Saturday, July 01, 2006

Is it mendacity or Double think on the part of the Lib Dems?

I had an argument with some one who I presume was a Liberal Democrat, in which he said:

"So? I don't see the point. If the fact that Bob Neill isn't going to give up is considered a bad thing among voters, what does it matter whether Ben Abbotts would have given up his other jobs because he wanted to, or because the Lib Dem party says so? Doesn't it tell something of the parties Neill and Abbotts represent, that the other is allowing its MPs to have other jobs, the other isn't?"

I want to make it clear that you can support MP's having outside interests or you can oppose it, both are legitimate positions to adopt. People take different views on this, that is democracy.

However looking at the members interests register on theyworkforyou.com reveals that the Liberal Democrat front bench has people with outside interest.

There is Sir Menzies "two jobs" Campbell who also practices as a QC occasionally as well as being an MP and leader of the Liberal Democrats.


Then there is Nicholas "two jobs" Clegg who writes for the Guardian on a fortnightly basis. He is Liberal democrats spokesman on Home Affairs.
What of Nick "two jobs" Harvey who works as a "Communications strategies consultant". He is Liberal democrats spokesman on Defence.
We have Chris Huhne who writes as a freelance journalist for several news papers. (Spokesperson on environment.

On International Development we have Susan "Three Jobs" Kramer.

Jo "two jobs" Swinson covers Scottish affairs whilst writing a column for the "Evening Times".

Your chief of Staff, Norman "two and a half jobs" Lamb also does consultancy.

Colin Breed, a Treasury spokesmen also is a Lay Associate Member of General Medical Council.

Lynne "three jobs" Featherstone, a Home Affairs Spokes person is also a director of Lyonedge Properties Limited as well as being a local councilor for the London borough of Haringey.

Roger "two jobs" Williams is a farming spokesman.


Paul "four jobs" Rowan a spokesman on transport is also a director of Corinya (UG) Ltd still finding time however to be a councilor on Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council and being involved in IDEA consultancy work with other councils.

John "two jobs" Leech
(Transport), is also a councilor on Manchester City Council though he says he passes his money from that onto his constituency office.

David "Two jobs" Howarth DTI spokesman on energy is also a writer on legal topics.

Tim "two jobs Farron
, PPS to the party leader is also a Member of South Lakeland District Council.

So that is 14 members of the Liberal Democrat front bench who have other jobs. Personally I think there all fine. There was nothing there that seemed incompatible with their job as an MP.

However, if you want to take a principled stand on out side jobs for MP's, start with your own party and don't have the mendacity to attck us as if your party was holier than thou.

14 comments:

DC. said...

One has to laugh. Double Standards springs to mind. Good post.

Benedict White said...

If you look at my previous article, it takes my breath away that Liberal Democrats are not able to see that.

Valerie said...

None of this is comparable with Bob Neill wanting to continue on the GLA.

Councillors' meetings mostly take place in the evenings, whereas GLA meetings are during the day - i.e. there is a much more direct clash with parliamentary business.

Councillors' remuneration is about a fifth of what GLA members receive (a GLA salary is commensurate with a full-time job).

Neither John Leech nor Lynn Featherstone are councillors any more - and their period of overlap was a year, whereas Bob Neill wants to stay on at the GLA for two years.

Nick Clegg hasn't written for the Guardian for ages - he writes the odd article like other MPs, but he's not a regular columnist any more.

Valerie said...

I got that wrong, sorry - John Leech is still a councillor.

I actually don't agree with MPs remaining councillors - you should give us a hard time over it if it comes up in an election campaign.

Benedict White said...

Valerie, neither does Mark Senior, and as a position that is fine. However your party as a whole does not hold that view (obviously) and to campaign on it in the way that was done implies that your party has adopted a position which in fact it has not. It appears dishonest, say one thing here another there..

The idea that your people are only little sinners whereas Bob is a bigger one does not cut much ice with me.

If you claim others should be virtuous you must also be so your self.

Valerie said...

I don't think it's an issue for some sort of blanket party policy. Ultimately, it's the voters who decide whether they mind or not in each individual case.

As I said, it's our job to give you a hard time about things like this in an election campaign, it's your job to give us a hard time about it, and it's the voters' job to decide what they think.

Why have you used the word mendacity in the title? Did anyone actually lie about Bob Neill's jobs? (Although he lied on his application form). Has anyone lied about Lib Dem MPs' jobs?

Benedict White said...

Valerie said:
"I don't think it's an issue for some sort of blanket party policy. Ultimately, it's the voters who decide whether they mind or not in each individual case."

Which implies you will campaign on it when it suits your party. Saying one thing to one set of voters and something else to someone else even if it may be contradictory.

"As I said, it's our job to give you a hard time about things like this in an election campaign, it's your job to give us a hard time about it, and it's the voters' job to decide what they think."

No thanks, we have principles, and we are not about to make use issues for narrow electoral advantage which we do not believe in. What we may do is rebut the next assault of this type by pointing out the hypocrisy.

"Why have you used the word mendacity in the title? Did anyone actually lie about Bob Neill's jobs? (Although he lied on his application form). Has anyone lied about Lib Dem MPs' jobs?"

Perhaps you would have preferred hypocrisy or dishonesty? Either way I think it is fundamentally doublethink, so at least I have an answer to my question.

Russell said...

You might find this post of interest:

http://www.mayorwatch.org.uk/blog/2006/07/07/were-innaccurate-and-imbalanced-apparently/

It's especially relevant to the discussion.

Benedict White said...

Thabk you Russell, it is inetresting to see how Mr Tope has wriggled.

I have posted a link to this page there so that they can ask the 14 front benchers I list about the issue.

Martin Hoscik said...

Well we've not even had an answer back from our nameless MP responding to the fact that I'm a party member and activist so I don't imagine our prospects of getting answers on other issues are too high ;-)

Benedict White said...

Thank you for trying martin, but why not try to write to Lynne 3 jobs or perhaps Paul 4 jobs Rowan just so that you can say you did.

If they choose not to reply then at least we will know.

Mrs Maloprop said...

How can you have the mendacity???

Anonymous said...

The fundamental issue here is how much time Bob Neil would actually have to do his work as an MP.

Benedict White said...

Anonymous, Yes that is the fundamental issue, but I have heard so much sanctimonious claptrap from LD's saying how dare he have other jobs, and happy to campaign on it when in fact many on their front bench do the same.

I actually think it is less also about time, and more about how effective he is as well. Only time will tell.