Wednesday, July 02, 2008

David Clelland MP: Political Hero

What can I do but tip my hat to the Labour MP for Tyne Bridge David Clelland after he told a constituent "I don't want your vote, stick it". Some may be surprised by this reaction, they might think that as a Tory supporting blogger, and a right winger I would be waving my arms in faux moral outrage, however, not this time.

You see, David Clelland was brutally honest with his constiuent who wrote to him with his concerns and said he would lose his vote if he didn't change his views. All the criticisms the constieunt made about civil liberties and Clelland's party line voting record (for the most part) were valid, but that does not mean Clelland, or any MP for that matter, should placate them.

Honesty, and principle are a rare thing in the 24/7 media politics of today, and for an MP to be happy to tell a voter he can stick his vote because he disagrees with him is an MP that I would always hold close to my heart. I recall a tale I once heard about a Tory candidate from 2005. I won't say his name but he lost whilst managing to turn the seat into a hyper-marginal.

However, whilst out cavassing he was presented with the situation where a voter shouted from his living room to his wife who had answered the door "if that's the Tory tell him to fuck off". The candidate simply shouted back "well fuck off yourself then". After all what is the point of trying to get a vote where you know you're not going too? Clelland has done nothing wrong, in fact he's a hero for being so honest.

18 comments:

Adam McNestrie said...

Labour to the voters of Glasgow: we don’t really want your votes anyway

If things continue in their present vein, Labour may be forced to adopt this tactic in the upcoming by-election. I suspect that there are a lot of votes there that Labour would be very wise to renounce all interest in before voters are given a chance to go to the polling booth. In this case, unworldly self-denial – the mortification of the political flesh – might just be the least worst strategy.

They tried the thing with the top-hats. This is only slightly more outlandish…

To read more of my views, link to my blog.

Mike Kingscott said...

So, an MP who slapped down a constituent with valid views is to be admired? Dizzy, you've changed... Disappointed.

dizzy said...

No, an MP who has stood u[p for himself and said "I don't want your vote" is to be admired. His views suck, but his honesty about them doesn't.

James said...

He was elected by a majority rather than unanimously - hence he represents the majority view of his constituents (reprehensable as they are to me).

“This just shows the arrogance of the man,” Mr Scott said. “He does not listen to the people he represents.”

This just shows the arrogance of Mr Scott to me - his views are in the minority where he lives, he obviously won't be voting for David Clelland, so why would Mr Clelland care what he did with his vote?

His job is to represent the majority of his constituents who daftly voted for him, not the views of someone who doesn't and likely never will.

Still, Tyne Bridge is obviously full of dickheads to have elected him.

Benjamin said...

What too many politicos forget is that there is a line between soliciting a vote and becoming a prostitute ready to do anything the client (voter) wants.

I used to work for an MP and some of the demands made by voters (invariably coupled with "...or you don't get my vote") were frankly outrageous and/or bonkers.

I'm with Dizzy on this - at least Clelland was honest ... maybe stupid, but honest.

peter whale said...

I think party lineing M.P.s are the most despicable creatures on the planet and have done more harm to society than good. They lie when they are elected to represent a constituency and then represent the party only. The voter knows where he stands in Clelland's constituency so the long goodby to him then.

Lord James Bigglesworth said...

If more people would just tell more people to F off, the world would be a better place.

JuliaM said...

I agree with the sentiments, Dizzy, but given this was a letter to a constituent, I think it could have been worded a little more politely...

Henry Crun said...

Lord Jim, I think you are right. I wish I was PM just so I could ring Robert Mugabe and say "Oi Bob! Fuck Off!!".

I wrote to my (Labour) MP about his support for the 42 day detention bill, I am yet to receive a reply.

Alex said...

However, whilst out cavassing he was presented with the situation where a voter shouted from his living room to his wife who had answered the door "if that's the Tory tell him to fuck off". The candidate simply shouted back "well fuck off yourself then".

From experience, that is probably not such a smart move. Wifey might have been a wavering voter - OK, perhaps less than a 5% chance - but equally that sort of response gets talked about with the neighbours.

I have even known voters who always want the chance to slag off the Conservative candidate before every election, although they still vote for him.

The purpose of campaigning is to raise profile with supporters and potential supporters whilst minimising vote costing gaffes.

Anonymous said...

Can't agree with you on this one Dizzy.

The MP's constituent seems to be asking very reasonable questions, that deserve reasonable answers.

There must be far far worse letters going through MP's inboxes that do deserve a F**k Off but not this particular one.

kinglear said...

Bang on - our politicians HAVE to retain principles. That's the point of democracy, you don't vote for what you don't like. Right on Dizzy ( BTW how's the tan??)

Bill Quango MP said...

Oh why won't BT respond like that to me when I abuse them for not sorting the junction box.

It would be a fantastic meal ticket for my hurt feelings, stress caused, human rights violated, dismay, and general damage to my well being.
I could claim for unexpected letter abuse that damaged my eyes with a lack of concern or care for my views as a paying customer.

But no,the buggers just write me "Your views are important to us and we will treat them as soon as we are able. In the meantime have you considered our new Blah,Blah text and sing service. Just 92p / min.... patronising buggers.

the surreptitious elephant said...

If he'd said the same in an intelligent way, he would be worthy of respect. As it is, he just sounds like a yob - which is unsurprising, since most of our parliamentarians are more deserving of ASBOs than their constituents.

Lola said...

I don't quite agree with you Mr Dizzy. He is right to have principles. And he should hold them strongly and well. But he should also acknowledge that his constituent has principles as well. He has been elected to represent those that both voted for and against him. He is the MP for ALL his constituents.

It would have been better to write a clear letter arguing why he was not going to do as asked and set out his position clearly, and politely. Of course we do not know how rude the constituents letter was (do we?) which might in some way justify his response, but even so it would be better to be polite in reply. or perhaps he could have written a dignified response saying that this was not the way to address an MP as it was an insult to all MP's.

In other words there is no excuse. He should have been courteous and polite, but he was right, absolutely, to hold to his principles.

Anonymous said...

Nothing like some wild speculation, eh? Check the source and then you can judge for yourself.

Here's a link to the letters in full:

http://forums.hexus.net/question-time/141742-so-i-write-letter-my-mp.html

Anonymous said...

I admire any Labour MP who can tell people to suff his vote, well done, lets hope he is not shouting in two years time if only. Because I think a lot of voters will be saying to labour stuff you

Mr Potarto said...

He didn't tell him he didn't want the vote because of any principles, as he said later, "he caught me at a bad time".

That's about as clear cut admission of a mistake you'll ever get from an MP. He was in a bad mood and took it out on a constituent. Someone who pays his wages and who he is duty bound to listen to.

Funny kind of hero.