The Not-So-Independent View of Christians Working in Parliament

Back in 1992 when I was a visiting law student in London, I interned with a Conservative backbencher. I got the job because of my pro-life credentials. I wrote to the sister of a family acquaintance, but since she had been elevated into the Government of the day and was not allowed unpaid interns, she referred me to another Tory MP who was very active in the pro-life movement.

Thus, I was quite interested to read in the Independent today that a Christian pro-life charity has been sponsoring interns to work at Westminster. Of course for the left-wing Independent, this is a rather dastardly thing. This is particularly bad since it is “allowing them unrestricted access to Westminster in the run-up to highly sensitive and potentially close votes on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Bill next month.” Never mind that Christian Action, Research and Education (Care) has run the internship programme for 10 years.

There is no suggestion that Care has actually done anything wrong. The only thing the Independent found to exploit is that two of the twelve members of Parliament who have Care interns failed to note them as such in the main register of members interests. It is not a lack of public record as to their sponsorship. The interns themselves have registered this. The paper even admitted, “There is no suggestion of wrongdoing on the part of any of the MPs who employ Care research assistants.”

There is not even any evidence that Care-sponsored interns are lobbying MPs about the HEF Bill or anything else. It’s just that they could.

The Independent knows that Care is an evil organisation because it campaigned against the repeal of the infamous Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988. Section 28 banned the promotion of homosexuality in schools. It also campaigned against assisted suicide in the House of Lords (or what the Independent likes to call “assisted dying”). Why didn’t the Independent mention that Tom Harris has a staffer who is Parliamentary & Campaigns Officer for the pro-euthanasia activist group Dignity in Dying? Or for that matter, that Bob Laxton employs the Chief Executive of the Birmingham Brook Advisory Centre, an organisation that promotes abortion?

And the Independent does not mention that there are members with staff who are sponsored by other organisations with political agendas – it’s just that the agendas are more fitting with the views of the Independent. For example, Michael Clapham employs someone registered as “Independent Parliamentary and Political Consultant” and lists eight organisation as clients. Natascha Engel has a staff member who is Parliamentary and Campaigns Officer for the Terrence Higgins Trust, an HIV charity which encourages promiscuity as a partner of Playzone: “We’re working in partnership with gay venues to improve conditions and make your play safer.” Eliot Morley has a staffer who is “Parliamentary Consultant, Network for Animals”. Fabian Hamilton has a staffer who is involved as Parliamentary liaison/research for the trade union Amicus. Lindsay Hoyle employs one of their Policy Officers. Doug Henderson employs the National Political Officer of the GMB union. Diana Johnson employers a Regional Manager for Unison. Edward O’Hara employs two staffers who are Parliamentary Assistants for Age Concern. I know this is a fairly innocuous organisation, but it is a lobbying group nonetheless.

Or how about the fact that Michelle Glidernew and Martin McGuiness of Sinn Fein have staff on the register at all? Neither has taken their seat since being elected, because they won’t take the oath of allegiance. However, Sinn Fein’s press office assures me that they are entitled to public money for this and most everything else, just like any other MPs.

Hoisted

Thanks to Mr Malvern for his comments on my posting about Susan Pope, the nurse at Malvern St James school who was sacked for smacking her foul-mouthed son on the bum. He noted that the school bursar who sent the letter sacking Mrs Pope has himself been sacked.

Mr Malvern was quite generous in his description of the Denis Smith’s offences. He didn’t mention that Mr Smith rammed a police car in his drunken attempt to evade police driving through Malvern streets at 80 mph. Having worked in Malvern, I have to commend Mr Smith on his driving skills. I would not be able to drive anywhere near that fast if I wanted to, even fully sober.

Being a keen letter-writer, Mr Smith did not wait to receive his P45. He resigned. I’m guessing he figured that if the school was willing to sack someone even though they did not commit an offence, he probably didn’t stand much of a chance.

Anyhow a couple links for those interested: Malvern Gazette and Worcester News.

