Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Labour Bullies

I see that Kezia Dugdale's partner (Jenny Gilruth) has accused Labour of 'bullying' over the threat to discipline its former Scottish party leader for daring to appear on the TV programme 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here'.

Now as I said the other day, thesis quite ridiculous especially as the party turned a blind eye to Gordon Brown doing his own thing after stepped down as Labour leader after losing the genera election in 2010.

In Gordon's case, 'doing his own thing' meant accepting a lucrative contract at the Abu Dhabi campus of New York University for 70 days a year which presumably did not include his travelling time. 

As I recall, there was not a murmur of protest from 'leftist' MPs such as Jeremy Corbyn or Dennis Skinner at the time, yet Kezia Dugdale's decision to take a month or so away from her day job at the Scottish Parliament is met with howls of angry criticism.



Kezia Dugdale's partner Jenny Gilruth accuses the Labour Party of 'bullying'

Kezia Dugdale's partner accuses the Labour Party of 'bullying'

KEZIA Dugdale's partner has accused the Labour Party of bullying the ex-leader over her decision to take part in 'I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!'

MSP Jenny Gilruth defended her girlfriend's stance amid threats to suspend Ms Dugdale from the party.

Last night she tweeted: "I see Scottish Labour have developed their own unique take on the final day of #Antibullyingweek. Huge props, comrades! #TeamKez.

Scottish Labour - Everyday Sexism

Twitter was quick to highlight the threat from Labour’s new Scottish leader, Richard Leonard, to consider suspending his predecessor Kezia Dugdale over her decision to appear on the 'I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here' programme.

Now I've never agreed with MPs or MSPs just swanning off for weeks on end doing exactly what they please, but if you ask me the Kezia Dugdale row smacks of sexism and doubt standards.

Because no one in the Labour Party took Gordon Brown to task when he took up a 70-day a year job as a visiting lecturer to the Abu Dhabi campus of New York University, after Gordon stood down as party leader.

So Richard Leonard's first act as leader seems likely to entrench the ugly, petty factionalism which has bedevilled Scottish Labour for years.


Where's Gordo? (27/09/17)

"Where's Gordon Brown?" I asked myself the other day because the part-time Labour MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seemed not be to at the Labour Party conference in Manchester after intervening in the independence referendum to promise Scotland 'home rule', federalism and more powers than you could shake a shitty stick at.  

At first I though Gordo might have flown to Abu Dhabi where he is reportedly contracted to spend 70 days a year at the Abu Dhabi campus of the New York University where he has a second job as a 'distinguished global leader in residence' (DGLIR). 

Now when I first heard Gordon's grand title, DGLIR, I thought that he must be have some personal image problems because why you you call yourself that or allow anyone else to give you such a ridiculous title?

Anyway that's another matter for another day, because soon afterwards I read a report that Gordon was at the United Nations in New York where he has a third job as a special envoy on educational matters, which also uses up a lot of his time in far flung places and foreign travel.

We are only eight months away from the next general election and the big question is will Gordon resign his Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath to concentrate on the non-parliamentary interests which take up so much of his time?

I don't know to be honest because he doesn't confide in me, but if he were to ask my advice I would tell him to step down and let someone else pick up the baton because MPs at Westminster are supposed to be full-time, not part-time representatives, of course.

 And if his name was Nadine Dorries rather than Gordon Brown the Labour Party at Westminster would be kicking up a great fuss.

Rampant Sexism (9 June 2014)

I doubt I would vote ever for Tory MP Nadine Dorries, but nonetheless I deplore the fact that she appears to be getting singled out for 'special treatment' - as a result of her high profile absence from the House of Commons.

According to the following report from the BBC, Nadine Dorries faces an inquiry from the Standards Commissioner following her participation in the television programme - I'm A Celebrity....Get Me Out of Here'.

Now the reasons for this inquiry have not been published, but I can't imagine the row is over the payment of a fee - because MPs of all parties in the House of Commons regularly receive fees for doing extra-parliamentary work - huge amounts of money in certain cases.

So the only grounds for complaint that I can see is not that an MP is being paid a fee - but that the MP is being paid their normal salary when they are clearly not in a position to carry out their normal duties - in other words they are getting to eat their cake while being allowed to take an extra slice home in a 'doggy bag'.

