Thursday, January 31, 2008

Conman the Barbarian

‘I think it’s good for parents who want the best for their kids. ’
Dave Cameron

No wonder Derek Conway thought that it was OK to get his family’s snouts into the Westminster trough, when his own leader turns a blind eye to people faking religious faith to get their kids into the right school.

Iain Dale didn’t criticise Derek Conway when the storm broke this week, citing his friendship. That’s fair enough – even if that friend has enriched his family by thrusting his snout deep into the public trough. He's wrong to compare it to Hain, Alexander, et al. Those seem to be examples of administrative foul-ups and nobody has defrauded the taxpayer – I’ve not lost a penny as a result of what is alleged to have happened. The same can't be said of Conway - we've all paid to ensure that his son can run those parties or the other one can enjoy his life at university. The other difference is that some of those matters are still under investigation – Conway has been nailed bang to rights.

Standing down now would be a better remedy, not hanging on for another couple of years to see what more cash he can siphon off from you and me. There's no honour in what he's done - announcing that he’s standing down in a year or two implies that he might have had some say in it. Clearly he was told that there was no chance that the whip would be returned to him, so he would not be eligible for reselection. Apparently, his foppish older son, who only managed to milk the Bank of Dad for £10k a year for advice on ‘London matters’ (fashion and parties, I presume) is also a party organiser and ran a recent event called the 'Fuck off I'm Rich' Party. That I find offensive - particularly as I seem to have helped to pay for a lifestyle where a £2000 suit is essential.

Incidentally, I think that we should praise Tory MPs Nicholas Soames and David Curry (not something I'll do very often) for standing up to Tory committee chair George Young and insisting on a tough report and punishment for Conway – apparently, Sir George only wanted to give the old boy a slap on the wrist and ask for a few quid back.

The same can’t be said of Dithering Dave. On Monday, he was standing by his honourable friend. By Tuesday, he’d slept on it (trans: seen the bad press) and decided that the Conman had to go. Apart from the bad press, I don’t see what else had changed overnight. The latest reaction - banning relatives from employment is ludicrous. It makes complete sense to employ family members - as long as they actually do some work. Where do we draw the line? Wives? Children? Mistresses? Any number of MPs of all shades employ their families and expect them to work as hard as any other employee - probably harder as I doubt they will try to claim overtime or whinge about the long hours.
No, let's deal with those who pocket the cash for no work.
Derek? Time to go. Now.

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