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Being a backbench MP - how boring is that?

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Well obviously not at all, for a busy man of letters like Mr Quango.  But for many …

Today it is reported that a long-serving Labour MP, one Geraint Davies, has been suspended for some kind of alleged hanky-panky, of the unwanted sexual type.  (Didn’t they used to say that was the Tories; and that the typical failing of Labourites was being on the take?)  I have absolutely no idea whatever on the merits of said allegations, which he “doesn’t recognise”.  But I do know Davies, a classic Leftie-Welshman product of Jesus College, Oxford with a curious resemblance to Mark Williams of Welsh snooker fame.

He was a councillor on Croydon Council, then Leader of the Council, then MP for Croydon Central which has for 60 years been a genuine flip-flop marginal constituency.  After duly losing the seat when it came time for yet another flip, he headed off for a safe parliamentary berth in South Wales, his native territory, which is what he always wanted.  It didn’t do him much good: seemingly, he never looked like ministerial material to successive Labour leaderships.  Of late I only really noticed him when he (like many others of worthy intentions in S.Wales) fell for the dreadful Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon scam scheme and gamely tried to promote it.  He, like others who got behind it – some with their life-savings – hoped it would have been a boon for the local economy (and ‘green’, to boot!).  The desperation in their hope was palpable, and mercilessly played upon by greedy promoters.

Anyhow: I never had Davies marked down for my rogues gallery.  He did a couple of silly things when first elected to the Council (e.g., he took in a “homeless family” to his own flat.  That little social experiment didn’t last long) – but he was clearly a cut above the average Labour councillor in intellect (not difficult); a dedicated & capable political organiser; and had an amusing line in ironic throwaway socialist doctrine, mostly to prove he’d read PPE.  He was also a successful small-businessman – an interesting combination.  All in all, it looked just like a classic, purposeful political career: not objectionably careerist, but earning his stripes systematically and always with an eye to the Next Thing.  A safe seat in S.Wales after 25 years of working for it, seemed fair enough.  But only the back benches for him.  Not even, so far as I know, a PPS.

Which all leads me to think about boredom.  Decades of being just lobby fodder.  The endless round of more-or-less hopeless constituency work.  The need to support almost anything that moves in the constituency, however obviously lame.  They all enter Westminster with a Prime Minister’s baton in their knapsack, but … 

… after all that effort: all that expenditure of talent & brainpower & ambition & everything else it takes.  Oh dear.



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