The so-called Trade Union Reform Campaign (TURC), which is nothing of the sort and just another vehicle for the flannelled fool Henry Cole, tame gofer to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, to kick Trades Unions and otherwise parade his ignorance of how they function, kicked off its “campaign” a while back with a reception in a committee room in the Palace of Westminster.
I'm not ignorant, cos I'm on telly!
Here, around forty MPs and hacks swigged Shepherd Neame Spitfire from the bottle, no glasses having been provided – thus ruining the experience of enjoying a fine brew from Faversham – before hearing failed Tory PPC Mark Clarke, recently rumbled for having tens of thousands of phoney Twitter followers, and Fat Eric, tell a variety of tall tales about facility time.
At some point later in the evening, cricketer and all-round sound bloke Darren Gough, who just happened to be meeting a friend nearby, was persuaded to join the gathering and issued with a bottle of beer. The odious Cole then snapped a photo of him with disgraced Tory MP Aidan Burley and this was then presented as evidence of endorsement. But, as I noted at the time, Gough was not impressed.
Spot the missing fourth image
Then it all went quiet, not least because TURC has very little in the way of substance and its participants, principally the flagrantly dishonest Cole, were busy elsewhere. But one detail on its Twitter feed did change, and that was the removal of the Gough photo, which had been available along with the ones of Clarke and Pickles. It has been quietly deleted, which is very much the Cole way.
Cole, like his equally slippery boss Staines, is not given to apology or retraction. Both would far rather spin even beyond the farthest point of credibility and venture towards straightforward dissembly rather than own up. So there must have been pressure on Cole to remove the photo, presumably from Gough, who asserted that he was going to be in touch with whoever made the dishonest claim.
And what of TURC now? The website and Twitter feed only flicker into life intermittently, there is no sign of the promised Lords’ group (in January this was announced as following “in the coming weeks”), and no evidence that their “Parliamentary Council”, made up almost exclusively of 2010 intake Tory MPs, has ever had a second meeting.
The action against facility time appears to have been left to the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate – that would be the hated “dead tree press”, then – as with today’s clumsy hatchet job by Dacre loyalist Tim Shipman at the Mail. None of those doing the attacking, nor the politicians, have managed to tell when they are going to repeal the 1992 act that enshrined facility time – legislation from a Tory Government.
Despite the bluster, this campaign is going nowhere. Another fine mess.