Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Paul Rowen- the cost of tripe - £6.66 a word?

Tripe was a favourite of Cyril Smith. He loved to eat it and talk it. Often Cyril would be seen, AWOL from Westminster, in his slippers with a carrier bag shopping for his favourite offal in the Inside Market. What a way to make Rochdale famous? Cyril, Chief Whip of the Liberal party who rarely turned up to Parliament and was more famous for being grossly obese and appearing on Russel Harty and Jim'll Fix it.
The tripe tradition is still strong with Cyril's little helper, current Lib Dem MP Paul Rowen.
Recent events have demonstrated Paul's ability to grease himself up and wriggle out of the limelight when local issues get difficult.

As previously reported on RAW, Paul was due to appear at a public meeting on Gaza, a subject he has just discovered. Not a mention of the troubled region in ANY of his Parliamentary speeches for 2005, 2006, 2007 or until 2008. Nothing reported when he was politically active as Lib Dem Leader in Rochdale Council 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 (when he was taking expenses for being BOTH a councillor and MP).

How odd. 2009 and Paul Rowen now discovers Gaza? Surely this is not political opportunism?

The problem is that Paul appears coy when it comes to public speaking in his constituency about Palestinian issues. He doesn't mind the media being misinformed about his appearances but when it comes down to being fully accountable, things get a tad vague.

The Rochdale Obscurer and Rochdale Online reported that Paul Rowen would be in attendence at the Castlemere community centre meeting. Why did Paul allow this incorrect information to be published? He couldn't be in two places at one time. Then there is the serious lack of communication between his elected colleagues- Cllr Ali or Cllr Coric couldn't attend the meeting to speak on his behalf. The most serious error of judgement came with sending party worker Dave Hennigan to deliver his speech. Shouldn't the MP know his constituents better when it comes to issues of community relations?

On his website, Paul is clear about why he could not attend the Sunday meeting at Castlemere Community Centre on Gaza:

1. He had to catch a Sunday flight to Strasbourg
2. to "push for a European-wide debate on Gaza"
3. He wrote "it is likely I will be speaking for the ALDE Group (Alliance of Libs and Dems in Europe)".

Utter tripe. Or another form of fatty offal - bollocks.

  • Paul could have caught a Monday or later flight, if any attendance at all was needed.
  • The debate on Gaza was due for Wednesday or Thursday.
  • Paul didn't speak in the Gaza debate.
  • His speech made NO MENTION WHATSOEVER that he was representing the ALDE Grouping.
  • ALDE have made no press release on Paul Rowen's brief words on Gaza.
A flight on Sunday, taxis, hotels, restaurants and other incidental expenses, all to deliver a mere 180 words on Gaza - in the wrong debate?

Paul Rowen would be the first to admit he isn't a good public speaker. It was clear that if he had attended the Castlemere meeting in his constituency that George Galloway would have eclipsed Paul in oratory, delivery, passion and knowledge. After all this would have been one of Paul Rowen's first public debates on Palestine. It could have gone very wrong for him.

Instead, on the day it got very ugly for Dave Hennigan.

But how much has it cost to save Paul Rowen from ridicule in a Rochdale debate?

Fancy trips to the Council of Europe don't come cheap. Obviously as a champion for Freedom of Information for MP's expenses, Paul Rowen should let us see all the invoices.

A rough calculation for a standard return flight, taxis, a standard hotel (Queen sized single bed), and a few standard meals comes to about £1200.

Divide that by his 180 words on Gaza.

A devilish £6.66 a word in Strasbourg.

All to avoid speaking on Palestine in front of his constituents on a Sunday afternoon in Rochdale?


Anonymous said...

Cyril "appearing on Russell Harty"?

Wouldn't poor Russell have been squashed?

Maj said...

Rochdale Online have a weird story where all the Lib Dems are patting each other on the back about their Gazan efforts.
Why were they no-where to be seen until now?

Anonymous said...

Portly Paul fluffed his slot in this week's PMQ's.
Well meaning drivel designed merely to get a headline that included "Gaza" in the title.
MP's were transfixed. Not by Paul's oratory but by the sheer tension of his shirt buttons under the extreme pressure of his gut. No belt tightening with the Rowen parliamentary expenses on food and 'entertainment' by the looks of it.
If a taught shirt button fails it could fly over the chamber and have someones eye out.
"Paul Rowen in Brown Eye Scandal"
Now that is a headline that could make tongues wag!