by Taimour Fazlani Follow @talkativebeard
In an ideal world no public servant would suffer from fallibility, as those privileged positions would be dispensed amongst only the most capable, judicious and moral of us. However in reality this is rarely the case. Some politicians (that’s all politicians to the sceptics amongst us like Russell Brand) do fail and do screw-up. In November the Daily Mirror looked at every UK election over the last 750 years, and found that over half of UK constituencies have ALWAYS had a white man in power since the 13th century. Could there be a correlation between that and the seeming impunity of the majority of politicians on this list? Tell us in the comments after reading 2014’s roundup of the top 10 worst screw-ups by politicians within the UK.
- Blame the Poles
What list of political scandals wouldn’t include leader of the gaffe prone UKIP party. In an incredulous move Nigel Farage, Esq. blamed his late arrival at a Port Talbot conference on immigrants. I hope you’ll agree this is probably the worst excuse used by a politician in all of history. On the Daily Politics show Farage obtained heights of satire that a Thick of It scriptwriter would covet when he stated that traffic on the M4 was the culprit for his tardiness. ‘It took me six hours and 15 minutes in the car to get here. It should have taken three and a half to four,’ he later said. ‘That has nothing to do with professionalism. What it does have to do with is a country in which the population is going through the roof, chiefly because of open-door immigration’ (because surely that’s the road used by all immigrants during the course of their day when they go out to take jobs from us!). Having paid £25 for the pleasure attendees of the conference were left dismayed by the no-show ‘Poundland Enoch Powell”.
- Love for the candy
Tory MP Nigel Mills got into hot water just for doing what comes naturally to most iPad users: playing Candy Crush. I wonder if he purchases more lives or swaps favours on Facebook… Mr. Mills, MP for Amber Valley, admitted to ‘probably having had a game or two’ during a committee meeting of the Works and Pensions Committee. In an era where politicians are being hounded for their commitments to the public, it was not a wise move. Nevertheless what followed was a number of schoolboy apologies, ranging from ‘It was a long meeting on pension reforms, which is an important issue that I take very seriously’ to ‘I shall try not to do it again in the future’. Mr. Mills seems to have forgotten that a certain section of the population doesn’t expect much from him or his party so at least next time pretend like you care!
- The mysterious Lord Redesdale
Mr. Resedale, the former Lib Dem energy spokesman, was asked to apologise to the House of Lords after it was found that he failed to declare his links to private companies (well, there’s a relationship you rarely see with politicians). Mr. Resedale failed to mention or register seven directorships with business and academic institutions. He also failed to mention a further six roles. One particularly interesting position Mr. Resedale held is his directorship of the Carbon Management Company (Qatar) Ltd — a company supposedly ‘set up to undertake work for the government of Qatar as part of a climate change meeting in Doha’. Making him a very mysterious Lord indeed.
- Kerry Smith, who’s quite the racist
Lame excuses are not the only things that UKIP are good at; they also do xenophobia, sexism and racism quite well too. One member paticularly well versed in such topics is Kerry Smith. The party candidate in South Basildon and East Thurrock, Kerry Smith referred to a woman with a Chinese name as a ‘chinky’ and called gay people ‘fucking disgusting old poofters’. After issuing an apology the candidate and member said he was ‘completely wrong and my comments were fuelled by frustrations’. More comically Mr. Smith’s prescription sedatives were blamed for hid racism and discrimination, the official statement being that ‘while he was on sedatives by his own account, not really speaking [or] thinking rationally’. All I want to know is which sedative is it exactly that makes you a racist? Answers on a postcard.
- Blair’s legacy
Not necessarily a political screw-up but the ‘The Global Legacy’ award given to Tony Blair is an incident worthy of notice. Save the Children, a respected and well known charity decided to present Mr. Blair with a global legacy award for his ‘commitment to Africa’. I’m not exactly sure as to which commitment towards Africa Mr. Blair was being recognised for — however, the backlash towards Save the Children from the public and employees alike was one that the organisation will never forget. With petitions circulating internally and the public petition amassing 120,000 plus signatures, I can only say that this time Blair went down, but he also took Save the Children down with him.
- Miliband, the boy who just wants some attention
Poor Ed, in an effort to appease everyone within the vicinity decided that it would be a great idea to pose with the The Sun’s special edition which was sent to millions of readers to mark the start of the World Cup. Apart from The Sun being a sensationalist piece of garbage in my humble opinion, what dear old Ed forgot was that The Sun has long been criticised for its reporting on the Hillsborough disaster. The outrage was so explosive that Miliband’s own Labour councillor to Liverpool stated, ‘Seeing Ed promoting the Sun has rocked me to my core’. Word to the wise Ed: we know your poll ratings are down but you’re not helping your case.
