Thursday, 22 December 2011
Britain is still a country for an old Member of Parliament called Dennis Skinner aka 'the Beast from Bolsolver' and ' Incorruptible'
Dennis Skinner, Labour Party Member of Parliament, has represented Bolsover since 1970 is 79 years old and a long living example of what British democracy is all about. I saw him on tv last week, questioning the Prime Minister and it struck me that he was just the same today as he was 40 years ago. He has always been a 'back bencher', never held a government post and never been frightened to ask pose any question to anyone in power.
Vintage Skinner questioning of the Prime Minister May 2011 :
What you possibly didn't know about Dennis, that he :
* was born in Derbyshire, the third of nine children, his father was a coalminer and he himself worked for over 20 years as a miner, trade union leader and local Labour Party councillor before studying at Ruskin College Oxford.
* was elected MP for the Labour 'safe-seat' of Bolsover in 1970 and started with the defining belief that power and acquiring it, corrupts and is acknowledged, even by his worst enemies to be absolutely incorruptible with no compromises, no bribes, no favours:.
* has taken a liberal stance on social issues : voted in favour of equalisation of the age of consent, civil partnerships, adoption rights for same-sex couples and outlawing discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
* in 2003, voted against the Iraq War and voted against Government policy to allow terror suspects to be detained without trial for 90 days and in 2007, voted against Government policy to renew the Trident Nuclear Missile System.
* has been suspended from Parliament on at least ten occasions, usually for "unparliamentary language" when attacking opponents, in 1992, for example referred to the Minister of Agriculture, John Gummer as "slimy" and a "wart".
* refuses to miss any sitting in the House of Commons, saying that "if you missed a shift at the pit, you would get the sack".
* refuses to adopt the 'pairing system' in which he can agree a mutual abstention with a Conservative MP, saying he won't cover for them whilst they "go swanning off to Ascot or to their boardrooms".
* in the 2004–2005 sitting of the House, claimed the least expenses for an MP who served the full year.
* does not : eat alongside parliamentary colleagues in the Commons dining room, take trips or holidays 'paid for' by others, drink in the Commons Bar.
* does sit on the first seat of the front bench below the gangway in the Commons, known as the 'Awkward Squad Bench' because it is where rebel Labour Party MPs have traditionally sat.
* wears in a distinctive tweed jacket and red tie whilst most other MPs wear suits.
* gained the sobriquet 'the Beast of Bolsover' for falling foul of the procedures of Parliament, many of which are in his view archaic and contemptible.
July 2011 questions the Prime Minister about BSkyB
Dennis talking about Meryl Streep and the 'Iron Lady'
Vintage Dennis :