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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sir Strangely Average M.P. And Baroness Train Hijack

Two parliamentarians whom I admire greatly are Gerald Kaufman and Betty Boothroyd.

Gerald is much like me - on the one hand a loyalist who has not once voted against Labour and rarely criticised government policy, but on the other hand a prospective member of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party. He was the originator of my favourite political aphorism, describing the 1983 Labour Manifesto as "the longest suicide note in history". In recent years the hush puppies of the "silent man of Westminster" have padded the carpets of the aye lobby for ID cards, foundation hospitals, student top-up fees and stronger anti-terrorism laws. He was a strong advocate of the Iraq war, bans on fox-hunting and smoking and gay rights. Gerald is about as average as they come. His majority of 5,808 is the median of those of his fellow MPs, he spoke in an average 23 debates last year, received an average number of comments on his speeches on, turned up for an average 77% of votes in the House and his contributions to parliamentary debate were comprehensible to an average 17–18 year old.

On the other hand... this is the same man who was famously described as "a self-hating Jew" by someone he himself described as "a lackey of the Board of Deputies of British Jews". The man who, as a panellist on "Have I Got News For You" accused the studio crowd of being "a rigged Tory audience, just like it was a rigged Tory electorate". The man famous for a life-long obsession with Judy Garland. The man who called Ariel Sharon a "war criminal" and a "fool", has been an active pro-Palestinian lobbyist and suggested in a BBC documentary that Israel might be ready to commit mass suicide by detonating an atomic bomb. And an active opponent of many of my own professional clients in the arms industry.

Still, I can forgive him everything after his endorsement of the little ginger chipmunk for DPM.

Watching Betty Boothroyd on Newsnight last night shows she should have been Prime Minister, not just Speaker. Then she would never have been elevated to the Lords and she would not be leading the campaign against a 100% elected upper chamber with speeches like the one she made on Monday: "My Lords... when the other place debated our future, they had what the Leader of the Commons described as a train crash. They rejected everything on offer, and the track was littered with debris. This time, the train has been hijacked. It was supposed to go to a halfway station called Hybrid, but it went on to a stop called One Hundred Per Cent, which was not the Government's..."

In which case, as someone who recently said "So I am in favour of a 100% elected Upper House starting now... no 'ifs', no 'buts'... no 'phasing out' of hereditaries or life peers... no Bishops or other faith group reps... no appointed 'experts'... no prime ministerial patronage", I'd look less of a pr*t by suggesting that she'd have made a great PM. Clever, eh? Still - at least one thing's for certain. She's a woman of principle who has never wavered in her beliefs and convictions over the 78 years of her lifetime.

"I yearn for a better, socialist future for people
like my parents, forced to live such narrow lives"

"West Bromwich faces a future of equal opportunity for all"

"You need the right portrait artist. I chose Jane Bond RP"


Ginger Rogers Fan Club said...

There you go again, with your snidey little comments about Judy Garland and supporting gay rights. While you're at it, which don't you mention the fact that he's a bachelor? The truth is that he's a crackpot, not a crackbot.

jamie goeswell said...

Isn't he married with wife and kids?

Luke Akehurst said...

What are you guys on about? I haven't made any "snidey comments" about his sexuality. It's his politics that I've got a problem with.

jamie goeswell said...

Since when is it snidey to mention his wife and kids? Are you saying he's not the marrying type?

Gerald Kaufperson said...

Me dear? Gay dear? No dear! Just because I know all the words to the entire output of Judy Garland, Liza and Cher doesn't mean I point Percy at the poofter's palace. Just because I had a season ticket to the London Apprentice on fetish nights and shared the favours of young men with the MP for Bottle, Merseyside, doesn't make me a homosexual. So how dare you, how very dare you!

Anyway, I can't be gay. I was always against the equality of gay rights, gays in the military etc when I was in office.