First up is the environment:
There is great news about the economic development of sub-Saharan Africa, which is a possible portent for the future but is also a double-edged sword, because that development is built on the back of natural and mineral resources. Can my right hon. Friend assure me that the UK will continue to take a lead on sustainability, and will tackle concerns about eco-protectionism head-on?On first glance, this seems innocuous enough. Who could possibly be against improving sub-Saharan economic growth?
The sting in the tail is the last few words. We can ignore 'sustainability' as a meaningless term thrown about by cynical bullshitters. It's 'eco-protectionism' which should concern us. It's a new phrase bandied about by neoliberals to describe state support for environmental technology and infrastructure, such as the massive Chinese investment in the state's railways. So what at first sounds like a pro-environment speech is actually a sneaky way of attacking states for deciding that large-scale action to save the environment might be more important than letting multinational corporations destroy local economies through dumping and monopoly behaviour, and buy abandoning emissions charges and other environmental regulations. Certainly Uppal cares more about corporate profits than the Sub-Saharan poor. But we knew this anyway, didn't we?
OK, so what else has he been up to? There's this childish bit of parliamentary nonsense:
Will the Leader of the House facilitate a debate on the public perception of the politicians in this place and, more specifically and pertinently, now that the dust has settled, on whether that perception was enhanced by last week’s Opposition debate?Which means precisely nothing other than 'aren't the others awful?'. What a fine use of our democracy. What else?
I have a slight confession to make. I spent a great deal of my 20 years in business dealing with swaps, collars, caps and all sorts of financial instruments. The case highlighted by my hon. Friend of its being a fixed-rate product in a sense misses the point. In general, such products were hedges—they were there to mitigate risk. A lot of customers went awry, because the bank would often present the products as a loan but would gear up much more if the risk could be mitigated. Such financial products were often sold on that basis.Finally, Uppal comes out! No, not sexually. But he's always been very 'circumspect', one could say - a harsher critic than I might even say 'secretive' - about his business past. Rightly so: you wouldn't want your largely poor and working-class constituents to know that you're a multimillionaire speculator of the kind who's crashed the economy and sent the city into a spiral of decline.
What does this little speech - admittedly not up there with Cicero in the rhetorical stakes - mean? As far as I can tell, he's suggesting that the banks shouldn't be criticised for selling dubious financial instruments to small businesses. Life's tough. Get over it. I'm sure his constituents will be very grateful for that advice.
All in all, a good week's work for little Paul! No wonder he's too tired and busy to attend the debate on electoral reform and electoral fraud currently underway, despite his obsession with the issue… but then again, there are only 5 Conservatives, 7 Labour and two Plaid Cymru MPs there in total.