Thursday, October 31, 2013

Former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown says: “I'm an ex-politician”, he is right, his attendance at the House of Commons is a disgrace, all the more reason that there should be a recall mechanism so people can ‘eject’ someone who won’t represent them or attend Parliament

Dear All

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has described himself as an ex-politician.

If you look at his House of Commons appearances you would have to agree with him.

Gordon Brown is at present seat blocking, which is a bit like bed blocking, he is in the House of Commons because it represents networking opportunities for his ‘cottage industry’ which is promoting his own interests.

As an “ex politician” politician, he is sitting about waiting for someone to offer him a realy big pay day in an institution elsewhere, then and only then will he step down from his £60k and expenses job.

For Brown being an MP is just a hobby, and the Westminster facilities are subsidised which is always handy because London is expensive as a place to live.

The former Prime Minister’s gaffe or telling of the truth, take your pick, happened when Brown was asked his view "as a politician" during a panel discussion as part of the World Innovation Summit on Education in Qatar.

He immediately interjected that he was an "ex-politician."

The panel chair, BBC journalist Mishal Husain, said:

"You're still an MP."

Mishal Husain is obviously better informed that Gordon Brown on his status, but then £60k is probably a drop in the bucket as he is probably doing the after dinner speaking circuit which can rake in a fair few bob.

In 2013 he made £1.37 million but gave the money to charity, which is very noble, however, the best way to be seen as a ‘force’ is to network and keep a high profile. This is the way to get a good international job, and I think we can assume that he won’t be giving that to charity if it came his way.

Foreign Secretary William Hague had a good few pay days on the circuit before he had to give up that enterprise; I understand he kept the cash in his case.

A bit of chit chat and walk away with about £20k not bad for an evening’s work and free grub thrown in plus travel and accommodation.

Looks good to me!

Brown has represented the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath area since 1983 but as an ex Prime Minister, he isn’t interested in the little people, he has tasted the jet set lifestyle and residents complaints doesn’t seem to have the same appeal.

The lack of Brown’s work ethic has drawn criticism from Conservative backbencher Henry Smith.

Mr. Smith said that Brown’s "foreign jaunt" showed he "can't even be bothered to turn up for work".

I wouldn’t say that is strictly true, the issue of whether or not he is in foreign climes is irrelevant, if he was in Britain, he still would be absent.
Since the 2010 general election, Mr Brown has spoken five times in the House of Commons.

You can therefore count that on one hand, he spoke four times on constituency issues and once on the phone-hacking affair.

That isn’t good enough, Gordon Brown in my opinion makes the case for a recall mechanism for Westminster, if he was ill, people would understand, but unhappiness at losing an election isn’t an illness.

Surprisingly he has received support from Lord Tebbit, the Conservative former cabinet minister; he paid tribute to him during a question on tax avoidance.

Tebbit asked in the Lords if the minister was "aware that a very good precedent has been set on the avoidance of tax by the immediate past Prime Minister, Mr Brown".

Lord Tebbit continued:

"He does not pay tax on the earnings that spring from the things he does as a former prime minister because he gives all those earnings to charity. Is that not an example which might be followed by other former prime ministers?"

That was a dig at Tony Blair who has been more successful than Brown in wringing millions out of organisations as a consultant and gun for hire.

The money Brown makes goes to the Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown for the employment of staff to support my ongoing involvement in public life.

So, there is an agenda, and I suppose many will comment that his ongoing involvement in public life is in fact ‘job hunting’.

He has a job and that job is as an MP for the people of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, perhaps if he took an active role in the Commons, he would increase his employment chances elsewhere, at present he is just working his ticket and that is unacceptable. Although he won his seat fair and square, he hasn’t done himself any credit since winning it. In fact quite the opposite, he should step down as an MP and allow someone else the chance who wants to do the work, there comes a time when hanging on isn’t worth it.

There should be a recall mechanism for elected officials in order to ensure that they at least attend their place of employment, making a contribution is optional but is generally welcomed.

His actions make a mockery of democracy and insult both the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath and the House of Commons. 

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University  

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