Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Tower Block of Commons

A friend in Winchester advised me to watch this programme as it features our MP Mark Oaten. I appreciate that Oaten is standing down but I can't understand why any MP would put himself forward for such exposure. Anyway, for the sake of publicity, four MPs agreed to live for one week in some of the worst high rise council estates in the country. Oaten went to Dagenham, Tim Loughton (Con) to Birmingham and Iain Duncan Smith to Stratford, East London. These three were staying with residents, sleeping on a sofa or a mattress. The fourth, the Labour MP Austin Mitchell, said he'd only take part if he and his wife were given a flat in a block (in Hull) for a week as he didn't want to live with any member of the public.

It was disastrous publicity for all of them. We saw Oaten blubbing when youths taunted him about rent boys. We suffered the embarrassment of IDS turning up in a suit. We cringed when Tim Loughton seemed more concerned about his own appearance than the living conditions of his hostess. The worst though was Mitchell who got his lunch delivered, presumably because he feared going out of the flat alone and who actually left the estate to escape for dinner with friends. He made no effort to help the people there and spent the whole time gawping at the existence of drug addicts. After all his years in power, it made me sick.


Blogger Eurodog said...

What would I do? To be absolutely honest I would not do it. I would be uncomfortable.

8:03 am  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Hi ED - let's see how Nadine Dorries fares next week as she's replacing IDS

8:57 am  
Blogger kinglear said...

As I endlessly tell anyone who will listen, we actually have no idea how lucky our accidents of birth are. And of course the MPs are completely out of touch with any sort of reality.
The one thing that screams is that our entire drugs policy is a) useless b) not working and c) ridiculously expensive and unworkable anyway.

9:16 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nadine Dorries !! Our very own answer to Sarah Palin mixes with the hoi polloi.

Ah yes 'But I grew up on a council estate..'. Yes, yes dear..

And we believe all your stories about your expenses as well.

I doubt that even the amazing PR prowess of Ellee Seymour could save that woman from herself.

Dissing the gypsies. Alienating the feminists. Still, she does look ravishingly sexy, so I guess there have to compensating yin/yan downsides.

8:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It was disastrous publicity for all of them." Winchester, I didn't see the programme, but I would slightly disagree..

The 'share prices' of these people have been shot, like those of the high street banks, after the MPs' expenses scandal and other stuff.

I wouldn't have thought the Oaten brand has a lot of value left to lose, to be honest.

Austin is a good 'ole boy, but he was mentioned in dispatches over expenses, and his best days as an MP are behind him.

IDS probably didn't have much of a choice - having made himself the poster child of the new modernised caring and sharing Tory party [will believe that when I see it..] he couldn't very well not step up to the plate on this one.

Nadine has little to lose - never backward about coming forward, she has upset her front bench, doesn't toe the party line, and has now upset the speaker. Unlike Palin I cannot believe she has any serious ambition for front-bench politics.

I guess it comes down the old phrase beloved of PT Barnum - "There's a sucker born every minute.."

8:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nadine is definitely putting the cat among the pigeons..


10:00 pm  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Hi Anon - sadly I have to miss the ND instalment tonight.

8:57 am  

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