Tory ministers are proving to be well-versed in the non-apology. Maria Miller's recent fall from ministerial office was hastened by her "apology" in the House of Commons (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qK0eZOWc8eM ).
Esther McVey has clearly decided to take a Milleresque approach when it comes to expressing apparent regret for tweeting cheap political barbs about her local Labour opponents during the Hillsborough memorial service on Tuesday. Appearing on BBC Radio Merseyside yesterday, her own faux mea culpa was a little longer in duration than that of her Tory colleague, but not by much. You would think that an "apology" lasting a minute-and-a-half would be free of any gaffes on her part. Not so with Merseyside's very own Sarah Palin, I'm afraid. McVey referred to the service "at Hillsborough", not Anfield. In addition, she said that she didn't personally send the tweet, the indication being that one of her minions was responsible for that. However, the veracity of such a claim was somewhat undermined by an off-mike voice urging sotto voce just prior to this assertion, "Say you didn't send it" (52 seconds) (https://audioboo.fm/boos/2081755-esther-mcvey-speaking-to-bbc-merseyside-about-her-mistimed-tweet-during-the-hillsborough-anniversary-service ).
Tory officials are understood to be nervous about the affair & some have privately murmured that if the issue is still a hot potato for McVey on Merseyside next week (a strong possibility), she may well go the same way as Maria Miller; one can't help feeling that if Duncan Smith or Cameron offers "full support", she'll be toast.
McVey has a somewhat colourful past, in Tory terms, & her ability to attract adverse attention has been noted before (http://condensedthoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2009/07/dereliction-of-duty.html ).
I suppose we shouldn't be surprised by McVey's unwillingness to admit that her actions showed utter disdain for the families of the 96. After all, as Channel 4 News' Paul Mason pointed out yesterday, McVey champions policies which take a punitive & Dickensian approach to the most vulnerable in society (http://blogs.channel4.com/paul-mason-blog/gas-cooker-benefits-delayed-life-food-bank-user/691 ).
Moreover, McVey was parroting the Tory rhetoric about a return to prosperity to an increasingly incredulous TV audience yesterday (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-27049256 ).
Local Tories in her Wirral West constituency may view McVey's chances at the next election with anxiety, particularly as her majority in 2010 was a slender 2,436. It's unlikely that a sociopathic individual like McVey will respond to the views of those opposed to her actions. However, should you wish to make your feelings known, you can contact her on 0151 632 4348 or email email@example.com .
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Have you seen any yet. Oh come on, you must know what I'm referring to. Surely you must. Oh, OK, if you really don't know, I'll tell you. Liverpool is under attack from giant rats. No, really, it's true. Sunday's Oldham Echo said so & if it's in the Oldham Echo, that's good enough for me.
Wait, what's that? Sorry, but it isn't true, & there was I about to commend Oldham Hall Street on another spectacular journalistic scoop. Larry Nield in Liverpool Confidential breaks the news as gently as he can (http://www.liverpoolconfidential.co.uk/News-and-Comment/Liverpool-mutant-super-rats-Ham-and-High ):
"But wait: Could this be the same super rat that appeared last year in popular London newspaper the Ham&High, with the headline 'Giant rat discovered under dishwasher as bins overflow onto streets'?
"It could indeed, taken by householder Adrian Whitaker who caught and killed the rat in his West London home."
Mr Whitaker is understandably puzzled as to why his picture appeared in the Oldham Echo. Moreover, as Larry Nield notes, the story was picked up by the national media (broadsheets as well as tabloids) & then went viral on the web.
There must be a simple explanation for this tale of imaginary rodents & their exponential growth. Larry, too, is baffled, but then chances upon the reality behind the rat story:
"So where has it all come from?
"Similar mutant super rat stories have been popping up in regional papers across the country. It seems it is down to a PR puff promoting a commercial rat catching business, Whelan Pest Control, quoted extensively in the rat tale."
The Oldham Echo picking up PR pieces & reporting them as news? Perish the thought! What is the world coming to?
There is a further twist in the (rat) tale. Larry observes that the Echo "claimed the rat was caught in Liverpool by Sean Whelan."
Mr Whelan may well be baffled by the assertion in the Echo piece (penned by Neil Macdonald, the poor bugger) that he caught said rodent in Liverpool, particularly because he is based in Southampton where he is managing director of Whelan Pest Prevention Ltd (http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/sean-whelan/14/182/66a ).
You won't be surprised to learn that Oldham Hall Street has taken the rogue rodents story off its website. Additionally, it has (sort of) admitted that the entire story was false (http://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/2014/news/echo-admits-it-was-deceived-over-giant-rat-picture/ ).
A Trinity Mirror spokesman frantically attempts damage limitation:
"We were deceived about the picture of the giant rat. We were led to believe that it had been taken recently on an industrial estate in Liverpool.
"It has since become clear that it was taken in another part of the country. We will be clarifying the position with our readers on Sunday."
Those familiar with the Oldham Echo's modus operandi may question the claim that it was "deceived". Furthermore, many may well be puzzled why Oldham Hall Street will wait until Sunday before "clarifying" the issue with its (declining) readership.
The Oldham Echo's "journalism" has often been dismissed as belonging in the gutter. It would now seem that it has relocated to the sewer, alongside the vermin.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
If you had the day off today, & you live on Merseyside, chances are that you watched the annual Hillsborough memorial service at Anfield. You may even have attended the service. Interest from the media & the general public would have been all the greater because of the tragedy's 25th anniversary.
What you wouldn't have done is tweet a cheap party political point during the service. Well, you wouldn't do it because you're not an insensitive, sociopathic Tory whose crass timing makes even some Tory colleagues cringe (little wonder she is referred to as Merseyside's answer to Sarah Palin).
Esther McVey, for that is the person of whom we speak, clearly felt that having a dig at Wirral Labour Party took precedence over watching the Anfield service (https://twitter.com/EstherMcVeyMP/status/456082360627249152 ).
Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised by McVey's order of priorities given that her political heroine Margaret Thatcher never lived to answer questions about her role in the tragedy's aftermath (I choose my words carefully due to the soon-to-be resumed Coroner's hearing in Warrington). The, ahem, honorable member for Wirral West instantly started trending on the Twittersphere, & not in the way that she or her party bosses would wish. Her immediate boss, Work & Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, has been known to express his amusement at the way in which McVey has made herself an even greater Tory hate figure than himself. It remains to be seen whether McVey's seeming disdain for the Hillsborough families means that Duncan Smith has to find himself a new deputy. He'd be hard put to find a more obtuse No.2 at the DWP.
By way of a much-needed contrast, you couldn't have asked for a more dignified, eloquent & moving address at today's service than that given by Roberto Martinez, manager of Everton Football Club (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZtj-GPJIJ0 ).
McVey would do well to temporarily desist from her tedious tweets & watch Mr Martinez' ability to be an exemplary ambassador for his club.