Tag Archives: Lord Tebbit

Poll for Today: Child sex allegations

Resigned: Baroness Butler-Sloss.

Resigned: Baroness Butler-Sloss.

Vox Political received a message yesterday (October 7) from a vociferous critic – especially of the Labour Party – as follows: “Do you have any comment on or condemnation of the child grooming and sexual expoitation gangs curently in operation in Labour-held Middlesbrough? If you can answer why it always seems to be Labour-held areas and councils, it would be much appreciated too.”

This blog receives many similar queries, and most are dismissed as attempts to use the suffering of young children in order to score political points.

That being said, it may be just as damaging to ignore such queries as it is to give them any credence, as people may then fall into an unjustified belief that the Labour Party tolerates paedophilia.

It seems far more likely to this observer that the Labour Party is showing honesty about what it is finding in parts of the country where it runs the local authorities. Vox Political‘s response to the question ran as follows:

“According to the BBC, many councils are now investigating whether their area has a problem. My first question would be, why aren’t they all doing it and which party holds the ones that aren’t?

“Second logical deduction is that Labour is being honest about what is happening in areas it holds. That’s actually good, because it’s a necessary step towards stopping it from happening.

“Third thought is to wonder whether the Tories will be covering up any wrongdoing in the areas they hold. We never found out what happened about Leon Brittan and the missing dossier, did we?

“Labour’s attitude seems far more productive here – get the issue out in the open and sort it out. The Conservative response – cover it up – seems far more likely to allow the problem to continue.”

Did we ever find out what happened to the dossier that was given to Leon Brittan when he was Home Secretary, back in the 1980s? Didn’t it include the names of several prominent – Conservative – cabinet ministers?

Lord Tebbit is on record as saying that the Conservative attitude has been not to “rock the boat”. This year, the current Home Secretary, Theresa May, appointed Baroness Butler-Sloss to head an inquiry into historical cases of child abuse – only for the lady she chose to resign under pressure from the social media that there was a clear conflict of interest. May’s latest choice, Fiona Woolf, is also facing ‘conflict of interest’ allegations over a connection with – surprise, surprise! – Leon Brittan. She said she would be “making a statement” but at the time of writing that has yet to see the light of day.

So it seems, to this observer, that a choice between the Labour approach and that of the Conservatives is a choice between on one hand, realising there is a problem and trying to do something about it, and on the other, denying that there is a problem and trying to hide any evidence in fear of where it might lead.

But what do you think? Here’s today’s poll:

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Meet the pain management nurse who is set to unseat Iain Duncan Smith

Kathryn Anderson

Kathryn Anderson

Gratitude is due to Andrew Sharp for notifying Vox Political of the one major omission in our story about the challenge to leading members of the Conservative – Liberal Democrat Coalition government by members of the National Health Action Party in next year’s general election.

Iain Duncan Smith will be challenged for his Chingford and Woodford Green constituency – not by a major media figure like, say, Rufus Hound, nor by a leading member of the NHA Party… but by a pain management nurse from North London.

Kathryn Anderson works at Hampstead’s Royal Free Hospital – but wants to make sure the people of Chingford and Woodford Green have a chance  to express their “disgust” at what she calls the work and pensions secretary’s “totally dismissive” attitude towards unwell, disabled or disadvantaged people who need assistance.

Who better to ram that point home than a nurse who spends every day working with people who suffer the chronic pain that is habitually dismissed as non-existent by the man this blog likes to call RTU (Returned To Unit – Army terminology for a failure)?

He might not say it himself but the work capability assessment his Department for Work and Pensions has forced on sick benefit claimants is nothing more than a crude essay in disability denial, written for him by an insurance company that earned a criminal conviction in the USA for using the very same formula to refuse claims on its policies.

“Just because this is considered a safe Tory seat doesn’t mean Iain Duncan Smith shouldn’t be challenged, and challenged fiercely,” the NHA Party candidate told the Chingford Guardian on Monday.

“As the deeply unpopular Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, he has shown just how incredibly cruel and vicious the Tory party can be, introducing the bedroom tax and making horrendous cuts to welfare and in the process, destroying lives. He has been far more interested in supporting the wealthy elite than supporting the vulnerable.

“It is also very clear that Iain Duncan Smith cares little for the NHS. The combination of his support for NHS cuts and privatisation, and his welfare reforms, are leading to an even greater reliance on healthcare support for those most in need.”

