Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Kissing bottom - a masterclass.

Paul Uppal, my Tory Scum MP is learning the fine art of ingratiating himself with his masters. The skill here is not to add anything to the debate (this, I feel, is beyond him intellectually and politically), but to remind the minister that he is alive and in want of a cushy job.

Here's a superb example:

Oral Answers to Questions - Foreign and Commonwealth Office: South-East Asia (14 Sep 2010)
Paul Uppal: Does the Minister not agree that our relationship has been uniquely enhanced by the recent visit by a trade delegation to the Indian subcontinent, and also by the fact that the United Kingdom has been at the forefront of alleviating the floods and stress facing the Pakistani population?

Does this help a minister decide policy? Does it ask probing questions about the government's priorities or actions?

It does not. It's worthless flannel by a man who likes nothing more than the sound of his own voice. For instance, what does 'uniquely' mean in this context? What's the metric by which we can judge whether the 'United Kingdom has been at the forefront'? It's obviously and demonstrably untrue that the UK has 'alleviated' the floods - unless King Cnut was entirely wrong. Nature tends to drain the water away, not distant governments.

Likewise, I'm not entirely clear how the UK government has alleviated Pakistani stress levels. They're still hungry, homeless and displaced. The UK has sent a lot of material, as have the public, but that's not quite the same thing.

Above all, I'm lost when it comes to understanding how he manages to link a trade delegation to India (the famous weapons-flogging trip during which Cameron managed to insult Pakistan) and the Pakistani floods.

It's just words, strung together to sound impressive but actually achieving nothing except self-promotion.

The government minister takes the opportunity handed to him to wheel out some boilerplate nonsense:

Henry Bellingham (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Africa and the United Nations), Foreign and Commonwealth Office; North West Norfolk, Conservative)
South-east Asia includes some of the world's most important emerging powers, and offers huge opportunities for the United Kingdom. The Government enjoy excellent relations with most countries in the region. Burma is the exception, but we continue to work for democratic change so that its people can realise their potential.
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising the subject of the Prime Minister's recent visit to India. It was a huge success, and has greatly enhanced our bilateral relationship. In particular, I warmly welcome the broadly based trade and investment agreement between India and the European Union. As for the Pakistani floods, our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the victims, but I am pleased to say that theDepartment for International Development has responded very positively by providing £64 million of aid.
But the Labour spokesman rudely points out the flaws:
I do not regard deciding to attack Pakistan when in India as a great foreign policy triumph, particularly on the part of a Prime Minister of this country.
Update: lazy Paul's been checking up on me:
IP address: 194.60.38.# (Houses of Parliament)

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Benjamin Judge said...

I know you are an angry man but isn't that just how parliament works - a member from the leading party standing up and saying "would the right honourable gentlemen agree with me that we are a smashing party doing a spiffing job and everything is just dandy" and then the Prime Minister/Minister replying "I thank the honourable gentleman for bringing this up, yes we are great etc etc"

No point singling Uppal out in this. The bullshit is ubiquitous.

The Plashing Vole said...

Absolutely right - I only singled out Uppal because he's my MP and in a hurry. Day in, day out, Parliament mimics democracy less and less convincingly.

Benjamin judge said...

And because you are trying to develop some sort of Viking blood feud with him (of which I whole-heartedly approve by the way)

The Plashing Vole said...

That's true too.