Wednesday, 16 September 2009
a land down under
while we are on the subject of Mr Salter, his recent Westminster Diary, which has just pinged into my inbox, is most illuminating on the subject of how he spent his summer. He went to Australia, he tells us, at his own expense, to see family and friends and meet some Australian politicans. How much time he spent with the politicians, or how much attention he was paying, is another matter however, as he managed to spell the name of the Australian Labor Party wrong. He informs us that he went to Australia at his own expense. When I went to Australia to see family and some politicians too, at my own expense, in 2001, I was criticised by this very Mr S for "junketing at the taxpayer's expense". Well, I did have dinner in Canberra with the then High Commissioner, former Tory MP Alistair Goodlad, and it was one of the dullest dinners I have ever been to, but I suppose the dinner did count as "taxpayer's expense" if you like. Oh and if you're planning a trip to Australia don't bother with Canberra. Mr Salter may well have visited former chair of Reading Labour Party Mike Price ("a weak man" - Mrs Salter), who was last heard of in Sydney, having fled the hounds of scandal who were snapping at his heels in Reading. Price it was who went to see the then General Secretary of the national Labour Party to say that Reading only wanted one Labour MP, not two. She sent him away. And told me about it. And I didn't tell the media. But that is not what the scandal was about. Oh no.