What is it with the Labour Party and these London barristers they insist on foisting upon us? As fast as you get rid of one, another of the dodgy buggers pops up.
Recently we’ve had the Cambridge educated barrister Sam Townend parachuted into Bristol North West as Labour’s candidate for the next election (Blogger passim). And already the London Borough of Lambeth deputy executive member and well-known astroturfer has removed his Bristol campaign website sharpish in order to hide his already unkept promises. Not bad going in two weeks.
Of course here in Bristol, until 2005, the MP for Bristol East was Labour’s Jean Corston, another bloody barrister from London. And it’s pretty hard now to identify anything the ultra-Blairite brown-noser actually did for Bristol.
Although she did spend plenty of time up in London Blair-babeing it around Westminster and eventually becoming the Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party that voted for war on Iraq. She also chaired some irrelevant and toothless parliamentary human rights committee especially designed to provide the all-important feelgood factor to a certain type of Labour lady lawyer.
Unfortunately it all went horribly wrong for Jean when she twisted her ankle in the House in 2003 and had to retire at the 2005 election. Loyalist to the end, she even timed her retirement so that Millbank could parachute in yet another lawyer – Kerry McCarthy – at the last minute rather than have a democratic selection process where the pesky locals might have put forward a Bristolian for this safest of Labour seats.
Jean’s loyalty was well-rewarded by Tony when weeks after the 2005 election she was given a peerage and is now known as Baroness Corston of St George. Although the chances of her ever setting foot in St George again are very slim indeed.
The Blogger also learns that as Jean retired through ill health, saying she was unable to do her job, she also claims an enhanced parliamentary pension with an extra £24k a year. Not a bad little sum for an MP that sat for just 13 years.
However while she’s too ill sit in the Commons, it appears she’s not too ill to sit in the House of Lords a few yards away. And a quick glance at her expenses claims reveals she received a further £26K in attendance allowances and expenses from there last year. Nice money if you can get it…
Not that Corston’s household even needs all this money. Her hubbie is the academic and “poverty expert” Peter Townsend of the LSE whose income alone could comfortably afford their metropolitan elitist lifestyle and the essential Cotswold weekend cottage.
Their conduct certainly demonstrates one route out of poverty.