Sunday, 7 October 2012

a questionable assessment

A certain John Howarth (prop. Public Impact Ltd, remember "Your Better Off With Labour"?) has published, inter alia, what is below, on the subject of the role of his MP, and the man he worked so hard to elect, Rob Wilson (Con, Reading E).  Leaving aside the tiresome grammatical and punctuation errors we have come to expect from Mr Howarth, there are some stunning logical lacunae here, which I leave readers to spot for themselves, knowing that readers of this blog are a fairly clever bunch.  I just wonder aloud here if Mr Howarth has in fact asked his MP these questions, as he is entitled to do, and also whether Mr Howarth has any idea what a Parliamentary Private Secretary actually does, and what that person's role is.  I answer the second question by noting that Mr H's protege and stooge, Martin Salter, made a spectacular balls-up of that role when he briefly had it, and was sacked after five weeks in the job.

One individual who cannot escape serious questioning on this is Mr Hunt’s PPS, the Reading East MP, Rob Wilson, who happens also to be my MP. I should say I bear Mr Wilson and his family no personal malice, I just usually think he’s profoundly, politically mistaken, prone to vacuous exercises in ‘spin’ and has real questions to answer, namely: did he advise Mr Hunt or was he in fact consulted by the Secretary of State on this matter? If so what scientific evidence was he personally made aware of by Civil Servants and did he express a view to the Secretary of State? Was the whole thing his idea or did the Secretary of State come to him with the notion? Does he, or did he ever agree with his Secretary of State, given what he now knows of the view of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists? Parliament and Mr Wilson’s constituents have the right to ask these questions.
Mr Wilson’s role is a kind of advisor and assistant to Mr Hunt – a role he also held while Mr Hunt was Secretary of State for Culture and Sport, or to some in the media and opposition benches ‘Minister for Murdoch’, so it isn’t as if they have only just met in the month since the re-shuffle. In fact Rob Wilson reportedly rejected a move to the whip’s office to remain Mr Hunt’s Aide de Camp (Reading Chronicle, 5 September 2012). If his advice was not sought either on the substance or the tactics of the announcement how can he remain in his junior role with any degree of self-respect? And if his position is no longer tenable without sacrificing any personal credibility, how can he justify to himself supporting a Secretary of State who has so blatantly neglected his duty to seek and give due weight to appropriate scientific advice.

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