Wolfing it down?

“Hurry up, Mr. Dent, or you’ll be late!”

“What’s the rush?”

“No, I mean you’ll be the late Arthur Dent. It’s a threat. I’m not very good at them.”

Ah, yes: that exchange between Slartibartfast and Arthur Dent.

Tory dog eat Tory dog world?

The UK press are making threats against the political life of Maria Miller — and unlike Slartibartfast they are very good at them.


At the front of the ravening pack is the Daily Telegraph, which started the whole expenses thing going, relished the taste, and is now back for a second course.

Mrs Miller, it may seem (and certainly does seem in the Telegraph‘s view), deserves all she gets if she — or her paid mouthpiece, Joanna Hindley — really did make those noises about exploiting her powers to implement Leveson. Similarly, if the Downing Street director of communications, Craig Oliver, went into teeth-baring threat-mode, that too  Wolfing down?was remarkably ill-advised.

Malcolm hadn’t realised just how deep the canines were into the Miller flesh until he hit on James Kirkup’s Telegraph blog this afternoon. Short of greasing the wheels on the tumbril, this is as bad as it gets:

Maria Miller believes that it was right for you, the taxpayer, to pay to provide her parents with somewhere to live. It was right because she, their daughter, was an MP.

That is, I think, a reasonable inference to draw from the Culture Secretary’s defence of her parliamentary expenses, which the Telegraph has been examining this week. Sir John Lyon, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, is now joining that examination.

Given the importance of the issue and the political stakes involved, you’d expect a Cabinet-level politician to mount a robust and eloquent defence of their actions.

Kirkup then refers:

to Ms Miller’s interview with Joe Murphy in tonight’s Evening Standard, which I assume was intended as part of some sort of media fightback.

He is more than sniffy about it:

Readers will doubtless conclude for themselves whether or not that is a convincing explanation for Ms Miller’s use of their money. But if “I just made that decision” is the best she can do, it’s hard to see this ending well for her.

If that isn’t inciting the Disgusteds across the Home Counties to rise and mutiny, Malcolm doesn’t know what would be. Kirkup, on this occasion, snarls as savagely as Guido Fawkes. Even ConHome has been no more than pointedly neutral, but assiduously linking to the Telegraph.

Note, too, the “Ms Miller”: Maria Miller, born Maria Lewis, is the proper spouse of one Iain Miller. By contrast, the Daily Mail — while not much further back in the slavering wolf-pack — happily uses the “Mrs” title.

A Cabinet vacancy by Christmas?



Filed under Conservative family values, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, sleaze., Tories.

2 responses to “Wolfing it down?

  1. Bill Chapman

    Of course this woman has to go, in the light of everything revealed so far. She should resign as minister and as MP. How can she hang on like this? It will be interesting to see if David Cameron has the courage to dismiss her. He has expressed his complete confidence in her, the usual prelude.

    The Daily Telegraph deserves praise for its revelation of this and other scandals in recent year.

    • Malcolm Redfellow

      Thanks for that. I’d heartily agree that the Telegraph coverage of the whole expenses sleaze has been a fine example of investigative and crusading journalism.

      I’ve also queries at the back of my mind: why now? has the Telegraph a supplementary agenda — over and above natural resentment at strong-arming by Miller’s SpAd and by Downing Street?

      I take John Mann MP’s (partisan) point that Miller’s machinations seem to mirror those of Tony McNulty — except McNulty lacked ambition and lifted just £13,000, less than a fifth of Miller’s take. McNulty was offed as a Minister, and then dished by the good electors at Harrow East.

      I’m also conscious that, back in 2001, Jo “today is a good day for burying bad news” Moore was forced to resign. So, in my view, if Hindley and Oliver (both on the public pay-roll; both state apparatchiks) did make insinuations over implementing a harder line on Leveson, that would be at least as culpable as any original offence by Miller, or as corrupt as Moore’s.

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