April 8th, 2014

SKETCH: The Committee of Double Standards

The trouble with calling it a trough is that you think it’s full of swill.

This one’s full of champagne truffles.

John Mann had his Urgent Question just before lunch.

He is the outsider’s outsider, widely disliked by his peers, a conspirator, a trouble-maker, a Savonarola. He talks to you out of the side of his mouth glancing over his shoulder, as though you were in a prison slops queue.

Among Parliament’s hothouse bonsais, he looks like something that grew out of the side of a bridge.

Who else might have asked for this Urgent Question? No one else wants it brought up. They find it a “screaming nightmare”. It’s hard to over-estimate the effect it’s had on MPs. Which makes it all the more surprising when another one, yet another one comes out with yet another scam.

Here we are again, with a fat sock of cash, an untalented, isolated minister, and a closing of a class round a colleague. It’s one of the most enjoyable opportunities for media indignation in years.

Mann wanted the tape of the Standards committee’s deliberations made public. He told the House that the time for self-regulation was over, and urged the Leader of House to end it immediately.

Andrew Lansley is a proper Tory. So far from doing anything immediately he has learnt the error of doing anything at all.

He said he thought things were going pretty well. The new independent system was working as it should. This was “a legacy case”. How many more legacy cases were there out there, he was asked?

“The answer may be not none,” he said, carefully.

What’s the answer, whose fault is it? Angela Eagle blamed Tory partisanship. Chris Bryant thought the House of Lords needed investigating. Gerald Howarth brilliantly blamed “a complete and abject failure of the media.”

A generally-accepted view was that journalists hadn’t read the report. True in my case, and probably in yours. Who wants to get caught up in the coils of the committee, their oily arguments and talented sophistries? You’d end up invading Iraq.

No, the facts are – let’s not get bogged down. She was told to repay a hefty sum, she repaid a tenth of it and all her political-class pals acquiesced. That’s what the doorsteps say.

How do MPs propose to make things better?

An Opposition majority on the Standards committee, as Angela Eagle wanted? That suggests an even lower standard of public life than we have. That it’s all party political. Actually, it might be. A Labour committee let Geoffrey Robinson off, even though Tom Bower published a photocopy of his invoice to Maxwell for £200,000 (stamped PAID). Geoffrey said he couldn’t locate the cheque, the Labour committee understood.

Kevin Barron, the dusty nonentity who chairs Standards issued a serpentine series of remarks rebuking, or at least contradicting Angela Eagle, his shadow Leader of the House. The committee was impartial, non-partisan, of the highest integrity. He urged us to read closely and fully understand the report.

All right, all RIGHT!

I followed Peter Bottomley’s recommendation and started with paragraph 28. “Nonetheless,” it says, “we consider that Mrs Miller’s designation was reasonable in the light of the guidance at the time. You can’t blame her, which of us would have done differently for £50,000?”

I may have nodded off while reading it.

What are the options?

Independent regulation? That’s a rotten idea. The quango-impulse has already created a non-accountable state. Think how little we could pelt the unelected bureaucrats with our carefully-formulated ordure?

Lansley’s more subtle point was that an independent regulator wouldn’t be covered by Privilege and wouldn’t therefore be able to investigate so fully or so easily.

Recall? This will almost certainly create more problems than it solves, so it is my private recommendation.

The ultimate answer is more virtue.

Where does more virtue come from? From example rather than admonition. But with a narcissistic game show host setting the standard, we can’t be too hopeful, not in the medium-term.


90 Comments

  1. 1
    • 10
      • 62
        Toxic Labour for Spongers, Parasites, Criminals, Green Nazis, Peedos and other Wasters says:

        They won’t resign, the temptation of the tax free gravy train is too strong then there’s the eu trough to fall into once you’ve lost your seat.

        Like

    • 32
      Labour is the nasty party. says:

      Where is Ed Balls hiding ? He usually has a lot to say about everything .

      Like

      • 40
        jgm2 says:

        Balls has gone radio silent for about six months now. It hasn’t stopped Labour’s freefall in the polls but it can’t be doing any harm. Labour now needs to figure out how to keep Miliband away from the cameras but the trouble with that is that, in his absence, Harman deputises and she’s as thick as tongue-tied pigshit.

        Like

        • 49
          Gooey Blob says:

          This is the problem Labour will continue to face, namely having to keep their most senior front benchers away from the cameras for as long as possible.

          My guess is that they’re hoping to be within a couple of points of the Tories going into the election campaign and hope to not drop too many points over the course of the month. The problem is, Ed doesn’t inspire Labour voters and the GOTV operation is likely to fall short.

          Like

          • jgm2 says:

            I’ve said the same since Miliband was elected. Balls is just an added bonus to the Tories. Everybody who wasn’t a computer nerd at school susses Miliband immediately. The gawky, nasal one who thinks he’s clever but always gets picked last for everything. The one who grasses you up.

            One fucking look at him tells you exactly what he’s like and that’s before he opens his gob. Balls is just simply wrong and demonstrably so on every single big economic call of the last 15 years. No amount of bullshit and bluster can cover it up.