If Kathryn Anderson wins the seat, not only will the Monster of the Coalition Government be removed from Parliament, but a critical propaganda victory will be won – simply because she isn’t a political ‘Big Beast’.

She’s a nurse, from a London suburb.

Now, Labour is also fielding a candidate against RTU. Bilal Mahmood isn’t a ‘Big Beast’ either, but in the case of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, this is not an attempt to win a symbolic victory; rather it is a concession that a Labour victory in such a Tory heartland is nigh-on impossible. We should not dismiss Mr Mahmood’s abilities or intentions, but it is incumbent on all of us to admit that he has an uphill struggle ahead of him.

This is something the naysayers – who popped up after Monday’s article – failed to grasp when they claimed the rise of the National Health Action Party showed that Labour had become impotent: The chances of Labour winning in Chingford are tiny. The blue-rinsed brigade would rather chew off their own writing hands than get into bed with a Red.

The NHA Party offers an acceptable alternative. Its members are mainly doctors and other medical professionals who are deeply concerned that a major Conservative Party policy will bring nothing but harm to the nation as a whole – and habitual Conservative voters may sympathise wholeheartedly with that point of view.

Look at Lord Tebbit. He reckons he has been a lifelong user of the NHS and the only member of his family ever to have enjoyed privatised medicine is his dog!

As far as the good of the National Health Service is concerned, the aim of the 2015 General Election must be to remove the Conservative Party from office (and, in the main, from Parliament altogether) and then to remove the private sector asset-strippers from the publicly-funded system. That should come above all party political allegiances.

That is why Vox Political, which supports Labour, is happy to call on all those in Chingford and Woodford Green – and in all the other Tory-held constituencies where an NHA Party challenger has arisen – to support them in their campaigns. In particular, help them overcome media resistance.

Tory-supporting money owns most of the press, and this means dissenting voices that offer an alternative to the Conservatives are likely to gain only a fraction of the Tories’ column-inches or TV exposure. Social media and people power can change all that.

If you live in Chingford or Woodford Green and you want people to know there is a viable alternative to Iain Duncan Smith, then spread the word – not just once, but often, until the message gets through that they don’t have to be the quiescent sheep that Tory High Command wants them to be.

Use the social media. Use newspaper letters pages. Phone in to radio and TV political programmes. Cause a stir.

Of course, if NHA Party candidates unseat RTU, David Cameron and all the rest, it means Labour will be more likely to win the election anyway, so Yr Obdt Srvt will get the desired result. But some readers have expressed misgivings about Labour’s will to go through with the repeal of the Health and Social Care Act.

The presence of NHA Party members in the House of Commons will hold Labour to its word.

If you live in a Tory ‘stronghold’ constituency, this is your best chance to save the NHS.

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Butler-Sloss quits child abuse inquiry – under pressure from SOCIAL media?

Resigned: Baroness Butler-Sloss.

Resigned: Baroness Butler-Sloss.

Would anybody argue with the suggestion that the social media – including blogs like Vox Political – played the largest part in the removal of Baroness Butler-Sloss from the government’s inquiry into historical child sex abuse investigations?

Until yesterday, Lady Butler-Sloss was adamant that there was no reason she could not head up the inquiry, even though her past associations with people she might have to investigate included her own brother, the late Sir Michael Havers, who was attorney general in the 1980s.

It was the social media that found this information and revealed it to the general public – who then complained bitterly to the government.

Do we believe Lady Butler-Sloss where she tells us she “did not sufficiently consider” whether her family links would throw the inquiry into question? It seems extremely out-of-character for a former judge, who would never – for example – have allowed a trial jury to include a relative of the defendant, to claim that she could be impartial about matters involving her own family. It was a clear conflict of interest.

One point that has been glossed-over is the fact that this woman is nearly 81 years of age and from the same privileged background as many of the people she would be asked to investigate. Did she even have the necessary sensibilities – or even the ability to open her mind to current thinking – required to head up an investigation such as this?

Of course, Lady Butler-Sloss was appointed by the Home Secretary, Theresa May. She has been accused of failure to carry out “due diligence” – the necessary checks to discover if a candidate can be relied upon to be impartial – but has defiantly claimed that her choice was good.

“I do not regret the decision I made. I continue to believe that Elizabeth Butler-Sloss would have done an excellent job as chair of this inquiry,” she told the Home Affairs select committee. Really? Excellent by whose standards?

