Real Zorro

Mission - to challenge in East Devon. To hold elected representatives & their officials to account.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

More press coverage for Hugo Swire aka Mr Bean

Local Conservative MP Hugo Swire continues to make the news, for all the wrong reasons! Local and nation press and media coverage of his demeaning “jokes” whilst fundraising recently for the Conservative Party abound.

The latest being on today’s Evening Standard website where commentator Anne McElvoy, in a piece in which she reflects upon how “it is that the Westminster machine is powerless over MPs and candidates who care not a jot about how their behaviour affects their parties”. In this article she cites Hugo Swire’s antics at the Conservative Party Black and White fundraising Ball recently.

It’s time to go Hugo. Stop embarrassing the electors in East Devon!

It’s time for change! It’s time for challenge!

Anne McElvoy’s Evening Standard article in full –

Politicians suffering serious foot-in-mouth have become the norm

The reason House of Cards keeps on running — we’re now into Netflix’s third series of Frank Underwood’s diabolical deeds, a worthy heir to Francis Urquhart’s suave Westminster homicides — is that we like to believe politics is a sphere of control freaks who can end careers or defenestrate rivals with a phone call. Events present a different view.

If the pre-battle stages of the election campaigns tell us one thing, it is that the Westminster machine is powerless over MPs and candidates who care not a jot about how their behaviour affects their parties. This week has seen a premier cru crop of bloopers, led by the Prime Minister, who went whimsically off message to discuss his retirement date.

The only blessing was that this offered distraction from the truly toxic Afzal Amin, who may well have cost the Tories a crucial seat in the Midlands after he was accused of a deal with the far-Right English Defence League so improbable, stupid and cynical that it sounded like the plot of a satirical television drama. 

Mr Bean. Separated at birth from...
Lest we think this was just idiocy from a rookie newcomer to politics, consider Hugo Swire, a Cameron ally and Brahmin of a banking dynasty. Representing a party which has to conduct difficult welfare reforms while being accused of being led by heartless toffs, he made jokes about people on benefits being able to afford £60,000 in auction prizes at a fundraiser. Swire is also a minister of state — a Cameron appointment — so the task of diplomacy without shooting his foot should not be entirely beyond him.

A very kind interpretation of Hugo Swire's fundraising jokes
Over on the other benches, Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale and one of the more impressive grassroots Labourites, compares his leader Ed Miliband to “a  f***ing knob” and  decrees that most voters would rather go for a pint with David Cameron: “That’s the reality of it”.

Well, chaps, the reality of it is that we are about to enter the throes of an election whose result hangs in the balance, a constitutional mess that will be dangerous for the UK after the Scottish referendum and an unfinished job on rebuilding the economy after a major crash. Whichever side you are on, and whether your party leader is the best thing since wartime Churchill or a Mr Bean in thin disguise, very little is achieved by behaving like a prat when the election is imminent.

Hugo Swire MP. Separated at birth from...
And yet many politicians regard themselves as a one-man or woman show, barely loyal to their leaders, while donning the party rosette to get a seat. For years, I would, like my Lobby colleagues, hanker for some soul who merely parroted the party line. It has become rather harder to find candidates and MPs who can put a lively and intelligent case for Milibandism, Cameronism or whatever Clegg-ism presently consists of while ranters are ten-a-penny. 

Yet for all the faux grandeur of the Whips, the grids, the spinners and expensive strategists, Westminster’s House of Cards has lost control over its ranks. Frank Underwood would have found a solution involving an oncoming train. Urquhart would have dispatched the offenders with a late-night drink or an appointment with Doug in the woods. Short of the actual murders, they had a point.

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