In which case there are other 'offenders' and far worse 'offenders' in the Westminster Parliament than Nadine Dorries - and it does seem rather odd, to say the least, that a bolshy woman MP is the only one to face a formal House of Commons inquiry. 

Nadine Dorries faces 'I'm A Celebrity fee' inquiry

Ms Dorries has said that when she receives a fee she will declare it according to Commons rules Continue reading the main story

Tory MP Nadine Dorries is facing a inquiry from the parliamentary commissioner for standards.

The probe is understood to concern her fee for her autumn appearance on ITV's I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here.

A spokesman for commissioner Kathryn Hudson said she had decided to pursue a complaint received earlier this week.

Ms Dorries, who recently suggested she had not yet received an appearance fee and would obey Commons rules if she did, said she was being "hounded".

The Conservative MP has yet to declare any fee from the reality TV show in the Commons register of members' interests.

In a recent appearance on the BBC's Sunday Politics programme, Ms Dorries said she had not "personally" benefited from going into the jungle.

She said she had a company and added: "When I benefit personally from that I will have to declare it to the register."

Companies House records show she became a director of a limited company called Averbrook in October last year, shortly before going onto the show.

In response to the complaint, Ms Dorries told BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins: "I'm a backbencher not a minister. My personal finances are my business and nobody else's and if I choose to take money from the company then I will declare it immediately to the standards commissioner."

Later, she took to Twitter to add: "If I haven't declared anything, it's because I haven't earnt anything. I must be the most hounded MP in parliament.

"Journalists, when the standards commissioner concludes the investigation and says there was no case to answer, will you give it prominent coverage?"

The Conservative Party suspended Ms Dorries following her TV appearance, but reinstated her last month.

Suspending Belief (28 November 2012)

I received a very helpful reply to my recent letter to IPSA (Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority) about the payment of MPs' salaries and expenses - while they're off swanning about in the Australian jungle somewhere.

See post dated 22 November 2012 - 'Money For Old Rope'.

The answer is that IPSA is only the administering body when it comes to the MPs' payroll - any decision or instruction to cease payments to an individual 'honourable' member - must come direct from the House of Commons.

In other words MPs just make up the rules to suit themselves - and MPs like 'Mad Nad' Dorries continue to be paid even while suspended - unless the House of Commons instructs otherwise.

Which I imagine would take a vote on the floor of the House of Commons - or a decision from the Speaker of the House that a member should be suspended without pay.

What puzzles me is how an MP can be suspended with pay - if they are clearly unable to do their job?

And in the case of Nadine Dorries that particular point was clearly unarguable - though we may now hear more now that the MP for Mid-Bedfordshire is back in the country.

I heard a Labour MP on the TV the other day gleefully sticking the boot into Nadine Dorries and the Conservative Party - over the 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here' debacle.

At one level I have no problem with heaping derision on this particular MP - but what I would like to know from the Peoples' Party is:

'How can Labour make fun of Nadine Dorries and the Tory Party while they turn a blind eye to Gordon Brown's absence abroad for 70 days a year - at the Abu Dhabi Campus of the New York University?'

Now that really is the politics of the madhouse - if you ask me. 

Rampant Sexism (12 November 2012)

Image result for Lion rampant

The Conservative MP for Mid-Befordshire - Nadine Dorries - swans off from the House of Commons for up to 30 days to take part in a celebrity TV programme - which is made in some remote part of Australia.

Result - she gets 'pelters' from all quarters and deservedly so - including from the Deputy Labour Leader - Harriet Harman - while standing in at Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs).

Ms Harman famous for her support of equalities issues even made a lame joke at Nadine's expense - something about the Tory MP having to deal with all kinds of snakes and toads - before she even arrived in the jungle.
So why is the row in the House of Commons so sexist?

Because lots of other MPs swan off when it suits them - including Harriet's Labour colleague and former Prime Minister - Gordon Brown.

Except Gordon is away from his day job for much more time than Nadine Dorries - 70 days a year (every year) in one job alone - at the New York University in Abu Dhabi, for example.

Yet no one says a word - or makes jokes at Prime Minister's Questions.

Maybe they'll start doing so now.

I certainly hope so because it would be a breath of fresh air - and thoroughly deserved.