We know from Lord Tebbit that there was a ‘hush-hush’ culture in the Thatcher government of the 1980s. He said people thought the establishment “had to be protected”.

Then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – who herself spent a great deal of time with serial child abuser Jimmy Savile – is now seen to have turned ‘Nelson’s Eye’ towards such accusations – the same eye with which he was able to make the claim, “I see no ships”. The eyes of history are likely to take a dim view of such blindness.

And of course the attitude she held is likely to pervade government even now, 30 years later. Perhaps Theresa May wanted this inquiry – which she had resisted for a long time – to be headed by a person who could be trusted not to rock the boat. Perhaps she had been told to select such a person.

Now we must wait for an announcement on a new chairperson. This also plays into the hands of those with skeletons (or worse) in their closets as it creates a delay.

Not only that, but we must all remain vigilant against the possibility that May will appoint another dud. The BBC’s report makes it clear that the requirement for a candidate to have a legal background and the security clearance necessary to be able to read confidential papers means it is hard to find anyone who is suitably qualified and is not part of the establishment.

We still do not know where this will lead and who will be implicated. People like Theresa May and David Cameron will want to protect members of their own Old Guard from retrospective vilification (if Lord Tebbit’s words are to be trusted), and it seems likely they will do everything in their considerable power to fob us off.

It is our responsibility to make sure they don’t.

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With friends like these, this dog of a government has had its day

Exactly who does support David Cameron’s government these days?

He’s got Tory ‘grandees’ like Lord Tebbit calling it a “dog”; he’s got the 2010 intake of Tory MPs rebelling against him – presumably in the belief that they’ll have more chance of promotion through backstabbing than waiting for him to shuffle them into his ever-growing Cabinet; and he’s got Cabinet members who are themselves liabilities.

I suppose he should count himself lucky he’s got the support of all those corporate doners, pouring millions into Conservative Party funds in return for the billions of pounds worth of government or NHS contracts he’s been handing out to them (and the devil take the public, who won’t benefit at all).

The ‘youth revolt’ might be a serious threat to Cameron’s authority, but it is the attack from Tebbit that will be the most damaging. At a time when polling shows only one per cent of the population believes the Coalition is likely to be more competent than Labour, he made it perfectly clear that he thinks Cameron doesn’t know what he’s doing.

“This dog of a coalition government has let itself be given a bad name and now anybody can beat it,” he wrote in an Observer column.

“The abiding sin of the government is not that some ministers are rich, but that it seems unable to manage its affairs competently.”

This is an attack that the coalition will find hard to disprove, especially after Cameron’s hastily-announced plan to force energy companies into putting everyone on the lowest possible tariffs (of which the Energy Secretary and department apparently knew nothing). “Back-of-the-envelope” policymaking, as Ed Miliband might say.

“It has let itself be called a government of unfeeling toffs,” said Lord Tebbit.

Again – impossible to deny. Look at the Comedy Chancellor, Gideon George Osborne, sitting in a First Class train seat with a standard class ticket. One wonders if this will re-ignite the debate over rail ticket pricing – as they are clearly too costly even for a millionaire like him…

And then of course there’s Pleb-gate, or Gate-gate – the saga of the short temper and long decline of now-former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell. Whether he actually called a Downing Street police officer a “pleb” or not is immaterial, and has been ever since it was first reported; that was the moment the public made up its collective mind and Cameron should have known it. Instead he hung on to a lost cause, dragging his entire administration down as the story dragged on.

Mitchell’s replacement is Sir George Young, a man who is on record has having described the homeless as “What you step over when you come out of the opera.” He has been described on the Void blog as “a stuck-up, not so nice but dim, advert for class war” and as a “chinless f*cking wet-wipe”. In other words, he’s likely to be even more unpopular than Mitchell.

Lord Tebbit, who – we are told – represents a growing number of senior Tories who are questioning whether Cameron has the qualities necessary to lead a government, said Cameron must impose “managerial discipline, not just on his colleagues but on himself.”

He continued: “Had Mr Miliband concentrated his fire on a long list of muddles – from the proposed sale of our national forests to the BAE and energy policy muddles of recent days, it would have been far worse.”

With respect, Lord Tebbit, Mr Miliband didn’t have to – you did it yourself.

And with friends like these, Cameron doesn’t need enemies. The Nasty Party’s reputation for back-stabbing is well-deserved.