Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Oracle Speaks!

Clear the decks folks, I've got incoming! 

Yes, an actual letter, on real House of Commons notepaper, dictated by the great man Paul Uppal MP himself - and it's a peach. 

You may recall that I took issue with this greasy, grovelling speech Uppal made in support of that corrupt fixer Liam Fox, who subsequently resigned as Minister of Defence:
I thank my right hon. Friend for the sterling work he has done in respect of Sri Lanka. Will he elaborate on the work that he has done in relation to the Sri Lanka Development Trust, and specifically on the work that Ministers have done in that regard?
I smelt a rat. It crossed my nasty, suspicious mind that Uppal knew absolutely nothing about Fox's 'sterling work' in Sri Lanka, and was simply kissing bottom in the hope of tangible or reputational benefit - building social capital, in other words. 

So I asked him:

Dear Mr Uppal,
the Hansard record of Defence Questions records you complimenting Dr Liam Fox on his 'sterling work' in Sri Lanka in regard to the Sri Lanka Development Trust. Newspaper investigations reveal that the two bodies forming the Sri Lanka Development Trust, the Sri Lanka Infrastructure Development Fund and the Sri Lanka Charitable Fund do not have the requisite permits to operate in Sri Lanka, and appear to have undertaken no activity other than to pay for Dr. Fox's aeroplane tickets. Could you explain to me a) what the 'sterling work' might be, b) what you knew about the Sri Lanka Infrastructure Development Fund and the Sri Lanka Charitable Fund at the time you addressed the House on this issue and c) the sources of your information on this matter?

If he had done any homework, he'd have found out that the 'Sri Lanka Development Trust' wasn't legally registered in that country, and its only 'work' was to pay for Liam's flights. So it was a front for Fox's dubious huckstering. 

So what does little Paul say?
Though I have never spoken directly to Dr Fox regarding his work in Sri Lanka, I sat in on several briefings for members of Parliament in which his work was discussed. Like yourself, I was surprised with the information that came to light regarding some of the facts regarding the Development Trust. 
To me, this sentence is a weaselly masterpiece: it displays Uppal's talent at what the tabloids call a 'reverse ferret': entirely changing one's opinions without ever admitting that one even had a different opinion, and edging away from the previous object of adoration. It also neatly evades my original question: what was the 'sterling work' Liam Fox was doing? My suspicion is that Uppal has no idea. The 'briefing' was, I suspect, a list of question handed out to obeisant backbenchers ordered to support Fox in his hour of need. The problem with hounds, however, is that they obey the Master, not the Fox: once the order is given, they'll join in the feeding frenzy. Un-Fantastic Mr. Fox was disembowelled by his own. 

The rest of the letter, sadly, rehashed Fox's evasive and dishonest resignation statement, claims that Fox saved Libya, and - worst of all - uses the phrase 'going forward', which in my book is the verbal tic of the scoundrel. 

Now, you might object to me pursuing this one. MP grovels to his superiors in hope of future advancement - what a shocker! But that's exactly what I object to. We're so used to our representatives playing these seedy, dishonest games that we forget that they're meant to have their minds fixed on higher things. If we just accept that they're weaselly chisellers, they've won. We need more people picking them up on the little evasions, the arse-kissing, the contempt for principle - and the public - that they evince so frequently. 

Let's point and laugh every time they ask a planted question, each time they score petty points off each other rather than pursuing the public interest, every time they behave tribally rather than maturely. If we don't make them grow up, nobody will. 

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