- UKIP’s at it again
Jane Collins, the UKIP MEP for Yorkshire and Lincolnnshire had to apologise to Mark Russell after she called him a pedophile on twitter. Russell, who is the head of the Church Army charity and also a Labour party member, was not only called a pedophile by Collins but moreover during the exchange she tweeted, ‘Yes because we’d soon stop your criminal activity. Paedos leave our kids alone. #Ukip.’ Why did she call him a pedophile? Well that’s not clear but eventually Collins, who admitted herself that she can be a ‘bit hot headed’, tweeted ‘I apologise for associating you with paedophiles but you’re still supporting a party that has failed our children badly.’ Well Ms. Collins, if Mark Russell belongs to a supposed ‘pedophile’ party then god knows what UKIP should be branded.
- Mr. Mayor, the police station is closed?
Though this particular screw up didn’t make the national news, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to make mine. Boris had to apologise to the residents of Waltham Forest over the lack of communication offered to locals once it was decided that the police station in Leytonstone was to be shut down. Having felt the anger of locals concerning the length of time it may take the police to get to an incident Mr. Johnson apologised stating that ‘if there was an oversight’ in the communications process, then he duly apologises. However many members of the Labour London Assembly remain skeptical, one member even stating that ‘I am deeply concerned that this conditional apology not only suggests that he wasn’t aware of the situation at Waltham House, but also fails to grasp the seriousness of the situation’ . You’re right, Labour member; we also don’t think he knows what’s going on in Leytonstone let alone London.
- Lord Freud and the minimum wage
Our welfare reform minister Lord Freud has certain ideas when it comes to disabled workers. He believes that some disabled workers are ‘not worth’ minimum wage. Although a very pathetic apology was made (as is usually the case with politicians) the issue brought to light many of Mr. Freud’s ideas when it comes to disabled people, with suggestions from him that disabled workers could be paid as little as 2 pounds per hour for their labour. Given that Freud was previously an investment banker, such statements from the privileged concerning the poor isn’t even a bit surprising.
- The damnable impunity of Boris Johnson
It seems that being a mayor is not the only thing Boris Johnson has a poor record in. The ‘flamboyant’ Mr. Johnson had to apologise to a nine year old boy after sending him to the floor during a very aggressive tackle at a children’s match designed to promote the new health report. When asked about his seemingly aggressive tackle Mr. Johnson replied, ‘To be honest, I’m a rugby player. I was always getting penalised for fouling when I played football.’
Never short of scandal but always short of a comeuppance Channel 4 dedicated an exclusive report to him in November. ’Boris Johnson is under fire over his handling of a £1bn deal for a Chinese firm to redevelop a huge site on London’s historic Royal Albert Dock.’ At the same time there were also questions over donations to the Conservative Party.
’In May 2013 the Greater London Authority granted Advanced Business Park – known as ABP – the tender to develop the 35-acre site at the Royal Albert Dock, a derelict site opposite London’s City Airport. The development was hailed by Boris Johnson as “a beacon for investors”.’
The long and short of it is Boris not only didn’t look into the human rights record of the Chinese company ABP (it’s abysmal) but it turns out that they are a defacto subsidary of his own agency. ABP have shared offices in Beijing with London and Partners, Boris Johnson’s taxpayer-funded agency set up to attract foreign investment to London since March 2012.
One of the company’s employees is married to the Home office minister Lord Bate. She not only pushed for the deal but has made large contributions to the Tory party.
’Between 2010 and 2012 Xuelin Black gave donations which total at least £162,000 to the Conservative Party. Since ABP won the contract these big donations have dried up… her donations are now about £5,000 a year, not enough to appear on the Electoral Commission’s public register of party donations.’
With the seemingly overwhelming amount of evidence dug up by Channel 4 against Boris, he takes our top spot. Don’t fret though, he (almost) always gets away with it.
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Taimour Fazlani is an activist with with a keen interest in subject matters, ranging from metaphysics to economic systems. Born and raised in Karachi he has since lived in Glasgow and London. A book addict with a passion for documenting injustices encompassing the whole globe. When not at a protest, demonstration or social events, he can be found training in Muay Thai. @talkativebeard Website Taimour Fazlani
This piece was edited by Samantha Asumadu.
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One thought on “Top Ten Political Screw Ups by UK Politicians in 2014”
The introduction to this article is just dim. For most of the last 750 years, women didn’t have the vote and couldn’t stand for parliament. Indeed, for most of that time hardly anyone had the vote. The idea that those historical facts have any bearing on the racial makeup of the people (you have chosen to put) on this list is frankly laughable. It is simply racist to suggest that someone’s race has anything to do with their moral character.
I’d also like to point out that you have wholly missed the point of what Lord Freud said. As this controversy was covered in quite a lot of detail in the press, I can only imagine that you didn’t read it or didnt understand it. Freud’s point was that the work that some disabled people do is not worth the national minimum wage to a company. As a result, these people are made unemployable by the minimum wage. He was discussing whether it would be better in these limited circumstances to allow an exception to the min wage so that these people could enjoy the experience of being able to work purposefully and productively.