The news caused a great guffaw of laughter. The last MP, the PASC select committee would pay to advise on PR would be Lembit Opik. But he was named by Mike Grannatt of Luther Pendragon as the only MP they employed.
It’s no laughing matter now, because a PR paper checked whether any income had been declared. The Register of Members’ Interests are bare of any mention of the £2,400 Lembit received over the past three years. In cash said Luther Pendragon, by cheque said Lembit.
I know of no circumstances in which a sum of £2,400 should not be declared. It’s likely that the standards committee will investigate this and tells whether Lembit has transgressed.
But nothing silences the irrepressible Lembit. He is in revelatory mood to one Welsh newspaper with a morsel of exclusive breathless gossip about his current attempt to destroy his persona as a serious political figure. He revealed to an under whelmed reporter that in a new series he flaunts an unexpected reticence. He refused to propose marriage to his Cheeky Girl. What else will he refuse to do on live television?
Could this be part of Lembit’s slippery PR skills in trying to kill an embarrassing story with a juicier one. George Galloway produced such a coup at a press conference called to nail his for claiming conference expenses when he worked for a charity. He startled the press by confessing that at the conference he had ‘carnal knowledge of two women’. The hacks lost all interest in his expenses.
This time, Lembit’s non –proposal did not outrank the non-declarations. Back to the PR training Lembit, with you as the student.
From tomorrow, politicians will not be in charge of statistics.
Gordon is giving away power. It was his idea a decade ago. It’s great news for Newport because the new wholly Independent Statistics Authority is headquartered in Newport.
Tonight the Authority was launched with a glittering reception in Westminster. The cream of statistics world was there including eminence grise Lord Moser. He ran the Central Statistics Office from 1968. He told the audience this evening of one Chancellor he returned some figures produced by his department’s statisticians with the comment ‘These figures are not compatible with my policies’. He had a sharp response.
In 1989 I had a letter from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher saying it was unworthy of my to suggest that transferring the running of Newport’s Business Statistics Office to the Chancellor’s department was sinister. It was not my suggestions. It came from worried statisticians in Newport fearful that their objective work would be tainted with a political commentary.
Tomorrow’s launch will be the most significant moment in the long honourable history of British statistics. Free from all possible political interference at last.