Political amnesia

The Norwich-North by-election has thrown up an interesting phenomena, so the reports from mainstream media would appear to suggest.

Political commentators tend to congregate around political activists and forget the world is far wider than myopic interest groups, reading and listening to comments pre and post election saw a focus on the 'Ian Gibson' effect. The suggestion in the world of political punditry suggesting that the fact that Ian Gibson had been axed by the Labour party caused great resentment in the constituency, with people feeling it unfair that he had been singled out by a Gordon Brown vendetta, for being an Independent minded MP.

Ian Gibson voting record Publicwhip
From -------To -------- Rebellions --------------- Attendance
5 May 2005 8 Jun 2009 63 votes out of 897, 7.0% 897 votes out of 1047, 85.7%
7 Jun 2001 11 Apr 2005 52 votes out of 953, 5.5% 953 votes out of 1246, 76.5%
1 May 1997 14 May 2001 16 votes out of 1067, 1.5% 1067 votes out of 1273, 83.8%

Elliot Morley who was also axed, shows few rebellions

From ------ To --------- Rebellions -------------- Attendance
5 May 2005 still in office 5 votes out of 760, 0.7% 760 votes out of 1113, 68.3%
7 Jun 2001 11 Apr 2005 6 votes out of 766, 0.8% 766 votes out of 1246, 61.5%
1 May 1997 14 May 2001 5 votes out of 864, 0.6% 864 votes out of 1273, 67.9%

Which leads the 'vendetta argument' a little thin.

The argument continues other MPs, who are closer to Brown, did far worse and didn't receive the same treatment. It may be true, but does that mean he shouldn't have been axed?

Great play was made on some reports of the lone protester at the celebrations, that this was emblematic of the true feeling in Norwich, that this 'hard working' MP had been hard done by. A lone protester does not make for a rational argument.

Brown may well be hugely unpopular, there may well be many MPs who committed far worse infractions, but that shouldn't leave political commentators in a state of denial.

The simple facts are that Ian Gibson let his daughter live, rent-free, in a flat largely paid for out of expenses, and then sold it to her for below market value. The claiming for a second home for his daughter is and was untenable.

We hear how 'hard working' he was. This has become the mantra of the Labour party spin machine, based on political village gossip, that really everyone in Norwich North thinks he was a good man. We had the absurd sight of Geoff Hoon, on Question Time, defending Gibson on the grounds that he was hard working, this is the same Geoff Hoon, who was found out to have been claiming allowances on two 'second homes' of course by mistake and was forced to return an overpayment, claimed £400 a month in food allowances, lived in a grace-and-favour apartment in Whitehall yet claimed costs for his home in Derbyshire which he flipped within months of losing his grace-and-favour apartment in 2006.

Being hard-working is not in itself a virtue, Bernard Madoff, was by all accounts a very hard working man, unfortunately for those he ripped off, he was a man busy committing financial fraud.

The closed political circus are attempting to make the Labour defeat in Norwich-North to be an opportunity to blame Brown for yet another problem in the Labour Party. Brown may be totally discredited, the Labour Government out of steam and out of touch, but Gibson was the man claiming irregular expenses and it was right he was axed. It was his choice to stand down prior to the election, a good thing I would hasten to add. As a result of the by-election one bad apple has been thrown out of Parliament and that is a good thing, it is a great pity that more do not resign, have not yet been prosecuted and are not being sanctioned.

Irrespective of the size of the indescretion, any discredited MP who is out of office is a good thing. Were the mainstream media commentators to get their noses out of the Westminster trough and smell some real air, they may well also be celebrating this fact.

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