Friday, 4 July 2008

Being boiled

Well the good news yesterday was that my modem at home wasn't working, so unfortunately I couldn't spend the twilight hours reading comments from angry smokers.

Today's good news will no doubt lead to a convoy of combine harvesters congregating on parliament, with dairy farmers throwing cows off the ramparts onto the heads of treacherous MPs.* (And yes, I do know combine harvesters are nothing to do with milk production). The Government has announced that it's not going to authorise a badger cull. Pretty sure I've blogged before as to why I think this is the right decision, and it's not just because - to quote the really, really tall MP with the Polish name - 'badgers are sweet'. In fact it's not because of that at all.

Obviously the last 24 hours or so has been a lesson in the perils of the Google alert. How many times have I blogged about the smoking ban before without attracting a single comment? But ridicule a certain organisation for holding a champagne tea party...

When I posted on the Canadian seal hunt earlier this year I got a few negative comments from Canadians; next time I'll actually mention Bash the Seal, Inc. by name and watch my comments count go through the roof. (Someone is going to Google that now and tell me there really is a company of that name, or at least an online game. And someone else is going to comment on this post that clubbing seals is not remotely funny. Yes, I know).

(In future I'm just going to put "yes I know" in brackets whenever I make a flippant comment.)

On the subject of being lobbied en masse, I got an irate email from someone the other day. I'd sent his elderly father a letter explaining why I wasn't able to sign the EDM on post office accounts (because I don't sign any EDMs) . The son's email basically said, what's the point of telling my father you're not going to sign the EDM when you don't even tell him what the EDM is about? I replied saying that seeing as his father had sent me a postcard urging me to sign the EDM it was, I thought, a reasonable assumption on my part that he would actually know what he was asking for....
This was, I suppose, a little disingenuous on my part. Last year I got more than 600 postcards about the double-taxation of bingo profits, and dutifully forwarded a reply from the Treasury to them all, probably to their complete bafflement. The front of the postcard said "Save our Bingo" and I don't think it's being patronising to assume that was what motivated most of them to write in. (Although by all means accuse me of it, as seems par for the course at the moment). On the other hand, most of the people who write in on individual issues are incredibly well-informed.

* I should point out this is a reference to a comment left on a previous post, about a certain episode of Alan Partridge. Included for an audience of one.


RP McMurphy said...

Your contempt for people is appalling.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kerry

I know that MP's hours are long and stressful and appreciate that you may not have time to respond to every single comment on your blog - especially the over-the-top ones.

I think your 'champagne tea party' comment (and the article you linked to) implied that opponents of the smoking ban are mostly upper-class reactionaries who are completely out of touch with the 'real world'. In my experience as a bar worker and customer in the North, this really isn't the case - and prolier-than-thou insinuations do your cause no credit.

Again, if this wasn't your intended inference, feel free to correct me.

Kerry said...

I don't think all opponents of the smoking ban are - but given that Forest held an event at a private members club in Belgravia and are now holding a champagne tea party in the Commons (whatever that is?) then they certainly appear to be. My office is above a labour club, which is fairly typical of labour clubs across the country. But will reply on the smoking issue later, probably Monday unless I can get the home modem fixed.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kerry

Thanks for this quick response.

Perhaps Forest are a bunch of toffs - fair enough. If not, perhaps they just need better PR?

Just a couple of points.

1) I don't think class snobbery is helpful to the debate.

2) I worked in the bar trade for two and a half years and never had a colleague, or manager, who supported a total ban. I can only speak from my own experience but this jarred with the countless press releases from ASH etc that said that the aim of the ban was to protect workers. The issues in the bar trade tended to be low wages and no union protection - not secondary smoke.

3) People I knew in the Labour Party around the time this legislation was going through had reservations about a complete ban because it would affect Labour clubs. They didn't want to turn round to members and say 'Thanks for working so hard to get me elected - and by the way you can't have a cigarette with your pint.'

Again, thanks for replying, and have a good weekend.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Dear me Kerry, you really are detached from reality! So Forest are supposed to engage MPs by inviting them down the Dog & Duck for a pint of mild and a cheese sarnie? How many do you imagine would turn up if that were so?

