Parliamentary sketch – Running out of steam in a climate of fear
On the day after the European Parliamentary election results were announced last week I commented here that “inevitably the panic button has been pushed. Not by my Party colleagues but by the media, keen to write their own post-election news stories. For days my phone has been red hot. Not from my colleagues engaged in a conspiracy to overthrow anyone, but with frantic calls from the media anxious to fill the dots in a story it seemed they’d already written!”
The score a week later is that I received zero calls/emails/texts or had conversations with my MP colleagues seeking to conspire to overthrow anyone, but, on the other hand, I hardly had time to draw breath between the avalanche of calls from an army of journalists who had been commissioned by their Editors to stand up their pre-written “Lib Dems in turmoil” headlines.
I had predicted that some of those colleagues who don’t survive well in the carbon monoxide of obscurity might be tempted by the offer of the oxygen of publicity to go into TV studios to be drawn into making remarks which could be carefully edited to add fuel to the fire. On cue was one the Party’s well known “go to” and “rent a quote” belligerents who has been dubbed by me with the name “Lord Footshott” (now former Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Oakshott).
The Queen visits Parliament this week to kick off another Parliamentary year. Liberal Democrat MPs will gather for their routine weekly meeting to discuss the contents of The Queen’s Speech, to no doubt reflect on the recent election results and to consider many other matters. As I’ll miss that meeting I’ve already conveyed my comments to my MP colleagues; that we should hold our customary election review in a calm and rational manner over the coming weeks; and not to be bounced by the media.
The Queen’s Speech has caused much speculation too. There’s a frankly surreal judgement amongst any Government’s determined detractors that unless the Speech contains squillions of new laws then the Government has “lost its way”, “run out of steam” or is “bereft of new ideas”. But often these same people are the first to complain that we are already over governed, have too many laws and that the Government should just concentrate on making sure that the laws we already have are implemented and managed properly before heaping yet more on the populous.
My reason for not making it to the Queen’s big day out and Parliament’s State Opening is that I am in Romania meeting Parliamentarians and visiting health services with a small UK Parliamentary delegation. Contrary to some fears we are not here to select some nice new neighbours for Mr ‘Faridge’. Though many of those we meet have joked that they would not object if he wanted to come and live as a neighbour to them. In fact they are genuinely keen on British people coming to visit the country.
I didn’t detect, as some suspect, that most Romanians already had their suitcases packed ready to come to the UK. In fact, of the 2 million ex pat Romanians most are in Italy, Spain, and France with the UK and Germany fighting it out for 4th and 5th place.
Comments and news reports in the UK had created a distinctly frosty reception amongst some but, in the main, Romanians are a proud people who are understandably offended by those who use them in the politics of fear in any country.
You can contact Andrew George by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. His constituency office can be contacted at Trewella, 18 Mennaye Road, Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4NG. Telephone: 01736 360020.
Andrew George MP
Kernow a’n West ha Syllan
West Cornwall and the Scillies
Constituency of St Ives
Tel: 01736 360020
Fax: 01736 332866
3rd June 2014