular distinction, of getting the worst result for a sitting Labour MP against an Independent, in the whole country!

Little wonder his ego was damaged and bruised!

.

Mike Sylvester fought Wingfield as a full independent.
He is NOT a Rotherham Independent
Votes % Share
Wingfield 1467 29.2

Below is the aggregated ‘Independent’ votes including Mike Sylvester, who was not part of the Rotherham Independents but shown here to give the lie to the erroneous claims in the letter of 14th May. It should also be noted that the ‘MacShane Camp’ are not very good with calculations, 2 plus 2 making 5 perhaps?

Basis of claim in letter above.
Rotherham Independents 1953
Michael Sylvester 1467
Total 3420

I thought it would be interesting and would complete my analysis if I presented the local election votes for the Labour Party for comparison.

Rotherham Constituency Labour Vote
Cast at local elections May 2010
Boston Castle 2342
Brinsworth & Catcliffe 2610
Keppel 2077
Rotherham East 2199
Rotherham West 2403
Valley 2188
Wingfield 1948
Total 15767
MacShane’s Total 16741
Difference 974

Not sure what they really tell us apart from the fact that Denis received nearly a thousand more votes than the local government candidates did on the same day.

I now turn to the claimed author, Mike Britland.

Who is Mike Britland – The author of the letter of 14th May 2010?

Well, well! Mike Britland does not, after investigation, appear to be an ordinary member of the public, at all!

Certainly no unbiased commentator is Mike, but as I will demonstrate, he is revealed as a professional, Labour Party activist and member of the ‘MacShane Camp’!

The evidence:

Pretty conclusive is the fact that Mike Britland has registered Denis MacShane’s new website, http://www.denismacshane.org.uk, in his own name. View details here.

As is this from Denis’s website:

This site is using MelMel WordPress theme created by andrastudio. Promoted by Mike Britland on behalf of Denis MacShane MP,* hosted by one and one Internet Ltd”.

*My emphasis.

Finally for now, he shares the same home address as Labour councillor Barry Kaye, very much a Labour loyalist.

Mike Britland then, is not as presented to Advertiser readers. By omission, he misrepresented himself.

Did he also misrepresent himself as author?

Textual analysis would indicate that this letter was put together by more than one contributor and as we also now know that Mike Britland is a fully paid up member of the ‘MacShane Camp’, perhaps that is not surprising!

The pejorative construction placed on the use of words such as ‘charismatic’, ‘ego’ and ‘allowances’ and the general tone of the letter is deeply personal and may be the crucial clue as to why this was sent for publication.

Additionally, the author clearly harbours resentment at Peter Thirlwall’s high profile in the Advertiser!

The preoccupations that are being exercised here would appear more in tune with those known to be held by Denis MacShane than those of any third person? The spiteful nature clearly indicates that the ‘MacShane Camp’ was deeply upset by MacShane’s result and the magnificent 2366 votes Peter Thirlwall polled, very embarrassing!

I finish with this thought, I started with. It is worth repeating!

Getting the worst result for a Labour MP, against a self financed Independent at the May General Election, might even get through to Denis!

Good Day To Bury Bad News? Cameron Does U Turn on Personal Photographer!

Amongst the general hoopla of the announcement of a royal wedding and the engagement of William to Kate, number10 slipped out a statement that responsibility for paying his personal photographer, Andrew Parsons, and videographer Nicky Woodhouse, would return to the Tory Party from the public payroll.

Quite right, these appointments exposed hubris at the centre of government and trying to get the story of Cameron’s U-Turn out on this ‘good day to bury bad news’ as it was once infamously put, by a former labour press officer, exposes political cowardice as well!

Previous Story:

Hubris, Arrogance and Vanity, Cameron Appoints Personal Photographer!

Hubris, Arrogance and Vanity, Cameron Appoints Personal Photographer!

David Cameron, it has been announced, has appointed Andy Parsons as his personal photographer, at a cost of at least £35,000 per year. This is in addition to the appointment of Nicky Woodhouse, famous for ‘Webcameron’, again at a cost to us of at least £35,000!

Tony Blair even at the height of his hubris never thought to put a personal photographer and videographer on the public payroll at a total cost to us the tax payers of at least £100,000 once ‘on costs’ are added.

Parsons and Woodhouse are just two of at least a dozen former employees of the Tory Party to have been put on the Government Payroll since the election. Others include, Chloe Dalton, an adviser to William Hague in opposition, who is now a civil servant in the Foreign Office, Ameetpal Gill and Clare Foges, have civil service jobs in Downing Street, they were previously speechwriters to Cameron, Sam Freedman, has been made an adviser in the DfE and Rishi Saha, formerly, head of digital strategy for the Tories is now deputy director of digital communications at the Cabinet Office.

Forced to defend this at yesterdays PMQ’s his defence to R’Ed Milliband’s question “Is it really a wise judgment when he is telling everyone to tighten their belts to put his own personal photographer on the civil service payroll?” was pretty pathetic given that he must have prepared to be asked this question, he merely stated, pretty limply, that his government was slashing Labour’s spending on communications and publicity.

This kind of behaviour from a coalition Government, committed they claim, to the National interest does not look at all as though they understand why the public have so little confidence in politicians or the broken political system.

We deserve better than this! The government must stop this profligacy, Now!

And now the circus moves to Birmingham. It's time for those nice cuddly and rich, Tories!

As the Tory Party gathers in Birmingham for their conference, delegates are dismayed that their celebrations have been ordered ‘put on ice’, for fear that images of conspicuous consumption and celebration would become public and not look at all good in this age of austerity.

Mobile phones and Youtube, now terrify the Tories as much as Labour it would appear. The Labour Party were said to be terrified last weekend, when the ‘brothers’ were celebrating their victory over both members and MP’s, that footage would make it online.

Lord Strathclyde has already cancelled his latest, ‘legendary’ champagne soiree at this years conference, on Dave’s orders.