Published: 31 December 2017
Was listening to Broadcasting House on the Beeb this morning and John Longworth, when talking about his letter of resignation said of Lord Adonis he "is not elected, he was appointed, doesn't represent anyone". Longworth was promptly contradicted by Paddy O'Connell who said emphatically "He was elected, he was a minister, he was an MP" and then went on to suggest Adonis's views were therefore somehow more valid than those of either himself or John Longworth. Surprisingly Longworth backed down and conceded the point.
At first I thought this was just very sloppy journalism, that O'Connell had misremembered his facts and Longworth had become confused, but the more I think about the more certain I become that this was deliberate misdirection.
When you take the statement apart, that which as whole is untrue, becomes largely true as it is examined in detail.
Adonis was elected, not as an MP but as a Social Democrat councillor on Oxford City Council in 1987, Yes Adonis was a Minister, as a Tony Blair political appointee. Adonis was given a life peerage by Blair to make him eligible for Government office by the back door.
Even the third bit is sort of true. As a member of the House of Lords Adonis is not a "Member of Parliament" as such, not an elected member of the House of Commons, entitled to put MP after his name but, taken with a large pinch of salt, he could be described as a "member"of (a bicameral) parliament sitting in the Lords.
Seems to me that O'Donnell, who would know which contributors were coming up and the issues to which they would speak, had chosen his words carefully in order to diminish Longworth's contribution and promote a view to which the Beeb's political editors largely subscribe. Even if I'm wrong and it was after all just bad research, the affect of this kind journalism, by the nations most trusted news and current affairs network, is pernicious.
Clifford W Fulford 31/12/2017.