Sunday, May 24, 2009

In defence of Nadine Dorries, MP

It's funny to be writing this, but I somehow feel I ought to because this particular MP has been both courageous and insightful. Unless I am much mistaken, she has little to be ashamed of and much to recommend herself. To catch up on matters political I listened to a large chunk of Iain Dale's Play UK talk radio show. Iain's got great radio presence, but the calls are jarringly bad audio-wise. Anyhow, one early caller was apopleptic about Ms Dorries' intervention in the MPs' expenses issue- where she accused the Telegraph of running a witchhunt against MPs because they favoured parties such as the BNP and UKIP. That's the gist of things, anyway. I merely want to comment that I think she is right, essentially, in saying that the Telegraph's campaign is politically motivated. It follows on from my thoughts expressed earlier.

I think it stems from McBride and Andrew Porter, who rumour has it have that most intense of relationships- drinking partners.

The more I hear and read about expenses, the more I see it as an effective technique for smoking out the "conservative sleaze" meme on which the Labour party founded its 1997 election victory. Watching the Mckenzie-Kirkbride scandal unfold, and Douglas Hogg's "moat" and other issues, one is reminded that for Labour "Tory sleaze" was about staining the characters of their opponents, exposing them as not "one of us". Even if Labour MPs were the most dishonest bunch in the world, they would always know how to slip inside, or into the slip stream of, the mob baying against corruption. The essence of Labour politics has always been the management of the mob- for right or wrong- and it's always been the failure of Conservatives and Liberals to analyse and absorb those techniques which has left them with two left feet when the "public" is on the march. Only Maggie had a deft two-step; a kind of Joan of Arc chic routine.

To come back to Dorries and the McBride connection, I notice that a small but notable part of the Telegraph's expenses story against Dorries was the allegation that she had claimed for hotel expenses in London when Parliament wasn't sitting, and added to those claims a mini-bar drinks cabinet. Well, I seem to recall that one of McBride's smears to Draper involved allegations of hotel hi-jinks. Could it be that the Telegraph and McBride had actually collaborated in the development of that story? Did the Telegraph know about the hotel claims and extrapolate over a jar or two the possibility of Dorries' engaging in a little nookie on taxpayers' expense?

When McBride constructed his smears he was doubtless doing so from background information which he deemed might make it convincing. Having failed miserably and spectacularly thanks to Guido Fawkes, could McBride have turned to Porter and asked for the nuclear option? To enrage the mob by blowing up the whole issue of MPs' financial behaviour, trusting in the native party-machine cunning of Labour embezzlers plus the Telegraph's cunning selectivity and timing to manage the fallout so that the Tories finally saw most of the damage. Given the building perception of Labour incompetence and sleaze, McBride and Labour, and probably even Gordon Brown, had nothing to lose.

So back to Dorries. Why did she accuse the Telegraph as she did? Well, not I think because the Telegraph are BNP supporters. I think because she was desperate to raise the issue of the Telegraph's connivance against her and colleagues. Raising it now, so that it can be examined later. Raising it now because it's the closest thing to reality and a real understanding of what's been going on in secret behind closed doors or shouted conspiratorally over the hubbub of a throbbing bar.

It might be more accurate to describe the Telegraph as doing Labour's business, but who would believe that? Didn't the Telegraph, after all, begin with Government ministers in their expose? The reality seems to be that the Barclay brothers and their Telegraph editorship want a more pliable, clubbable alternative to the prospective Cameroons embodied in the Mckenzies and the Dorries. They want nu-Labour lite, Mcbride and other pragmatists; corporate socialism which has them at its core. One cannot say exactly what they want but one can say that they want influence.

So maybe they do want the BNP, after all.

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