22 Jul 2009

End of term and more

Bye Bye to my member, and a word to Chris, Joe10 and Ken on yesterday’s class war blog.

That’s it, they’ve gone! Eighty two days now before we see another MP in the House of Commons chamber on October 12th. And in what a parlous state they seem to be leaving British politics.

Tomorrow, The people of Norwich North go to the polls to elect a new MP to replace Dr Ian Gibson – rather a good MP over time, in my experience, but undone by the crazy expenses deal most MPs allowed themselves to get involved in.

Curiously, I sense that MPs DO know in how much trouble they are in, but think it will all go away if they go away for a bit longer than usual (seven days longer holiday than last year). I think they are wrong.

Most people that I have talked to who have been out on the ground in Norwich North detect serious ‘MP fatigue’. They predict a very low turn out which will leave the Tories winning by default.

None of this is good for politics, none of it is good for confidence in fixing the huge problems with which our country is beset.

I’m very taken with the reactions and comments to my blog yesterday about class. There is real frustration out there. Most of us try not to think what life is like on a sink estate in Middlesborough or Scunthorpe, Glasgow or Bermondsey. But there is a very deprived life out there for which even the Hope Obama espouses means all but nothing.

The disconnect to the bonuses and corporate theft that has burdened these same people with the prospect of losing the poorly paid job they had is vast and potentially dangerous.

Beautifully exemplified by the newspaper editor Ken who, responding to my last blog talks of the suffering of the Chippy in his town…subjected to terrible abuse and the rest…there is an ugliness in out interrelating that we ignore at our peril.

On the other hand the businessman Chris, responding to the same blog speaks upliftingly of what he is achieving in spite of our class divisions.

Finally a word to Joe10 who asks what I may have said to Nick Clegg the Lib Dem leader as we were chatting at the end of last night’s programme…was it he asks, “See you in the Fog and Duckett.” Well, no Joe10 it was more, “What an utter shambles MPs are leaving behind them at Westminster!”

Tweets by @jonsnowC4

10 reader comments

  1. Meg Howarth says:

    Jon, let’s hear a word for the Greens in Norwich North (I’m not a member of the party). The Tories may by no means have the result in the bag, while a Green victory would produce the first such MP in parliament. That would shake up domestic politics–and the absurdly long summer ‘recess’. (It might even put an urgently needed land-value tax on the agenda. Such a move would be a giant step towards lessening the dangerous and growing inequality about which you blogged (excellently) yesterday. Note to Faisal Islam: any chance of a blog on land-value tax over the recess, then we can start to press our MPs on the matter on their return?)

    Re Ian Gibson: he was one of few MPs who helped successfully challenge that part of the Mental Health Bill (now law) which would effectively have allowed for the indefinite preventive detention of anyone considered capable, by two independent psychiatrists, of violence in the future–which could, of course, be any of us. Another example of rushing to make bad law on the swell of head-line news. Thanks to Ian Gibson, other MPs who challenged this ignorance of human behaviour, and several unelected lords, this ludicrous part of the bill was thrown out. Mention must be made here of the magnificent role of Molly Meacher.

  2. andrew brown says:

    I thought last nights report on Alan Milburns missive on class / education and privalege was pathetically one sided.
    I regard myself as perhaps from a privaleged background, although I never went to private school or sent my kids to one. To suggest that private education is responsible for society’s ills is ridiculous. The government have put billions into education, weve still got kids leaving primary school who cant read and write. We need more people to take an interest in their kids future and spend less time expecting the government to wet nurse us. Come on channel 4 I watch every night and have never been motivated to respond to anything b4. But this really takes the biscuit.

  3. digitalvirtue says:

    embezzling MPs, three-day power outages in London…Britain is fast approaching third-world status!

  4. Anthony Martin says:

    We’ll be back on the case as soon as they return but, we want more answers,(Tony Blairs expenses & acountability) transparency and heads rolling.
    Britain has had the thick veil that’s covered up the rot of corruption, greed, dominance, spin, lies, greedy fat-cat culture, elite boys club favouritism, wealthy serving &, the evil scum that have been the root & branch of politics, capitalism and, caused great hatreds & inequality in this country. A Dickensian nightmare Britain.

  5. Saltaire Sam says:

    Come, come, Jon. You are being unkind. Now that the expenses are being watched and reduced – they are being reduced, aren’t they? – poor old MPs will have to clean out their own moats and build their own duck houses. They need all that time off.

    I think they are being very brave. How long before the electorate decide that if we can do without them for three months in the summer and long holidays at Christmas and Easter, we don’t actually need them at all?

    All that money saved – we could probably bail out a couple more banks or restore Fred’s pension to its full, much deserved obesity.

    1. phil dicks says:

      Sam – at last, a voice for common sense.We seem to want our fat cats to waste away!

  6. Ken says:

    All I will say is: When governments fear people, you have democracy, when people fear government .. well. It appears to me that it’s rare in this country to have people willingly challenge authority, unless they accuse the local authority of bungling their homeless or benefits application, despite selling their homes and making themselves homeless to begin with.
    But we (journalists), however elitist we are being accused of by a Labour has-been, must still defend them, because it’s right. And, incidentally, the average elitist journalist in a local newspaper earns much less than broadcast journalists – my staff have been at the paper for 20 years and they earn less than £18,000.
    Comfort the afflicated and afflict the comfortable. That’s my motto.
    Roll on the election

  7. phil dicks says:

    Let’s hope the police don’t fall asleep during the recess; we’re still waiting for those prosecutions for fraud.

  8. Steve Willis says:

    Mmm? I do think politicians will see this as another 82 days during which the public memory and outrage will dim – I’m not convinced anything has really changed to clean up Parliament or the wider Establishment (QUANGO’s, Honours, Banking).

    I’ll also predict in the run up to the General Election the tax affairs of the Shadow Cabinet will come under greater scrutiny – how does any party leader respond to a simple question: Can you give an unqualified assurance all members of your team have paid full UK taxation, without avoidance, for all years?

    Such questions may muddy the water and cloud perspectives, but will require a fully evidenced answer.

  9. Dennis Junior says:

    That is good news, for the end of the term….Return soon MPS…

    =Dennis Junior=

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