To modify something I heard during the Eliot Spitzer fiasco, let me make the introductions: Denis, petard. Petard, Denis.

The Cost of Serfdom

The culture of totalitarianism and paranoia in Whitehall (the generic term for the executive branch of government, regardless of the actual address of any department in question) has exposed itself. They have managed to make bigger fools of themselves than the Civil Serf blogger ever did.

The Civil Serf has been identified as a middle manager in the Department for Work and Pension. Because of her anonymity, it wasn’t easy to track down the person who exposed the ineptitude of bureaucrats in London and incompetence of Government ministers. However, the Government decided to dedicate a team of computer experts to the sole task of finding her. That was their sole responsibility. A more traditional media source at DWP called it an extraordinary outlay of resources.

In case you need a translation, “extraordinary outlay of resources” in NewLabourspeak means “lots of taxpayer money” in Realspeak, i.e., words that actually mean something.

So let me put it this way: the Government just spent a lot my money to find out who is telling the public how badly the Government is spending my money. Seems to me the Civil Serf was providing much more value for money than anyone else at DWP or in Whitehall generally, or perhaps in 10 Downing Street.

She’s been suspended from her job, stripped of her laptop, and had her security clearance revoked, but was the Civil Serf doing anything wrong by Whitehall’s own rules? As the Mail on Sunday noted: “Although civil servants must abide by a code of conduct, it is unclear what, if any, rules have been broken by the blogger.” Yes, that’s right. In the tradition of British bureaucracy, it’s shoot first and ask questions later. They are acting just like the Civil Serf said they act, only now it is in the public eye.

Crazy

I’m not usual one to report “celebrity” sort of news, but in case anyone outside of Britain has missed it, Mohamed al Fayed testified before the inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Yes, I know it has been over ten years since her death, but her cause of death is only now being officially determined by a jury. This is mostly because of Mohamed al Fayed.

He is the father of Diana’s lover du jour, Dodi Fayed.  He has always told the press (over and over) that he is convinced that Diana’s and Dodi’s deaths were the result of a complex plot. Now he has told the inquest jury. The full details are worth reading in a reputable source like The Times. Why do you want to read this? Because it is truly bizarre. Let me just set the stage:

The alleged plot involved Prince Philip, Prince Charles, British, French and American security services, the French judiciary, ambulance staff, pathologists, newspaper editors, two former Metropolitan police commissioners, the Princess’s sister and brother-in-law, the former British ambassador to France, and the Princess’s lawyer, among others, and it was sanctioned by Tony Blair.

It gets more weird. Really.

Staying Active in Old Age

Sure, most crime is perpetrated by the young. It’s good to see they don’t have a total monopoly. Seniors need something to keep them active. From The Daily Telegraph:

Police are hunting an elderly lady who tried to hold up a Post Office in an attempted armed robbery.

The pensioner, described as a “little old lady” aged between 65 and 70 years old, pulled out a knife, threatened the cashier and demanded money in the shop in Northenden, Manchester.

But she shuffled off empty handed when staff activated the store’s alarm.

The suspect is described as being white and about 5ft 2inches tall.

She was of medium build, had dark hair and was wearing a purple jacket.

BBC Says Huckabee Won By Bribery

I’m watching the BBC News coverage of Super Tuesday. As usual, it is all reported with an air of British superiority – or more exactly that of American inferiority.

Washington correspondent Matt Frei is anchoring the coverage of what he calls “an absurdly byzantine electoral system”.

Occupying a spot on his commentating panel, there is no surprise seeing British-born naturalised American Christopher Hitchens. His view of the Iowa caucues: “It’s not illegal to offer bribes and inducements to elect and that’s what made Mike Huckabee a front-runner.”

Yeah, that’s it. Mike Huckabee threw his millions and millions (that he doesn’t have) into bribes for Iowa GOP caucus voters.

But it’s not just Huckabee that’s the recipient of Hitchen’s ire. He was also happy into inform us that if John McCain gets the nomination, he will campaign for any Democrat.

That’s the sort of unbiased coverage we get here.