With trepidation I shall watch Channel Four News tonight (Sunday).
In spite of exhaustive efforts to find any MPs prepared to take part in an item on MPs’ expenses I was the only one they found.
I suggested several names but the vow of Omerta in binding on all parties. Perhaps they remember with horror the howls of public anger that Eric Pickles suffered on Question Time. In the bubble of Westminster, it is reasonable to say that you need a second home if you live 37 miles from the Commons. In the real world it a grasping, greedy absurdity.
I trust the Channel Four journalist Girish Juneja who has produced tomorrow’s item. I am sure he will turn my stumbling meandering comments into a polished message. Some of my colleagues may not like what I say. They will, however, agree that it is true.
There will be some wincing and griping from the backbenches. But it will be invisible and silent. Will I regret my own comments? It’s possible. Have I rushed in where angels fear to tread.”?
I was intrigued that even though I had won, the details of the prize were revealed only this morning. We had a splendid, well-informed pep talk on the use of hi-tech communications by MPs. The advice was don’t blog or use twitter. Blogs provides hostages to fortune and tweeting is for idiots.
Using a lively website was encouraged and Facebook. Mature MPs and AMs present said they found Facebook an alien hostile habitat. The prize was a flip camera worth a £100. It is simplicity to operate and videos can be instantly downloaded to YouTube. Search for PF first to see my test on using this slick minute camera. I have not yet succeeded in loading it here. I have forgotten how to do it.
But this minute camera is likely to become a constant companion.
No one now believes in a military victory in Afghanistan.
Obama is bound by an election promise to send his surge of troops. What’s our excuse?
The need to maintain solidarity with the President who has backed Gordon Brown G20 policy? A belief that the military surge is just one element is a peace strategy that might just work?
Troops are risking their lives to win the re-election of a deeply corrupt government. To claim this is a noble and just cause is an insulting lie. Karzai’s family has enriched themselves from the drugs trade and he ditching the few progressive reforms that have been made in order to win fundamentalist votes.
Perhaps the Defence Minister will agree to attend all the funerals of our brave soldiers that result from our surge?
Sadly I cannot ask him. Parliament is in recess for a week.