News Ketchup….featuring the mysterious silence of Peter Hain

There’s a new YouGov study out showing that Labour and the Tories are now running neck and neck….on being old and tired. To be precise, two-thirds of Brit voters now think the major alternatives are ‘old and tired’ in one incarnation or another. With so much still to play for, there’s every chance that by 2015, all three will be seen as knackered.

Which is why the UKIP result at the Feltham By-Election was so disappointing for its supporters. Here we are with a full spectrum of plonkers at Westminster, and nasty foreign persons hoping that being rude about us will disguise the reality of the EU drifting towards the biggest default disaster in recorded history. But the Party alleged to stand for an Independent Britain free from the expensive clutches of Europe gets just….5.5% of the vote in a by-election.

Look at the total turnout, and you will note that the two-thirds who think the big boys are old and tired, understandably, didn’t bother to vote. But to poll fewer votes than the LibDems – a Party which garnered just 675 votes in its last outing – is a disgraceful result for any organisation aspiring to represent a silent mainstream of British feeling.

Almost three in four didn’t vote. If UKIP wants to make real progress, these are the people it has to target at by-elections. Party insiders still insist to me that Farage’s campaigning and canvassing systems are seriously Mickey Mouse. Having seen them in action during last year’s Bercow in Bucks disaster, I believe them.

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As predicted confidently here during the week, France’s credit outlook was lowered by Fitch Ratings, citing Europe’s failure to find a “comprehensive solution” to the debt crisis. Belgium – a country 75% dependent on EU admin for its gdp – was lowered two notches, approximately three too few. Next week we should expect S&P to follow suit. Fitch described a solution to the eurozone’s debt problems as ‘beyond reach’, which must come as a disappointment to the 99% of eurocrats who think it’ll all blow over by Christmas.

David Cameron’s botched attempt to split France and Germany by vetoing the idea of a new Treaty may have derived from a chilly lunch he had with Angela Merkel during November, in which Cammers gained the distinct impression that the German Chancellor would be quite happy to give the Brits their own way on financial (ie, City) matters. This is the FT’s version of events, but I don’t buy it.

The Slog’s German sources continue to insist that Schauble and Sarkozy separately convinced Merkel following the lunch that the British were trouble, and should be slapped hard. (At this point, Schauble, Sarkozy and Brussels were still hatching The Big Idea to forgive both silly lending and even sillier borrowing).

Nearer the truth (for me) is that Angela Merkel has an aim in mind – to stop lazy ClubMeds and greedy banks from getting their hands on any more German bailout money – but beyond this, she is quietly enjoying her ability to make others jump. During the lunch, when Cameron at one stage asked what the French view would be, the Fuhrerine replied (without looking up) “Nicolas will agree”. She wasn’t specific about what he’d agree to, because she didn’t feel it mattered.

She is wrong about this, as Frau Doktor Merkel is wrong about many things. I very much doubt if, when push comes to shove, either the Dutch or the French will agree to having unelected pointy-heads in Brussels making fiscal decisions for them. During the same lunch, she apparently confessed to finding UK politics “mystifying”. Given we’re her third biggest trading partner, such ignorance is shocking….although roughly on a par with the FCO’s grasp of European and wider geopolitics.

In many ways, I admire Mrs Merkel: anyone keen to tell the banks to go f**k themselves is fine by me. But in hoping for this – and pressing Prussian financial morality onto latin States – she is a degree in anthropology short of an answer. Unless someone stops Berlin – and soon – it will drag the entire EU down into the vortex with it. That’s also fine by me, but both the UK in particular – and 300 million citizens across the continent – will suffer unnecessarily.

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On November 30th this year, people acting for Peter Hain issued the following intriguing press release:

‘Earlier today Peter Hain met with Metropolitan police officers leading Operation Tuleta regarding an investigation into the alleged hacking of his official and personal computers during his time as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. I can confirm that Mr Hain has instructed the lawyer Charlotte Harris of Mishcon de Reya to act on his behalf.’

I understand that veteran Newscorp-basher Tom Watson is especially interested in this development: but word reaches me that it may not be as clearcut a case of pc blagging as he hopes.

Hain was indeed being hacked and blagged during his period as Northern Ireland Secretary after 2005. He’s been aware of this for some time, and a fortnight ago had a meeting with Met Plod to discuss what had been going on. Since then he has remained silent on the matter.

Hain resigned as NI Minister on 24th January 2008. He was forced to as a result of information coming to light about him ‘forgetting’ to disclose £100,000 in campaign contributions. I understand this discovery entered the public domain as a direct result of his personal laptop being blagged. The question is, who did it originally – and why?