            And Harman is just fucking useless. She gets kicked up and down the park any time she’s let near PMQ.

            The biggest problem Labour had is that it’s too soon after them wrecking the economy the last time for many people to forget and even the forgetful ones are constantly reminded because Labour’s public face – Miliband and Balls – are the same clowns who were at large fucking everything up last time around.

            Like

          • Geordieboy says:

            Blair was a grassing bastard at public school. Both Blair and MIliband remind me of slug slime.

            Like

        • 50
          Bert says:

          A word of appreciation to Mr Carr for his wizard sketches. V. funny as well as trenchant, but ultimately depressing.

          Like

      • 45
        Dorkass says:

        Harmans gone to ground to avoid answers about pea dough pie. That’s why the Eagle munters are being touched up. What a shower.

        Like

    • 69
      Wigton Lane Winker says:

      Horsforth is in Bradford.

      Like

  2. 2
    Me and everyone I know says:

    Tory, Labour, Libdems – All at it.

    Vote UKIP.

    Like

  3. 3
    DC says:

    maria, you are the troughers trougher.

    Like

  4. 4
    dai independently says:

    so mr lansley equates ‘privilege’ with ‘confidentiality’

    we remain uninformed but in some cases – wiser

    Like

  5. 5
    a narcissistic game show host says:

    the price was about right

    Like

  6. 6
    the mystic mould with the appearance of the face of Jesus says:

    aren’t cosmic rays the things that make the northern lights ? this one looks oddly focused.

    http://news.sky.com/story/1238976/light-on-mars-what-lies-behind-the-spark

    Like

  7. 8
    Recall Right Now says:

    The trouble with calling it a trough is that you think it’s full of swill.

    This one’s full of champagne truffles.

    Like

  8. 9
  9. 11
    Davíd Camerón says:

    How will it play?

    Like

  10. 13
    Scotty says:

    She won’t take much more of this captain

    Like

  11. 20
    Guy News Room says:

    The Dunce of Downing Street tells Guido Fawkes: ‘Maria has probably had it. I think she is toast.’ .

    Like

    • 25
      F##k the LibLabCon says:

      Just a freudian slip there from Dave.

      Like

    • 26
      Dave - cunting cunt - Cameron says:

      Cameron may as well keep her in post now.

      Yet further damage has already been done to what passes for this moron’s reputation. He’ll get no credit for dumping the bitch.

      Like

  12. 21
    Jungle News says:

    Like

    • 37
      Top Tip says:

      You really need to stop listening to BBC radio 4 Nadds or you’ll be munching rugs within the week.

      Like

      • 46
        Norma Stitz says:

        I should keep you head down on expenses comments, Nads, given your own track record.

        Like

        • 72
          lolathebeautiful says:

          Sorry, I wasn’t listening, did you say Nads ‘Rack Record’, because she certainly has.

          Like

    • 82
      I was Kaiser Bill's batman says:

      Hello Nadine, sometime since we heard from you. What do you know about some geezeer in the past, trying to sell Hitler’s fake bollock?

      Like

  13. 23
    Doug W says:

    Just watch Millar’s PPS on sky, it’s now very clear who is to blame! It’s the press and anti gay marriage supporters ganging up in an anti Levison, anti gay alliance and the press harassing her children and parents. Nothing to do with dishonesty !

    Like

    • 27
      UKIP councillor David Silvester says:

      And the floods, don’t forget the floods.

      Like

    • 28
      Room for a small one says:

      Is Miller’s PPS a carpet muncher?

      Like

    • 33
      jgm2 says:

      She should have gone for the ‘misogynist’ angle as well. That’s how Labour play it any time one of their wimmin is under attack. It’s because they’re wimmin you see. Those private school Tory boys hate wimmin.

      Knock it right back over the net. ‘It’s ‘cos Maria is a woman that those misogynist union bully boys at Labour have it in for her.’

      Sauce for the goose.

      Might as well go the whole hog. No point dying wondering.

      Like

  14. 24
    Maria Miller says:

    Its my Human Rights to have this job, I’m complaining to the ECHR.

    Like

  15. 30
    the mystic mould with the appearance of the face of Jesus says:

    One time Paddy saved a little leprechaun that was stuck down a well. In gratitude Leprechaun grants Paddy 2 wishes.
    ” Now what will you be having for your first wish ? ” says the Leprechaun.
    says Paddy;” I would be wishing for an everlasting bottle of Guinness ”
    Quick as a flash there in Paddy’s hand is a bottle of Guinness. Paddy takes great swigs of the beer and when the bottle is finished Lo and Behold it fills up again.
    ” and now, what will you be wanting for your second wish ? ”
    ” I’ll be wishing for another one of these bottles ” says Paddy.

    Like

  16. 31
    Ed Balls says:

    I dont know what all the fuss is about. Its not like she claimed for some remembrance day wreaths or anything.

    Like

  17. 34
    Daydreaming Dave says:

    Christ when is this Irishman gonna stop.
    I’ve got bigger fish to feck up.

