Thursday 4 December 2008

Where the hell is Airwash?

It’s been so long since we heard from Erewash MP Liz Blackman in the House of Commons that I’d forgotten what she sounded like.

On Wednesday the MP seconded the Loyal Address – a statement of the Commons’ “gratitude” for the Queen’s speech.

Even she admitted it had been a while since she last spoke and decided it would be a good idea to remind people where she came from.

“My constituency is pronounced ‘Erreywash’, not ‘Airwash’, and certainly not ‘Earwash’, and it is found between Nottingham and Derby,” said the former whip.

It was of course that position in the whip’s office that has prevented her from speaking out in recent times – the idea is that if it’s your job to enforce the party line then you can’t have an opinion of your own.

The way the whip system works is a little archaic and bizarre and something MPs, whips or not, just know. It’s a bit like that unnaturally slow, buttock-clenching walk that everyone in Westminster performs during state ceremonies.

Those close to the top of Labour’s chain of command tell Lobbydog that Blackman’s loyalty is highly valued and that she is an effective operator – a shoe-in for a Government position next time something comes up.

But it’s easy to be loyal when you have an excuse not to say anything publicly.

Now that Blackman has the freedom to sing the people of Erewash should expect her to make up for lost time.

Lobbydog wants to see this ‘effective operator’ holding her own Government to account – the question is whether she’ll be prepared to put her neck on the line and risk future promotion.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes politics demand a politician to be quiet, and listen, which would incidentally be more effective. As such to choose to be quiet does not necessarily mean that you are worried about risking future promotions. However, I personally don't know Blackman well enough. So would be interesting to see how she will operate.

Anonymous said...

She'd better get on with it before it's too late and she finds herself, after the next general election, enjoying the obscurity she so richly deserves.

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