‘Originally’ is the operative word there. The UK’s security services have never been that keen on Peter Hain. Some elements in both MI5 and 6 remember not just his support for ANC violence, but also his previously strong views about a united Ireland…since of course changed, so that he could carry on up the greasy poll. Hain’s career as a whole has been one long sellout.

When it comes to Irish affairs, there remains the murky question of relations between one Andy Coulson at the News of the World, officers in the security services, and anti-terrorist senior Met Plod Andy Hayman. It remains very unclear indeed as to how Mr Coulson gained access to the numbers of certain security services phones – if indeed he did, as many people allege off the record. What is now accepted by all sides is that at least two senior intelligence officers operating in Northern Ireland at the time of Hain’s NI Secretaryship had their phones hacked.

This is going to give Tom Watson (a man for whom I have a lot of time, by the way) something of a moral dilemma. I’m told Mr Watson holds some dynamite information about this matter, but that both the Labour Party’s spin operation at the time, and of course the Metropolitan Police Force, would be severely embarrassed if the identities of the ‘agents of information’ about Peter Hain’s contribution records on his pc came to light.

It will be interesting to see whether this investigation will lead anywhere. My money is on nowhere. Hain himself, you will recall, did have Plod looking seriously at his alleged electoral fraud for a while. But that too fizzled out unconvincingly. On 3 July 2008, the Metropolitan Police announced that they had referred Peter Hain’s case to the CPS. On 5 December 2008 the CPS announced that the onetime anti-apartheid firebrand would not be charged, because Hain did not control the members’ association Hain4Labour that funded his campaign.

Makes you wonder why he didn’t have any control over an organisation promoting his bid for the Labour Deputy Leadership, but there we are. Plod moves in mysterious ways.

38 thoughts on “News Ketchup….featuring the mysterious silence of Peter Hain

  1. Intentional humour or not, I loved “the greasy poll”!

    I met Hain (as a student demostrator) in his anti-apartheid days and considered him a totally amoral & untrustworthy egotist, putting his career before any other concerns.

    • Ed – I’ve never met the chap in my life, but I regret to say I had already formed that opinion of him. Plus the fact that his face looks like it caught fire once and some thoughtful soul put out the flame with a shovel …

      • Aye to that. Old Leftie mate of mine who engaged in student politics in the early 70s and hence tangled with Straw, said – he was a c**T back then, and he’s a c**t now. Can’t argue with that. I also take profound offence at Straw’s clear hatred of the English – after all, he’s a 2nd gen immigrant, we gave his forebears safety, and that’s what we get back. C**t.

    • ED, I’m trying to think of a labour politician of that generation that your statement does not apply to. I’m struggling to.

      • Actually Hain was a Young Liberal at the time. To be fair, there were and still are quite a few honest, intelligent MPs, of all political persuasions. But they’re mostly invisible and unknown, as only the corrupt self-serving greasy-pole-climbers are in the public eye.

      • Ed P, maybe you know them better than me. But I have formed the opinion that no honest person could have remained in the labour parliamentary party after the last ten years. How could they ?

    • Don’t forget that Peter Hain put his elderly mother on the payroll – at our expense – to do something unspecific in his constituency.

      Another Hain fraud.

  2. “..pressing Prussian financial morality onto latin States ”

    Isn’t this the crux of the matter behind the whole euro
    salmagundi hodgepodge, ie battling the catholic work ethic or ‘manana’, ‘let’s gore and huv anudder Gennuss’?

  3. You cannot blame UKIPs poor canvassing and campaigning for their lack of support. They offer the voters all the things they want. Surely the voters do not need extra ‘canvassing’ before voting for the party that represents all their views? Can they not make some slight effort themselves to find out what parties stand for before voting instead of having everything fed to them by marketing and PR men? Surely they have some obligation to use the logical part of their brains in the process of voting, rather than using the same part of their brain that they use when watching TV adds where image is all that matters and there is no place for logical thought.

    • I agree. You can’t entirely blame poor canvassing or Nigel (behaving like a Disney World character). UKIP are not a rich party, receiving huge sums from unions or financial backers. There are also the massive obstacles, rocks and hard places which give them no publicity at all, unless it is negative. (bbc and other eu loving (financed?) media.)
      There again, you can’t expect sheeple living in a safe labour seat to tear themselves away from the ‘box’ on a wet, cold night and vote for something they don’t understand however important it is to the future of our country.

