[Updates, four so far, at end of post]
It’s not often that I pause to give thanks to the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, but today is one of those times, as Young Dave has finally taken jolly decisive action and removed Aidan Burley from his post as parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to Transport Minister Justine Greening. This follows a series of revelations by the Mail On Sunday.
The member for Cannock Chase (but for how much longer?) had initially tried to deflect the criticism of his attending a stag party where one of the company dressed as an SS officer, and slogans in support of a number of Nazis were voiced, by apologising to his party, his electorate, and the Jewish Chronicle. He had planned to visit the site of the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
But all that has failed to stop the revelations, with the latest being that Burley was the one that hired the SS uniform. And the Dacre press isn’t finished with him yet: its hacks are pursuing at least one episode that happened while he was an Oxford undergraduate. All of which is difficult not only for his parliamentary career, but also his position as Chairman of the Trade Union Reform Campaign (TURC).
Hey, our story is missing ...
It is this latter which caused the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his tame gofer Henry Cole, the Laurel and Hardy of the blogosphere, to use the Guido Fawkes blog in an attempt to ride to Burley’s aid. The less than dynamic duo initially tried to suggest this was no big deal because of the BBC and “Auguste” Balls, then attempted to smear Labour staffer Charlotte Hale in another false equivalence.
Sadly, the Great Guido only showed that his ability to influence events is, for the most part, not unadjacent to zero, as well as confirming Olbermann’s dictum: “The right lives in a perpetual state of victimhood”. Also, unsurprisingly, the TURC website and Twitter feed have thus far been silent on Burley’s sacking: at 1040 hours today, the former was asserting that Burley was still a PPS.
The sacking is yet another setback for TURC, which has not yet officially launched. Their “parliamentary liaison officer” – the aforementioned Henry Cole – has already demonstrated a most unfortunate ability to attract unfavourable publicity, their CEO Mark Clarke has been removed from the Tory Party’s parliamentary candidates’ list, and their campaign is only kept going by poorly researched knocking copy.
That being said, I’m sure TURC will continue, thus providing a conjunction of ineptitude and ridicule as its inmates provide more comedy moments for those in the real world. More than a month before launch, and increasingly the object of derision, this is one script that even Hal Roach might have thought too unbelievable for his own headlining double-act.
Another fine mess, and no messing.
[UPDATE1 19 December 1040 hours: the story of Aidan Burley's demotion can be seen all over the papers today, but there are two places thus far maintaining silence over the affair. No prizes for guessing which they are.
The TURC website still proclaims Burley as PPS to the Transport Secretary, and the Guido Fawkes blog has not mentioned Burley's demise, either in any of its posts, or in the currently available list of "Seen Elsewhere" links.
Perhaps someone thinks that keeping schtum will stem the flow of revelations. If so, they clearly know squit about the Dacre press]
[UPDATE2 19 December 1900 hours: TURC has plugged a "report" by self-promoting Tory MP Priti Patel on Trade Union facility time - which Zelo Street will be studying further and posting on tomorrow - but its website still shows Aidan Burley as a PPS to the Transport Secretary.
Some might deduce that this demonstrates a less than totally honest and consistent approach. I couldn't possibly comment]
[UPDATE3 20 December 0945 hours: TURC has at last removed the claim that Aidan Burley was PPS to the Transport Secretary. The delay in performing this straightforward edit - it took more than a day and a half to accomplish - should demonstrate to anyone interested where the priorities of this group lie]
[UPDATE4 22December 1245 hours: prosecutors in France are now investigating the goings-on at the stag party attended by Aidan Burley, after complaints from anti-racism groups and the La Fondue restaurant in Val Thorens, the latter being where one of the party allegedly verbally abused a waiter and a number of Third Reich luminaries were toasted. The worst case scenario for the Cannock Chase MP is a court appearance and potential fine or even spell in prison, though the latter is unlikely.
Unsurprisingly at least one Labour MP has called for Young Dave to withdraw the whip, but this is venturing into Ron Hopeful territory unless yet more revelations surface. In the meantime, there is, to no surprise, no report of this on the TURC website]