Wednesday, 17 February 2010

the barely literate Geordie loser

that is former Cllr John Howarth (prop. Public Impact Ltd, remember "Your better off with Labour"?) has decided to write something on his website about the "reality TV" programme "Tower Block of Commons", which I have not seen. You can read it here. He shows predictable misogyny in saying that the girl is not up to being on TV (he means Nadine Dorries MP), but we knew that about him. What is gratifying though is that Mr Howarth appears to have developed a sense of humour and a strain of self-mockery, which is welcome. He knows he cannot write in English (so why does he keep trying to do it then?), but he has put in some deliberate errors, such as spelling "deprivation" "depravation", spelling the surname of Tim Loughton MP "Laughton" as if he was Charles, and, marvellously, referring to "cheep heroine". Splendid stuff. Where he lets himself down though is in the sneering tone in which he refers to the working-class people who actually live in the tower blocks concerned all the time. We hear this tone a lot from Guardian-reading Labour and it is a matter of sadness to me that we do. A little light fisking for the last couple of paragraphs:

But what on earth was Labour thinking? what gave you the idea that the MPs who participated in this programme did so at the behest of the party or the whips? bizarre notion. self-aggrandisement is why they did it.Austin Mitchell was clearly not up to it. There were several MPs who could have carried it off and been a credit to their party. so this is how parties get votes these days, by sending people on to reality TV shows? I do not think so John, not even on the wilder fringes of the Reading GC.John Mann, the Bassetlaw MP, once lived in a council flat considerably more squalid than those featured so? quite a few MPs have lived in council flats in their time, does not qualify you to be a "credit to your party" on a reality TV show, Martin Salter in Reading West ah, the boyfriend! the one you wasted your political career in Reading trying to protect from himself, the one who was a director of your company and never declared it, the one you talk to naked every morning is a man who can manage without creature comforts how would anyone know that? he never has, he is a middle-class Jewish boy from Surrey and lives in leafy Tilehurst in some comfort, having previously claimed £40K for a non-existent London property and Don Valley’s Caroline Flint may have misjudged her exit from the Government, no she didn't, she was right but has definitely tolerated at least one Labour Party Young Socialists Summer Camp as part of a tiny minority of non-Trotskyites back before the expulsion of Militant so? - if you can survive torture a Tower block is a doddle. how patronising is that? Labour MPs forced to mingle with working-class people, we can't have THAT now can we?
I’m sure there are others equally capable. And this, I’m afraid, sums up Labour’s problem going into a close election, the political and media judgement of the party’s organisation has repeatedly been found wanting on the most basic of fronts. Be patient John, the call will come one day, they will come crawling to you and ask you to save them with your unrivalled media management skills. Just remember the triumph of the one-way IDR. I know the party leadership does. It is this that has let a Conservative Party that has still failed to date to convince the merge 40%+ needed for what passes as a mandate in this country hold a near winning lead. is this sentence in Albanian?
Despite the manifest failings of the politicians, there were moments that showed that there is still hope. When the 30 or so Dagenham tenants got together at Mark Oaten’s instigation to kick off a campaign to have their blocks demolished they gave short shrift to the BNP councillor who gate crashed their event. Omigod! Working-class people behaving decently and not in a racist way! Unheard of! Some of these oiks do not even read the Guardian! Have a care John, these proletarian johnnies are Not Like Us. You had to cheer. Huzzah! Jolly good show! Carry on, people of Dagenham, and we might just let you vote for us, don't you know!


Anonymous said...

Interesting to note that the working classes needed a disgraced Lib Dem MP to organise them and give voice to their concerns.

dazmando said...

I have been really enjoying this program. You post was very enjoyable. I am supprised at how badly the Labour MP is doing however. He doesnt seem like a man of the working class even though I remember him being a good Labour MP. Was I wrong?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Dazmando, you were wrong.

John Howarth's comments are ridiculous - except for the fact that he is quite right about Dorries - she is unspeakable and thoroughly patronising. Hard to tell her and Austin Mitchell's wife, one Linda McDougall, apart.

By far the one who comes across as a decent human being and a member of the human (as opposed to MP caricature) race is Timbo Loughton - who is just as I remember him and a credit to any party who is lucky enough to have him.
And no, Tim couldn't give a toss about any Whips. As he said 'Last time I was offered dope was at a Young Conservatives Wine and Cheese'. Exactly so.

Good man!

Anonymous said...

Frightening, the conditions that some British people have to live in.

And yes, Austin Mitchell came across as a waste of space. But then he is a Labour grandee.

Anonymous said...

Sorry - Mitchell is not a 'Labour Grandee' - he has been totally out of favour with the party great and good since the Kinnock days. He had one brief spell over twenty years ago as an Oppostion front bencher.

Austin Mitchel has cultivated a reputation for eccentricity for many years - he takes a camera to nearly every meeting he attends and takes photos, for example.These include internal House of Commons meetings.

He has, despite not having influence with Labour's high command, got loads of media contacts - he used to be a regional tv reporter and always gets called upon by papers to write a column or so about whatever controversial issue of the day. His wife, Linda McDougal made a bit of a killing after 1997 with several books on the new Labour women intake and tv spin-offs - and an unauthorised short biog of Cherie Blair.
So that is why Austin Mitchel keeps popping up - simple really.
In fact, much like Steve Pound whose dad, Pelham used to be a reporter on the Screws. Such people can always make a pretty penny by milking their in-built media contacts.
They belong ot the 'media MP' category - and it spans all parties....

Anonymous said...

Labour Grandee Austin Mitchell was the most useless of the four by a long chalk - strong on hand wringing, low on action.

Nadine was good on a 1-1 basis, Mark was a good group motivator, Tim was OK, and Austin was just Labour through and through.