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Monday, 23 June 2008

Like father(in-law) like Son (in-law) - part 2

Part 2 in our series about the similarities between Longdendale Councillor Sean Parker-Perry and his father-in-law Lord Tom Pendry continues with the fact that their Catholic faith seems to conflict with their extra-marital activities.

Lord Pendry's lover was a well-known (well, at one point) actress - Aimi MacDonald (top right in our picture). Curiously, her wikipedia profile does not mention Pendry, but does reveal that she had other Labour Minister lovers, such as John Stonehouse. It was also rumoured she wasn't politically fussy and was linked to John Major at one point. The thing they all have in common is clearly power - anything else is speculation.

The only place on the internet you will find reference to this affair is here - and just in case it's subsequently taken down, we will carry the relevant excerpt from the article below:

...Later she formed a close bond with former Labour Junior Minister Tom Pendry and the couple were seen at a string of London nightspots. When Mr Pendry split from wife Moira in 1984, he said Miss MacDonald had become his "very close and dear friend"...

Hmmn, yes.

Anyway, what's this got to do with Sean? Well, it seems that it is well known in political circles that he's having it off with his fellow Labour Party member, prospective (but as yet failed) Councillor, and well-known James Purnell cheerleader Claire Francis* (bottom right in our picture).

Doing nothing to scotch the rumours, they are frequently seen out in public together.

Like 'the Baron', Sean clearly thinks it's OK to take his pick of the local women-folk behind his wife's back: whilst she's doing her stint as a teacher for the lost souls at the nearby Roman Catholic School in Glossop, Sean's doing the Devil's work (in all its diabolical forms) in Tameside.

Amen to that.

(* - she so loves James that she set up one Facebook group and is an admin for another - the only ones that eulogise him - here and here)

Monday, 2 June 2008

James Purnell's French lessons

Now there's a thought! Anyhow, some kind soul over at the Times Online blog had a stab at translating James Purnell's lingua franca from the video we posted the other day. So without further ado, here it is:

Sylvain Attal (interviewer): James Purnell, studied in France until he was 14 (Purnell nods when presenter opens with “Spectator suggests you are the man who can save Labour from catastrophe”)

James Purnell: You need to ignore both flattering and critical comment from the press. If you pay too much attention you go crazy.

SA: You’re around the same age as Blair was when he was elected leader.

JP: I’m avoiding your question! Gordon Brown is the right person to lead the Labour party and to be Prime Minister. The Spectator is getting a bit ahead of itself.

SA: Obviously you couldn’t say otherwise … Blair and Brown are very different

JP: Blair and Brown created New Labour together. I worked for Tony Blair; there are more similarities than differences between then. They’re a partnership – the most successful Labour has ever had. We’d never won twice before. We transformed the left. Brown is coming to power after ten years…

SA: Is Brown a winner? Is it time for a new generation?

JP: No. The economy is the thing. Blair never had a worldwide economic crisis to deal with. How do we respond to what people are telling us?

SA: It’s not just external conditions – it’s doubts about Brown himself.

JP: With every decision you make in a long time in power, there are people who disagree with that decision. There are two advantages to being in power – you can say look what we’ve achieved (in the UK that’s economic and social success) and you can say look what we’re going to do. Labour has the right values for the future.

SA: Blair became unpopular over Iraq. Isn’t that affecting Brown too?

JP: Yes, it’s important but domestic politics is the most relevant. The last election turned on crime, public services, the economy; we won a majority of 60-odd which isn’t bad! No government is ever perfect or problem-free. Up until now we’ve succeeded in convincing people our values are the right ones and we need to continue to do so.

SA: Why no general election? Was it a lack of confidence?

JP: There’s no need to call one in our system. For example, in France, it would be very surprising if a new leader called an election before the end of the term of the government.

SA: It’s a transition then … Cameron , David Miliband – how are such young politicians given so much responsibility in the UK?

JP: We go directly into national politics. You can become an MP as the first thing you do in politics. Whereas in France I get the impression there’s more of a stepping stone process, it takes more time.

SA: Are UK politicians too young?

JP: The criticism is often that they’re too professionalised. I don’t think they’re too young – there’s a mixture of young and sage [wiser – also implies older].

SA: France’s pensions strikes – did you discuss them with your French counterpart?

JP: We discussed how France and the UK can work together. The Franco-German relationship is important but Europe isn’t just about that. We believe in Europe, a strong and effective Europe; talking and working together is how to resolve the differences which are always there.

SA: You’re not in the Euro. Brown is reputed to be sceptical about the Euro…

JP: There are always some countries that are further ahead. We’re cooperating on defence, we’re at the heart of what’s happening on global warming. France and the UK have more in common than we’d sometimes like to recognise. We’re both nuclear powers, we’re both on the UN Security Council, we are big industrialised economies, we have a history of colonialism … when we work together, Europe works better, and when Europe works better that’s better for all of us.

SA: On pensions – can working longer be described as a progressive idea?

JP: Of course. There’s nothing progressive in avoiding tough choices. There’s a debate – one option we don’t want is for pensioners to be poor. So we’re left with only three choices – work longer, save more or pay more [he says jobs but means taxes]. The Independent Commission recommended a bit of all three. So our system is reforming in that direction.

SA: So you’d be closer to Sarkozy than to [Fran├žois] Hollande?

JP: Our aim is to be progressive. We want a system that gives more money to pensioners, is fiscally responsible, is equal for men and women and is universal. There are many advantages to the generous French system. But in power you have to make tough decisions and that’s what we’re doing.

SA: What about older workers?

JP: There’s a need to change the culture. Until about ten or fifteen years ago, older people worked less; there was a perception they had less to offer. Then some companies really took action so that they had a mixture – like there’s a DIY chain that sees that their older employees can give good advice, they stay in one job for longer. There’s been a change in culture.

SA: Because pensions are less generous?

JP: Yes, maybe. There were some people who simply didn’t have a pension but for most it wasn’t that, it was more that they didn’t want to just stop dead. So they wanted to slow down, work a bit less but keep working maybe two or three days a week.

SA: Are we living in a time when economic efficiency must take priority over social justice? They’re hard to reconcile even if you want to…

JP: The two always go together. Social justice is very important to give people confidence that globalisation doesn’t make them a victim. Social changes give people the confidence to take on economic opportunities and make a success of them. Something we’ve not, as the UK government, been too good at explaining is that we’ve made real social progress, in the last ten years. Our aim has always been to have the economy and social justice go hand in hand.