Friday, 27 January 2012

Dennis Skinner "a very unpleasant piece of shit" - as well as a dinosaur

I've always loathed the Labour MP for Bolsover, Dennis Skinner. I've never quite understood why we're all supposed to find his behaviour in the House of Commons heart-warmingly direct - it has always struck me as repellently boorish and deeply tedious.


During my time at Westminster I never heard anyone utter the words "Why don't we interview Dennis Skinner?", and the idea certainly never occurred to me, so I've never had the pleasure of meeting the man. But the former Conservative MP Jerry Hayes has - many times - and recently gave him a splendid kicking on the Dale & Co. blogsite.

The whole piece is well worth reading (Hayes was evidently having an amusingly bad day all round), but here's the section on Skinner:

"...when Cameron called [Skinner] a dinosaur he wasn’t referring to his age, but his state of mind. Skinner was born a dinosaur and will die one. He can only see an argument through the prism of party politics. He can only respond to a discussion on the premise that Labour has to be right and everyone else is wrong. He has been dancing around this worthless, sterile, tribal totem pole all of his life. He makes deeply offensive remarks to others across the floor. But as long as they are Tories who cares? Skinner is nothing more than a humourless old bigot who has many acolytes but few, if any friends on the Labour side. And if anyone dares dish it out to this self proclaimed national treasure, he hates it. As a true working class icon he pledged to retire at sixty five, yet he is still there at eighty and very, very, touchy if anyone has the temerity to mention it. He is the sort of person who grins, gurns and is deeply offensive to those who have been caught out in any personal indiscretion. But he threw his toys out of the pram when a newspaper printed a photo of him hiding in the bushes after some naughties. 
If you want the real measure of the man let me recall a nasty little cameo role he played in one of the most dramatic and moving events I have ever witnessed in the Chamber. It was a few months after the Brighton bombing where friends and colleagues had died or had been horribly injured. John Wakeham lost his wife and at one time it was thought that he might never walk again. Unannounced, unplanned and in the middle of the debate, the doors swung open and there was Wakeham on crutches slowly and very painfully hobbling his way to the front bench. A silence befell the House. At times like these there is a bond that goes way beyond the pettiness of party politics. You could hear a pin drop and to a man and woman we rose in silence and respect and then applauded this man for his courage and terrible loss, mourning his wife and feeling for his motherless young children. The House was united in its grief except for one solitary, seated, glowering figure who wouldn’t stand; Skinner. After all, Wakeham was a Tory. 
I’m afraid...that Dennis Skinner is not just a dinosaur, but a very unpleasant piece of shit."

What an ugly soul he must have.

No doubt when Skinner dies, we'll be awash in glowing tributes to the old git: I just hope someone asks Jerry Hayes for his opinions.

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