Can anyone get a full house?
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Scrapbook exposed the questionable professional credentials of the Tories calamitous by-election hopeful Maria Hutchings last week. The gaffe-prone candidate described herself as a “business woman”, name-dropping blue chip companies like Texaco as “clients” — but had apparently never been a director of a company or held shares in an enterprise for which she worked.
“Business and Development Manager”
Claiming that he “can help bring new jobs and investment to our area”, his “business” credentials sounds impressive. But his council register of member’s interests shows that Thornton works as a mortgage advisor to Southampton-based Simply Finance. Doubtless a worthy trade – but not a business leadership role.
“Independant [sic] Mortgage Advisor with contract to Simply Finance Group, Drivers Wharf, Southampton”
Political candidates who have worked in the private sector should stop over-egging their “business experience” to suggest they are entrepreneurs or have held leadership roles in SMEs.
Nick Clegg’s version of events on the harassment allegations against Lord Rennard is unravelling at an alarming rate. The deputy prime minister had previously claimed that his office were informed of “general concerns” regarding the party’s chief executive in 2008.
But with a former Lib Dem MP revealing she told the deputy prime minister about Rennard’s behaviour when he became party leader in 2007, Clegg was forced to defend himself on a radio phone in this morning.
His poor attempt to account for this gap is already being likened to Richard Nixon:
“I can only tell you the truth as I can recollect it now”
And it got worse, with caller “Cathy from Dulwich” turned out to be, errr, Cathy Newman from Channel 4 News, who seized on his admission that Rennard didn’t simply resign as chief executive for “health and family reasons” as claimed at the time. LBC producers didn’t seem to be impressed, however, and cut her off before she could follow up.
If it looks like a cover up and smells like a cover up …
Top Liberal Democrats linked to the cover-up of alleged sexual harassment by former party chief exec Lord Rennard are to address a party rally on, erm, International Women’s Day. In an ironic turn of events, the gathering on “meaningful gender equality” will be addressed by Nick Clegg, who despite previous denials was forced to admit he had known about Rennard’s behaviour for five years, and women’s minister Jo Swinson, who has been accused of “not acting” over allegations.
Page 24 of the party’s spring conference guide:
The Liberal Democrats and our predecessors have long championed this agenda. Whether it be in the campaign for women’s suffrage, legislating to recognise economic and legal rights, demanding equal pay, fighting for the right to choose, and challenging continuing discrimination and barriers to equality.
One barrier to equality being an alleged of a “sex-for-favours” culture in which female candidates and staff were pressured into sex.
The training event ‘Staying out of jail’ also makes a reappearance on page 30.
Too late for Chris Huhne, though.
It’s not the ‘crime’ that gets you: it’s the cover up.
Publicity hungry philanderer Lembit Opik is to participate in a wrestling match outside Parliament. The spindly-limbed former MP will take on a champion heavyweight wrestler in a bid to highlight the case of a controversial “kill or be killed” self-defence guru who has been banned from the UK by the Home Office.
Opik has already organised a series of Skype conferences for MPs with Tim Larkin, who trains his clients in ”the lethal application of force”. While Larkin attempted to charm MPs with his “peaceful way of the warrior” philosophy, Scrapbook can only assume someone in the Home Office is wise to his scaremongering sales techniques and guidance on how to gouge out someone’s eye:
“You’re not going to touch his eyes with your fingertips — you’re going to put your hand through his skull, driven home with your entire mass. You’re going to get your hand wet to the second knuckles in his eye sockets.”
The stunt will be the third time Opik has entered the ring since he was dragged into one still wearing his suit (video below) after deciding to pick a fight with an 18-stone gentlemen going by the name “Kade Kallous”. Opik was stretchered away with cracked ribs after facing Kallous in a ”rematch” in June of last year.
A pantomime for credulous children, a “professional wrestling” ring seems a most suitable venue for Opik’s particular brand of attention seeking.
The Tories’ candidate in the Eastleigh by-election described David Cameron’s coalition deal with Nick Clegg as a “pact with the devil”, according to The Sun. In an bitter online tirade after she lost to Chris Huhne in 2010, Maria Hutchings wrote:
“The Lib Dems have a reduction in seats and yet they might help govern Britain — INSANE”
Labour sources told the paper that Hutchings was “lurching from gaffe to gaffe”.
No wonder Tory spinners are so desperate to keep her away from the media.
Under Vince Cable’s leadership, civil servants at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills are amongst the most demotivated in Whitehall, according to their own internal polling.
This story of terrible employee relations comes from within the government responsible for the government policy lead on, erm, employee relations — not to mention driving growth as the economy bumps along the bottom.
Perhaps most damningly of all, just 19% of staff answered positively to the statement: “When changes are made in BIS they are usually for the better”.
With Cable hanging around in the forlorn hope of becoming deputy PM in a 2015 Labour/Lib Dem coalition, there is one change at BIS which would definitely be for the better. Despite the department’s woeful performance, however, it is highly unlikely that Clegg would wield the knife.
Better to have Cable pissing out the tent than in.