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June 28, 2008


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Paul Flynn

Your verse is improving in content and literary quality.It's not only Labour people that have gone bananas on resignations or sackings. I am still baffled about the dire fate of Alun Cairns from his 'zero tolerance' party.

How about making the punishment fit the crime?

Paul Flynn

Thank you Stephen. Driving at 120 mph on a lane is very different from driving at 80 mph on a motorway.

I was deeply involved onthe 'cash for honours' inquiry. It's a rotten system and cas has bought honours from all major parties for the past 100 years. Labour was caught holding the parcel whenthe music stopped. This was after the best attempt to clean up the system that has ever been enacted. We introduced transparency and were hoist by our own petrad.

I have no idea why Wendy resigned. It was not necessary. The sinse of the Tories on expenses have been mortal. Ours are real but venial. But that is not the way the press has presented it.

David Walters

Maybe it is just "technical"
Maybe no-one was harmed.

If you're right then why did she resign? Because some nasty Tories and nationalists called for her to resign? If that's all it takes to push her off the cliff, Labour in Scotland are better off without her


Paul, I'm sorry that you thought my last comment uninspired; its brevity reflected the fact that I intended little more than a vote for the 'you're wrong on this one' side of the argument.

Who was harmed? Plenty of people. In terms of their reputations, mainly politicians, particularly those in the Labour Party. The rules on campaign contributions were clear enough. They were certainly understood by those who fought the Deputy Leadership election nationally, even if one candidate found herself innocently duped, and another appears to have exercised considerable ingenuity in working his way around them.

If you drive at 120 mph down a deserted motorway at 3 in the morning, but get caught by a speed camera, what difference does it make whether anyone was 'harmed' or not. The law is the law, and since it is politicians that make those laws on our behalf, it behoves them to keep within them themselves.

Wendy Alexander was not innocently duped and this was certainly no technical breach. It is no defence whatever to point out the squalid and immoral exploiting of MPs expense allowances by a few sleazy Tory MPs, we know all about those (and that the Labour party is not without a few happy to 'play the system' as well).

Politicians are increasingly viewed by a cynical electorate as only being in it for what they can get out of it themselves. It makes little difference to the general public whether it's dipping hands into the till in Westminster or straightforward breaking of the law on election contributions, all the public ever seems to hear from those responsible (and all too often from their colleagues) is that these were 'technical' breaches, or that the rules were 'unclear' or most often both. It's damaging to our whole parliamentary democracy, and I'm surprised that you don't seem to fully appreciate that.

I'm going to have to scroll back now and see what you had to say about the 'cash for honours' affair. Because there's a third excuse politicians are very fond of falling back on when all else fails - 'you can't prove it'.

She's certainly not in the Tony Blair class of rotten apples, but if Wendy Alexander broke the law then she should be punished, and politicians gain more respect supporting that than with mealy-mouthed attempts to blame political opponents whenever a colleague gets caught.

It's only sleaze if it's an opponent who did it. That's how you come across.

Huw O'Sullivan

I believe Paul that the house would be worse without you. I just wish that the Labour party you are part of, was worthy of our support and your membership.

Jolly Roger.

Whether or not Wendy's books were 'cooked'.
Here's a point that's been overlooked.
What happened to all the cash donated?
There was a campaign promulgated.
But, in fact, it wasn't occuring.
There was no contest, hence this demurring.
The cash went on a 'victory celebration'
Somewhat Mugabe-like in its duration.

I'll agree with you Paul, in some small way.
Resignation was a hell of a price to pay.
I think her loyalty to Gordon was a plan,
To avoid more brown stuff hitting the fan.
To continue as Leader would have been a bit iffy.
The Nats would weaponise it at every jiffy.
To continue to undermine her Leadership pose.
Oh well, that's Politics, I suppose.

I note the relatively flattering picture,
Of Wendy, minus the normal stricture,
Portraying her, in the worst of lights.
Some pictures of her have been absolute frights.
Her rather 'strong' features do little to flatter.
That just opinion, so what does it matter.
So for those who are desirous of taking the piss.
I'd suggest that they have a go at this:



George was not expelled for voting against the Iraq War. He and other trustees were criticised by the Charity Commission for failing to make sufficient inquiries into the sources of donations.

It found the appeal had received significant donations connected with improper transactions made under the Iraqi oil-for-food programme - but said the money had been spent on humanitarian aid.

Mr Galloway said the inquiry had been "politicised".

After considering the commissioner's report, the Committee on Standards and Privileges has recommended that Mr Galloway apologise to the House of Commons and be suspended for 18 days.

This was the result of his "concealing the true source of Iraqi funding" and "calling into question" the integrity of standards watchdogs.

There were 139 Labour MPs and 16 Tories who voted against the war. In March 2006 I was the only MP to speak against the Helmand Mission. That is reason enough why I stand for election. I still believe I have a unique contrbution to make.

Huw O'Sullivan

Who was harmed by a breach of the rules?
Perhaps no one, which is why the penalty for breaking the rule was one whole day suspension.
Much less than for example the one month suspension from parliament that was imposed on George Galloway.
He was of course guilty of being very egotistical and right at every step about the Iraq war, about the devious, duplicitous and mendacious arguments, false facts and evanescent evidence trotted out to get the public whipped up and ready to support a crime that has in all likelihood cost a million lives and more.
And while you Paul, voted against the war, and have spoken against the war, you have also ensured that the people who worked hand in hand with the US to plot and plan it stayed in power. By standing for Labour in election after the war you ensured that people who approved of your opposition to the war nonetheless elected a labour mp, to allow for a labour majority and a return to power for the criminals you voted against.
Although as you explained earlier while you opposed it, you don't believe there was any malicious or criminal intent on the part of those responsible.

Paul Flynn

Stephen, that's a not a very inspired posting. Why not try to answer the question. Who was harmed? It was the SNP who are guilty of dirty tricks.


I can only endorse the comments of Alwyn ap Huw. This was no technical breach whatever, nor was it in any way the fault of the Tories.

As it happens, her resignation is almost certainly a blessing in disguise; her leadership of Scottish Labour has at best been uninspired. She couldn't even bring herself to depart her office with good grace.


The one day sentence was calculated by political opponents for maximum political damage. standards commission should not be used for playing political games.

No answer to the question of what harm was done. the donation was freely given, private money and was below the £1,000 threshold. the only problem was the person's address. the tories are bankrolled by two individuals who live in foreign countries.

this is nothing but a technical breach of rules. compare and contrast with the Trend, Conway, the Wintertons and the three Pliad Cymru MPs. no resignation from any of those.

Alwyn ap Huw

Wendy Alexander accepted an ILLEGAL donation. Illegal under laws passed by the Labour party.

The knowledge that such a donation was received by her campaign was made known because a member of her own team leaked the information to the Herald newspaper.

Ms Alexander sought advice on the donation after the deadline for making such a declaration was passed. It was the independent standards commissioner, not a political opponent who asked the standards committee to investigate the situation.

Ms Alexander was suspended from parliament for one day, a token slap on the wrist. If there was a partisan vendetta against her she would have been suspended for much longer.

Wendy Alexanders' problems are all of her and Scottish Labour's own making - trying to blame the SNP or others is just pathetic.

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