      • @ Bernard.
        ‘UKIP are not a rich party, receiving huge sums from unions or financial backers.’
        Obama raised most of his campaign money through the internet using a bit of lateral thinking. Pity he didn’t take the same mind set into the White House.
        The UKIP could be a potential game changer in our politics, but if they don’t have the wit to stuff the LDs, then they have no chance. Nigel is a vacuous sound-bite, just like the rest of them. If seven tenths of the electorate didn’t vote then he missed a wide open goal.

    • Most people are politically ignorant. Think of the number of people who still harp back to thatcher being the cause of the worlds ills – yet we are 20 odd years on and not a grain of thought about how Labour did not change anything which she did – yet still they think Labour represent them !

      Whilst we have an x factor obsessed idiocy and a mainstream media determined to present the ’3 party system’ (and the bread and circuses to distract them along with ill considered ‘journalistic opionion’) the idiocracy will continue to exist. UKIP must up their game (and I say that as a supporter who enjoys Farages’ EU speeches.) Unfortunately those who are ‘members’ of the current big 3 are mainly too concerned about their political careers (rather than the country) to cross the floor and make the correct move. If they were really popular local MP’s they could do this without fear of losing their seats ! They must have huge doubts about their own local appeal to have to stick with parties which have no real role in the future of this country.

  4. John; ref. the polling figures – could it not be that it is not necessarily the choice between the parties which is a turn-off for the voters but the system itself? Some root and branch tree surgery is needed amongst the thickets of Whitehall, a regular coppicing if you will, may be what is needed to get people genuinely interested in how their vote is valued and sought by their would-be representatives.

  5. Farage is a good spokesman, but he is not a good leader. The lack of “gravitas” is fatal. UKIP need to hammer their point home.

    Watson seems to me to be just another pol on the make. He happens to be anti-Murdoch now because Murdoch didn’t support Brown-otherwise he’d have been suppressing information along with the rest. A tosser who is anti-free speech.

    Hain, again is another pol on the make, with all the principles of whore-probably less in fact. A fascist.

  6. The demographic/ethnic mix for Feltham is not really UKIP territory, so their poor showing is unlikely to be reflected elsewhere.
    As the EU’s & our economy unravel over the next few months, more of the ‘can’t be bothered to vote’ (i.e., the majority) will hopefully be motivated to take part. It seems unlikely that many would vote for the tired & useless ‘big three’, so UKIP might expect much better results soon. I hope so – whilst not liking Farage very much, I see him as a means to an end: regaining sovereignity.

  7. I agree, Feltham is not exactly UKIP territory. When people are paying £5 for a loaf of bread (thanks to QE) that is when you’ll get real change. People know that something nasty is around the corner.
    Here in the East Midlands I’m hearing of more and more support for UKIP. Also in Yorkshire.

    • RB

      Exactly right; the UK electorate only votes with its wallet and, until they get hit in that area, it will continue to vote for the party that gives out the biggest bribes. The problem is that by the time that happens, voting won’t be the first thing on its mind.

      M.

      • True Morvan, true.
        But how can we get through to people that a huge number of our problems stem back to the eu? Directives, rules, regulations, restrictions, prohibitions, elf ‘n safety and on & on & on……all can be traced back to the eu, but Mr & Mrs average blame the Government ‘flavour of the day’. (Red/Blue – but never the sprouts).
        Eg. When care homes have to close because they can’t afford to impliment eu directives, the public should be told the real reason. eu!
        I’m affected by this HS2 ‘white elephant’. Where does the idea come from. Libs,Labs, Cons? No! It’s from the bl**dy eu. We need to tell people.
        Sorry Morvan. Just ‘venting my spleen’!

      • @Morvan – HS2 nothing to do with EU, Lab government initiative in Jan 2009, always been supported in “principle” by the Cons & LibDems. The only connection it would have, if it ever gets built, with Europe is via HS1 through the Channel tunnel.

        It might qualify for some EU money, if it (EU) still exists, and UK is still a member, and if it ever gets built, and if the EU has any – money.

  8. Hello John, Whilst I agree with much (most) of your reasoning, I have to take issue with the Slog, vis: the Dutch. They have benefitted greatly from the Euro (short term, ie: so far), and are in no hurry to rock the boat. NL is a German satellite, and acts accordingly.

      • No, its a straight forward multiparty agreement.albeit with some probably unnecessary motherhood statements in respect to Economic Convergence

        No binding conditions on non euro states, no tax harmonisation for ANY STATES, no FITT fit up. Just a tightening up of the original budgetary rules and a provision that a signatory (i.e. member states NOT the EU Commission) can take another signatory to the Court of Justice if they think the other signatory is in breach of their obligations under this agreement.

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