Tuesday, 14 January 2014
Following the appearance of a picture of the delectable Martin Salter on Reading and District Labour Party's Facebook page, posing in rubber boots in an effort to seduce the voters of South-East England into supporting his brain bank John Howarth (prop. Public Impact Ltd, remember "Your Better Off With Labour"?) - I can't show it to you because that corrupt little clique have blocked me, can't imagine why - what could a granny in Strasbourg do to spoil their little games? - and coincidentally hearing a clip from The Westminster Hour on the BBC about what it is to be a Blairite (I am), I got to thinking. What I thought was, things are not always what they seem. Here is a letter sent by the then MP for Reading West to the government whips in 1999. Then it was that the whips were in the process of sending MPs' voting records to their local parties to aid them in the process of reselection - or not, as the case may be - for the 2001 election. Have a look at it. You will see that he is recorded as having been absent without authorisation on a number of occasions, and he seeks to have that record changed to record a series of deliberate (and of course principled) abstentions. In short, for the record of 10 unauthorised absences (for one of which he was fishing in India but pretended to have food poisoning later) to six deliberate abstentions. The whips complied. No skin off their nose. Note too that he highlights a bit of bullying he did on behalf of the government, hoping no doubt for preferment, which was not forthcoming.