If you’ve been locked away for the past couple of days, here’s the situation:
In case you’ve missed all the twists and turns that led up to a government u-turn and to Owen Paterson’s resignation as an MP, here’s 6 minutes on a busy 24 hours. Produced by Harriet Ridley and Jack Kilbride. https://t.co/RjbD8irHGN pic.twitter.com/m4ToqxvaOi
— Ros Atkins (@BBCRosAtkins) November 4, 2021
The primary result of Paterson’s fall is that there will be a by-election in North Shropshire.
Let’s hope there’s a decent anti-corruption socialist candidate to get behind in the upcoming Shropshire North Parliamentary by-election.
I don’t think for one minute that it will be provided by Starmer’s Labour Party.
— John Edwards (@JohnEdwards33) November 5, 2021
No indeed. It will be an opportunity for Keir Starmer to parachute his ex-Tory trophy John Bercow in (perhaps), but Bercow would not be an acceptable choice for the Labour Left, so such a decision may lead to a further split in that party.
Labour has refused to countenance the possibility of a single Opposition candidate, chosen from among all the non-Tory parties. Presumably Starmer sees no advantage for him, especially if such a candidate – from another party – wins and then reneges on any agreements.
So the Conservatives are likely to retain North Shropshire, even if they put up a shaved monkey for the seat (and they probably will) – because the other parties are squabbling among themselves.
Meanwhile, the Tories who are actually occupying Parliamentary seats have been disgracing themselves all over the place. Here’s Nadhim Zahawi, admitting that he didn’t bother to read the report on Owen Paterson’s behaviour before voting to support him last Wednesday (November 3).
Note his scrabbling attempt to backtrack with a claim that he didn’t take in every detail. It’s nonsense, of course; he didn’t read the report. He was told to support Paterson so he did, without thinking. That’s Fascist Britain for you.
— West Country Bylines (@WCountryBylines) November 5, 2021
Here’s a good question:
Why didn’t any of the interviewers ask Nadhim Zahawi when he realised what they did was wrong. Was it Wednesday evening just after he had voted in favour of corruption or Thursday morning when he read the newspapers.
— Pete @GOVE2.UK #FBPE#3.5% #FBPPR#GTTO#JOHNSONOUT (@HullfcPete) November 5, 2021
The fact is that Zahawi would not have been able to answer, as he would know that either position would be unsafe for him.
Still, his choice seems to have been less difficult than that faced by other Tory MPs who (presumably) were leaning against supporting Paterson.
We are told that they were threatened with sanctions if they didn’t vote the way Boris Johnson wanted:
Corruption. MPs are elected to serve their constituents not individual Tory MPs. Don’t we have bribery laws in this country? We need a total transformation of our political system & parties, and that includes @UKLabour. https://t.co/ycHZ9rtQNL
— James Foster (@JamesEFoster) November 4, 2021
So much for justice, honesty and decency in Boris Johnson’s Conservative government. Even if you’re on his side, you have to do what you’re told, without thinking, or face sanctions. There’s another fairly recent national government that did much the same but I can’t quite recall where it was…
To prove the point, Tory Angela Richardson was fire from her job as a secretary to Michael Gove, because she stuck to her principles and refused to support Paterson. The following morning, when it had become clear that the Tories would not be able to save him and their plan to corrupt the standards system had failed, she was reinstated:
— Teri 💙♿️🇵🇸🇮🇪 (@MettlesomeTeri) November 4, 2021
One would hope that her stand would put her in a much better position than her blindly line-toeing colleagues (including This Writer’s MP, Fay Jones. I’d like to know her reasons for supporting corruption!) in a general election. But in tribal England, that seems unlikely. Sad.
And what of Owen Paterson himself?
It'll be 'Sir' Owen Paterson in a month or two and then after Christmas Have I Got News for You. Followed by regular slots on paper reviews and Politics Live. And then various idiots tweeting: "he seems like a really nice bloke, he should be the PM.. "
— Jack Caramac 💙 (@JCaramac) November 5, 2021
Perhaps we should all lobby the production team of HIGNFY, never to invite a corrupt, disgraced former MP to guest on the show?
As for the knighthood, why stop there?
Boris Johnson’s spokesman repeatedly refuses to deny on the record that the prime minister offered Owen Paterson a peerage yesterday, or plans to give him one in the future.
— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) November 5, 2021
So it seems he’ll be heading for the House of Lords – which is already bursting at the seams with Tories after previous efforts by David Cameron and Boris Johnson to fill the place with people who don’t deserve to be there:
Why wouldn't they give Owen a peerage? Afterall, they gave one to John Woodcock, who was suspended from Labour after claims he sexually harrassed an employee, refused to co-operate with investigation, left Labour so the investigation was stopped, & then told people to vote Tory! https://t.co/MVz7ODWQYs
— Saul Staniforth (@SaulStaniforth) November 5, 2021
Crime really does pay in Boris Johnson’s Conservative government, doesn’t it?*
It seems the Tories will keep the Parliamentary seat that their corrupt MP just vacated, even though their conduct throughout the affair shows that none of them deserve to be in Parliament at all.
And Paterson himself is set up for a nice little peerage and more than £300 per day for turning up at the House of Lords.
*All right, what he did is not defined as a crime, otherwise he would be facing criminal charges. But it is certainly not acceptable behaviour, as this entire affair demonstrates.
**What an illiterate! I meant cui bono. After realising my mistake I decided to leave it in, mostly because I reckon more people might read the article, simply to correct my spelling! What a world we live in.
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