It's similar to the limp argument that has been used against many a Labour MP over the years when they own two houses but believe in leftist ideals for example. John Prescott gets the same thing now, does that make his views worth dismissing in your eyes? You should know better.

And the Forest party was held at Boisdales in Belgravia, it isn't a members only club, it's a cigar bar (or was before your lot banned them), the owner of which is a huge opponent of the ban experiment. You have Google so you could have found that out yourself.

As for the condescending tone you seem to direct at Forest for being 'toffs' ... it's good that the Labour party have learned absolutely nothing from the delightful kicking you got in the Crewe & Nantwich by-election. Keep it up, the landslide against you builds up more with every arrogant and detached-from-the-public comment.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Harriet Harman admits that Labour are a nanny state (and actually thinks that is OK)

Can we call you Nanny McCarthy now Kerry? :-)

Terry said...

From the Mail online today

This describes Labour and it's attitudes.

A woman minister was accused last night of using an obscenity at David Cameron during the controversial vote on MPs' expenses.

Accounts of extraordinary scenes of class envy in the Chamber, which would take British politics to a new low, emerged yesterday.

The Tory leader's aides claimed Anne McGuire called him a 'f***ing toff ' in response to a taunt to Labour MPs. It is said she used the insult in the crowded division lobby on Thursday night.

The confrontation echoed a blistering exchange between Shadow Chancellor George Osborne and one of Gordon Brown's lieutenants moments earlier.

According to the Tory version of events, Mr Cameron told Labour MPs around him 'you have voted for the John Lewis list' - a reference to the taxpayer-funded scheme for furnishing second homes used by MPs.

Mrs McGuire, a junior minister in the Department for Work and Pensions, is said to have responded to the provocation by muttering 'f****** toff' under her breath but loud enough to be heard, the Tories say.

Mrs McGuire, 59, is the MP for Stirling in Scotland. She was considered a Blairite with a sharp sense of humour. Last night she said she was being deliberately misquoted. 'I utterly deny that I said that to him. It is untrue,' she said.

'He was behind me and he made some crack about the John Lewis list and I said "we didn't vote for the John Lewis list David". I don't know how he managed to manufacture an altercation when it didn't happen. And that is not how I address people.'

Her alleged barb followed a similar incident when Ian Austin, Mr Brown's parliamentary aide, is said to have told the Shadow Chancellor to 'f*** off, you toff' after Mr Osborne said 'what you are doing is a complete disgrace'.

According to the Tories, Mr Austin and Labour whip Tommy McAvoy called to colleagues: 'Come this way, comrades'. Mr Austin is alleged to have said to Mr Osborne: 'You should come and join us'.

Mr Osborne replied: 'What you are doing is a complete disgrace.'

Mr Austin apparently responded: 'f*** off, you toff.' The MP for Dudley and a veteran political bruiser, has denied the insult.

He said: 'I did not swear at him. Although I think he's a toff, I didn't say he was one. All I did was refer to him as a multi-millionaire' - a reference to Mr Osborne's wealth as the heir to the Osborne and Little wallpaper fortune.

It is not unusual for Labour and Tory MPs to exchange taunts and insults in the scrum that comes when a Commons division is called.


pagar said...

Kerry, I don't know you personally but I am prepared to accept that you mean well in your support of the smoking ban.

But,if you really listen to them, the virulence of the people who have been blogging to you about it is not, in the main, because they are FOREST stooges, but because they resent your interference in the way they conduct their lives.

And as your party continues to produce legislation that restricts individual freedoms and tries to accomplish various social engineering projects, they will resent it more and more and will eventually vote you out of office because you have persisted.

CS Lewis put it best and you should take note.

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

Think about it, Kerry!!!

We are fed up being tormented by you.

Basil Brown said...

See you voted to keep the John Lewis list and your second-home allowance, Kerry. What was it? £155,000 in "expenses" for the year 2006/7?

And your modem's not working?

Northern Lights said...
This comment has been removed by the author.