Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Guess who's back!

Like the undead, failed, mediocre Conservative candidates walk amongst us. In my case, it's Paul Uppal, the self-satirising Tory. For my newer readers, I have a little history with Poor Paul. It's fair to say that I disliked him from the start: a millionaire property speculator with no history of public service, he started his parliamentary career by telling lies about electoral fraud. This led to an amusing exchange of letters between me and the Electoral Commission and the police, and between the EC and Mr Uppal. 
The Commission is not investigating any allegation of fraud in Wolverhampton South West. We made initial enquiries about an error in the count at the 2010 general election. However the matter was closed with no further action as a result of all parties accepting the result of the count.
In a subsequent letter, the EC informed me that:
We are aware of Mr. Uppal's MP statement and we will be contacting him to clarify the matter with him.
At least two Labour MPs called him out for his attack on democracy:
Frank Dobson: Does my hon. Friend agree that what really undermines confidence is when people make smeary remarks and no prosecutions follow because the remarks turn out to have no facts behind them? 
Wayne David (Caerphilly, Labour) Indeed, and that is one of the things to which I alluded earlier, as have ACPO and the Electoral Commission. Many people make complaints, be it in the heat of the moment or otherwise, but are then unable to substantiate their allegations, which often fall by the wayside, completely unproven. 
He also has a nasty habit of assuming that all Sikh people will vote for him because he's a Sikh, despite beginning his political career with a swipe against the 'race relations circus'
The Race Relations Circus 
…the McCarthyistic mouth foaming utterances of the race relations industry, which through accusation alone can slay political careers and stifle well intentioned and principled debate. I say this because I have seen with my very own eyes the modus operandi of this circus, employing individuals to perpetuate this climate of political correctness. In reality this industry/business does dreadful damage to Britain’s race relations. It seems more concerned with securing it’s own funding streams and non jobs for it’s membership of zealots. The cost of this is all is so much more than financial, as we lose decent people and gag those who point to the emperor’s new clothes. 
Mind you, his views on immigration and the state display a certain malleability:
"Some years ago, a prominent immigration lawyer told me that the two main drivers of immigration are, first, the perception—right or wrong—that we have an overtly generous welfare system in the UK; and secondly, lax human rights legislation."
Paul Uppal MP, 18th June 2012:
"I have found from my experience as a constituency MP that many black and minority ethnic communities, particularly migrant communities, came to this country because they wanted to live in an environment in which there was a belief in a robust democracy."
And in a sadly-deleted Channel Four News interview, he managed to claim that Enoch Powell (oh yes) would actually be pleased that his constituency was represented by an Asian person. Of course he would!

He didn't like meeting the public or having his photograph taken, or doing any work, and he was so intent on enriching himself and his speculator mates that the property industry described him as their man in Parliament – I was under the naive impression that MPs were the citizens' representatives. Certainly his parliamentary questions were largely related to lobbying for tax relief on his own property investments. Five years of Uppal certainly cured me of that error: he sponsored no laws, rarely spoke, joined no select committees and generally just warmed a green bench. He managed to make precisely TWO speeches in his first three months, which worked out at £8500 each. Cheap compared with, say, George Osborne, but not exactly Stakhanovite. These speeches were, of course, about himself. How did he spend his time? Taking jollies to Saudi Arabia in return for slavishly defending that appalling regime, and visiting occupied Syria as a guest of the Israel Defence Forces. Still, at least he voted to privatise forests and displayed great political courage by abstaining on equal marriage because the tension between party loyalty and his own opposition to fairness and justice for all proved too much for him. He also voted to slash benefits for disabled children while continually calling for tax cuts for property speculators, a habit which annoyed even fellow Tories!

My second suggestion will probably make me extremely unpopular, in particular with my hon. Friend Paul Uppal. Although the Government cannot do much about the role of small commercial landlords, those landlords are absolutely deluded about their ability to get the rents they ask. Their mentality is to ask for yesterday’s rent; because a shop was rented out 10 years ago at £40,000, they will keep it empty for three, four or five years under the delusion that they will get the same rent, and notwithstanding the fact that they are paying empty property rates, which I point out to the Minister it is right for them to be doing.
If you're wondering, yes, all his political donors are on the shady side. 
In other consistency news, he hosted a MacMillan Coffee Morning to combat cancer, while opposing plain cigarette packaging.

Note to students: Mr Uppal enthusiastically voted to increase student tuition fees to £9000. 

On a light-hearted note I enjoyed watching him recycle Tory PR lines as though they were his (also here and here), and noting the times when 'a constituent' would conveniently express Uppal's own views in precise parliamentary language, which everybody on the street speaks fluently. 
A constituent spoke to me who comes from one of the handful of families on her road who actually work. The rest of the families on her street have made a conscious life choice to live off benefits. [ Interruption. ] Ms Buck may nod, sigh and take a deep breath, but I am faced in my weekly surgeries by people who live in the real world—people who have to deal with the hard reality of life. My constituent had to face ridicule for going to work. That is the situation that we have.
I have seen that so often when I meet young people. They have a choice between work and a life on benefits. They have looked me in the eye and said that a life on benefits is not such a bad option. 
This magic constituent pops up again:
one of my constituents recently approached me. She is one of two families in her road who work. She has not had a holiday for three years. Both parents work to support their children. Neither of their children has a mobile phone, and yet neighbours next to my constituent have children who continually tell her children that they have  mobile phones. 
And again:
A lady on Rugby Street told me that she's ridiculed by her neighbours for going out to work.  
But this is the best one: the Voice of Youth!
I also spoke to about half a dozen young Muslim men, who said to me quite directly, “You will not stem this tide of irresponsibility unless the House speaks with one voice. It is important that the issue is not hijacked for political point-scoring.” Does my right hon. Friend concur with that view? 
These aren't the only articulate young men he spoke to either: here's another
One conversation I had on that day still sticks in my mind. It was with a young person from Wolverhampton who said, “I want to thank you, Mr Uppal, for organising this. You’ve given me hope.” 
Even his kids aren't safe:
my oldest daughter encapsulated my feelings on Sikhism quite wonderfully when she said, “Dad we have such a cool faith, why don’t we talk about it much more?” I hope that in some small way, by making this speech this morning, I have helped that process.
To which all I can say is:

Oh, and it's seven years since I asked him what class degree he got (Politics, Warwick). He won't tell me, which makes me assume it's a Third or an Ordinary. Which is ironic, because he's a big fan of selective schools, and an enemy of parental scrutiny of academy schools. He was elected with 40.7% of the a 67.9% turnout, vote but called for a 50% minimum vote for strikes (policy since enacted, sadly). If you can judge a man by the company he keeps, he fares badly too: see this and this delightful bit of Liam Fox business. He is a bit paranoid too: he was a regular visitor to my blog. That's in-between carrying on a war on street preachers and charity fundraisers. He thinks they are the main reason people don't go to city centres, and his plan is to privatise our streets.

Still, he'll be a good steward of the economy, won't he? Um…not if his own finances are anything to go by: I enjoyed his campaign failing to pay its website bills during the last election campaign and therefore having no web presence at all! 

Still, he's been working hard to stay in touch with his constituents during his days in the political wilderness, hasn't he? Er…not according to his latest Twitter missives:

Well Paul, happy days are here again!

In case you're wondering, the Labour candidate is a nurse, not a millionaire.

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