I have been musing this afternoon on the downfall of expenses cheat Denis MacShane.
Of all the MPs associated with the now divorced Searchlight/Hope Not Hate franchise, three of the most prominent have been Phil Woolas, Denis MacShane and Jon Cruddas. Lets look at these three in order.
Woolas breached the Representation of the People Act in the 2010 general election by making false representations about his Liberal Democrat opponent, having adopted a strategy of trying to 'get the white voters of his constituency angry'. Parliament stripped Woolas of his seat. Looking at the very dubious literature Woolas was ciculating in that campaign, it certainly seems this expert on 'extremism' was unable to tell the difference between supporters of Al-Muhajiroun - who were not active in his constituency - and the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC) - who were.
Next up we have Jon Cruddas. A new Labour insider since his days of advising then Opposition Leader Tony Blair on the unions (one wonders what Cruddas told him?) Cruddas likes to style himself as an intellectual of the left, asking critical questions about race, nationality and Britishness. Unfortunately for an MP in Dagenham and Rainham - where such questions perhaps matter more than most - Mr Cruddas is more at home in the heady intellectual avenues of Notting Hill, where he provides a left alternative to the conservative Notting Hill set. Still, Cruddas does clearly understand the frustrations of those constituents struggling with the price of insuring a Chelsea tractor - Cruddas was recently banned from driving after being stopped in his Land Rover in the West End, minus insurance or an MOT. Keep saving the planet Jon!
And next we have Denis MacShane, the ex-MP for Rotherham. MacShane spent a lot of time on Twitter yesterday morning making various anti-racist statements. Whether this was motivated by his own personal beliefs, or the knowledge that he was hours away from being named and shamed as an expenses cheat (following a complaint orginally made by the fascist British National Party) only he knows. MacShane was forced out of Parliament after wrongly claiming over £7500 in expenses - why he was not prosecuted is a mystery to many. One law for them?
So - these are the three MPs who have been as close as any to Searchlight and/or Hope Not Hate. May I suggest, now the jump season is upon us, that if anyone sees either Gerry Gable or Nick Lowles announcing they have 'spotted a winner' you keep your wallet firmly in your pocket?