    Like

  18. 36
    Immer Wieder says:

    Abolish the standards committee and let the voters – the ultimate Quango – decide. Right of recall!

    Like

  19. 41
    The Foreign & Commonwealth Office says:

    Has Mr Cameron given a cast iron guarantee that Maria Miller is safe in her job?

    Like

    • 42
      Index Finger says:

      Good point!

      Like

    • 43
      Maria Miller says:

      I hope not.

      Like

      • 56
        The Public says:

        You are not entitled to hope. Your career is over. Whatever you think you might have by way of reputation is gone. You will forever be known as a thief.

        You may feel that is unfair because you were not convicted by a judeg and jury. Tough. You spent months avoiding the invesitgations and refusing to co-operate. You were giventhe opportunity to pay back your ill-gotten gains and you didn’t take it. You were givena chance to apologise. You were insincere.

        Maybe you thought the public would not find out. We did.

        Your best move now will be your resignation.

        Like

  20. 44
    I'd like to slip her one says:

    Stand by for Maria Miller’s resignation.

    Like

  21. 48
    He would say that wouldn't he ! says:

    Can Lansley produce proof that he did indeed stay overnight in central London hotels despite having a home a mere 15 minutes walk away ? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/10486884/Andrew-Lansley-claims-6000-for-London-hotel-stays-despite-owning-home-one-mile-from-Parliament.html

    Like

    • 57
      Garfield says:

      I bet all the Hotels that are closer than a 15 min walk from the HoC are stuffed to the gunnel’s with rent boys.

      Like

  22. 52
    Norman Normal says:

    I wonder. If everyone is talking about expences does it mean we forget about the licence fee, huge salaries and enormous waste at the BBC?

    MPs aren’t the only ones in a ‘union’ you know….

    Like

  23. 60
    Maria the Moron says:

    Very Good Sketch! Says it all!

    Like

  24. 61
    Bosun Higgs says:

    How to make staff behave honestly:

    1. Explain why what they are doing is wrong.

    2. Assure them that it is not ‘what everybody does’ or ‘turned a blind eye to.’

    3. Explain the effects that their actions have on other people.

    4. Instill fear of the consequences if they misbehave again.

    Might the party leaderships try these steps, eventually?

    Like

  25. 63
    Anonymous says:

    The answer surely is recall rights so constituents can sort them out (and give them the opportunity of falling on their sword or, ahem, “explaining” themselves).

    I begin to think that recall should be widened so voters in enough numbers from outside their constituencies should also be able to demand a new vote.

    Like

  26. 64
    Burkeian says:

    Its true that many of us deplored the dogsbody work that Miller did for Cameron in forcing through the legal re-definition of marriage – so destructive of the true meaning of marriage. I have no doubt that Cameron ,the dictatorial begetter of SSM in this country , in supporting her over the scandal of her mis-appropriation of taxpayers money, is paying back a debt. But at what cost to his Party ! He had already alienated so many previously loyal conservatives, but this takes the biscuit !
    As many have noted the Committee of MPs. who produced the travesty of a report excusing Miller’s various mis-appropriations are as guilty as herself and have treated the electorate with equal contempt.

    Like

    • 71
      Anonymous says:

      Assisting or Encouraging Crime

      Part 2 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 creates, at sections 44 to 46, three inchoate offences of intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence; encouraging or assisting an offence believing it will be committed; and encouraging or assisting offences believing one or more will be committed.

      Like

  27. 70
    Wigton Lane Winker says:

    Did Gay Kaufmann get his £10k B&O ?

    Like

  28. 78
    Geordieboy says:

    Cameron Should resign for backing her. Pu lic opinion means nothing to Cameron the stubborn shit. he is always right and we are always wrong. David Davies is the man for the job.

    Like

  29. 79
    broderick crawford says:

    The answer sir in this specific case is an immediate piece of emergency kegislation authorising a Recall referendum in the constituency .

    Long term a more considered legislation permitting recall for Mp s and local Councillors if sufficient signatures are colected .

    Like

  30. 80
    broderick crawford says:

    I am stupefied and would be grateful for your rationale in modding this Guido .

    is this post -Leveson ??

    Like

    • 87
      Geek says:

      Learn to re-write using different words or spelling. The modbot is just a computer program so learn how to outwit it.

      Like

  31. 88
    Anonymous says:

    “The Committee of Double Standards”
    must not be allowed anywhere near the judging of the open competition that must follow the IEA BREXIT PRIZE. That being an x(marks the spot)-prize, seeking to incorporate the democratic principle into voting. Perhaps by listing potential policies on election ballot papers. So that a mini multi-referendum can determine the people’s wishes. While the choice of who is to carry out those tasks becomes an adjunct.

    Like


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UKIP’s Patrick O’Flynn:

“I think Mail online comments are a telling indication of public opinion.”



Left on Left says:

The lefties are attacking because the panellist is a millionaire and lives in a London home worth upwards of two million. Someone had best tell them he’s called Ed Miliband.


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