Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Being Labour means never having to say you're sorry... or respecting other people's rights... or behaving like a human being

Guido Fawkes today carries an intriguing story, culled from the the Flyertalk BA Executive Club forum, involving "a well known British Labour politician". The teller of the tale doesn't identify the politician, but suggests "let's just go with Peter M...". Unless there's a third Miliband brother who's managed to escape our notice until now, the equalitarian in question must be...Oh, Lordy!:
I was flying Qatar, London – Doha,  I had rebooked 1A, when I boarded I noticed someone was in my seat, when I asked why, the said passenger told me “Please talk to the crew, this is my favourite seat, I am sure they will find you an alternative” 
I knew the land side manager from flying every week for the last 6 months, so I had a word, as the Cabin Crew could not do anything as he had VVIP next to his name apparently, the manager asked for his boarding card, which was in 5D, after another 10 mins discussion which included the said person saying “surely this passenger can move to my seat” obviously thought that possession was 90% of the law. Finally he did move, not a word to my face and spent the rest of the flight refusing all contact with CC including food and drink.
If you read the story on Guido Fawkes, you'll find another story about the way He Who Must Not Be Named treats little people (I mean you and me, not leprechauns).

This reminded me vaguely of the first Labour MP I had to deal with after joining BBC News in the '80s. Worried because it was 12:55 and one of their live interviewees, a shadow cabinet member, hadn't reported to TV Centre reception, the One O'Clock News asked me to go down and wait for the eminent personage to turn up so I could whisk him to the studio the instant he arrived (it was in the days before mobile phones - yes, I am that old). Luckily, the guest was the left-wing social justice warrior Michael Meacher, and I knew what he looked like. (Neil Kinnock, who loathed him, christened Meacher "Tony Benn's vicar on earth".)

I was just checking with reception when the main entrance doors opened and in scuttled the shadow minister, looking decidedly frazzled. As I got him signed in, travelled with him by lift up to the newsroom, and took him to the studio, he never stopped talking. After almost 30 years, it's hard to remember his exact words, but here's the gist of his monologue: "You know, it really is appalling. Those BBC security men should all be fired. Wouldn't let our car through, refused to accept I was who I said I was, and made my driver sign forms. It's a disgrace. What a way to treat a member of the shadow cabinet. I'm extremely busy, you know. I don't have to do this. It's just typical of the BBC. Why don't you hire some guards who actually know how to do their jobs? They should be all be sacked at once, today, right now! What an absolute..."

And on and on and on and on, whining and bleating and moaning and whingeing and demanding that these frightful working class oiks who had had the effrontery - the sheer impertinence - to delay the progress of such a fantastically important public figure for one or two minutes should be summarily dismissed. Of course, if they had been dismissed, Meacher would no doubt have out there on the picket line, denouncing the BBC's vicious, heartless right-wing management.

Meacher, who died last year, liked to pretend he was the son of an agricultural labourer, when, in reality, his father was an accountant who sent him to boarding school (who can blame him?), from which he got into Oxford. In 1988, Meacher sued the Observer journalist, Alan Watkins, for writing the following about his background: "Mr Meacher likes to claim that he is the son of an agricultural labourer, though I understand that his father was an accountant who retired to work on the family farm because the life suited him better." Meacher lost.

Meacher voted for the Iraq War when he was a government minister - but, after being sacked by Tony Blair in 2003, campaigned stridently against it. He even became a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, claiming that the destruction of the Twin Towers "offered an extremely convenient pretext" for the invasion of Iraq. Yeah, sure.

The parliamentary expenses scandal revealed that Meacher had over-claimed on council tax. According to The Independent:
Meacher was caught up in the MPs' expenses scandal when it was found that he had moved out of his home in Oldham to rent a new property. He had form in this respect: in 1999 he was accused of hypocrisy when he called for a ban on owning a second home. At the time he had three properties of his own.
A Labour MP guilty of hypocrisy? A sense of entitlement? One rule for them and another for the rest of us? Impossible!

One of the commenters on the Guido Fawkes piece posted this pertinent South African television advert:

1 comment:

  1. The Joko tea advert is actually a variation of a story about Peter Cook, who used the same technique to deal with a queue-jumper at a New York nightclub, recounted in Harry Thompson's excellent but very sad biography.