“Easy!” says Malcolm. “Shylock to Salarino, Merchant of Venice, Act III, scene 1″. And so it is.
His majority was tiny (332) and he had made the news for being linked with a company that sells stone statues of giant penises.
What Malcolm had not fully appreciated was the full story of …
The full story is courtesy of the Chronicle (Malcolm’s regular read in his first teaching post on Teesside), under the arresting title:
Stockton Tory MP’s bid to get cash for his pal
A NEW Tory MP tried to help a former Conservative colleague who sells giant penis statues get £30,000 in Government aid.
The credited author, Adrian Pearson, continues:
Stockton South MP James Wharton is facing criticism after he wrote to jobs quango One North East asking them to speed up a grant to Trocabart, a company run by his former Conservative party pal Jason Hadlow.
The newly elected MP asked spending chiefs to hand over £30,000 as “a priority” to his mate whose other company Simply Dutch was at the centre of a media storm earlier this year when police seized a four-foot tall sandstone statue of a penis following indecency complaints.
Mr Hadlow, a former chairman of Yarm’s Conservative Association and now an independent councillor, hopes to create dozens of jobs in Teesside by expanding the secondhand goods market. To help his business plans, Mr Hadlow asked One North East for a grant but soon hit a problem after the Conservative party nationally ordered the development agency to freeze business support.
As the cuts began to bite, Mr Wharton contacted One North East in June saying he had met with the firm and wanted to know why it hadn’t been given any cash yet. The MP had campaigned against the need for a jobs agency in the run up to the General Election. When spending chiefs explained to him that they were powerless to act because his own party had ordered a freeze, Mr Wharton took the issue to Parliament and asked written questions to the Department for Business in July to see when the grants would be freed up again.
Let’s get that straight:
- Our James had campaigned for one policy, and promptly (once elected) reversed his position.
- He was lobbying against a ConDem policy he had voted for in Parliament.
- He was doing so out of personal friendship and fellowship.
- He had the notion that a national policy could be reversed for his political and local ends.
Yes. We’ve got that. Sounds eminently … err … reasonably. Well, subjectively so.
… his former Conservative party pal Jason Hadlow
Malcolm knows when he is hearing a bit more than is said.
Jason Hadlow is a fifty-something (+/-) who was six years the perpetual mayor of that nice little, tight little town of Yarm.
- In October last year he announced his intention to resign his position.
- He walked out of a council meeting, and declared that any subsequent business was illegitimate.
- He had been involved (literally) in a spat with a fellow councillor (an elderly lady, Cllr Marjorie Simpson of the Yarm Independents, whom we shall meet later in this post). Hadlow said she had spat upon him and punched him. Despite his submission, the Police did not proceed with any charges.
- He had deliberately infringed the parking restrictions, as a way of challenging the regulations (this whole business — Yarm versus Stockton — cost Yarm some £70,ooo in legal costs).
That apart, let’s be honest: what do things “Dutch” imply in the lowest popular mind? Oak furniture (Mayor Hadlow’s version)? Or could it involve 200 hundred coffee shops — which are definitively not the same as cafés — in Amsterdam and their Bond van Cannabis Detaillisten (and there’s a clue)?
On that basis, what was HM Customs to believe when Mayor Hadlow imported a vast fibreglass dinosaur through the port of Hull? Right! They impounded it, and sent for the sniffer dogs, on the possibility that it might have “contents”.
Subsequently Simply Dutch went for the Big Time. A huge sandstone phallus, apparently one of 200 hundred made in Indonesia for which English gardens were in crying need, was put on public display in the shop window. Susceptible passers-by complained. The Police (spoilsports!) confiscated the object. A public order offence was issued: Mayor Hadlow was fined £80. He fomented a “Free Willy” campaign (Geddit?), and involved Janick Gers of heavy-metal rockers Iron Maiden, a North-Easterner from Hartlepool, whose family home, coincidentally, is in Yarm.
Further back …
The earliest connection Malcolm sees between Hadlow and Wharton is in October 2007:
Following the local elections in May 2007, Yarm Town Council was made up of 9 Conservative councillor and 2 independents. Four months later James Earl resigned. The Local Government Acts 1972 states that once a resignation is received by the appropriate person, it takes effect immediately. Four days later James Earl withdrew his resignation.
The Council Chairman, (then-Conservative Councillor), Jason Hadlow, took the advice of a trainee solicitor, James Wharton, already the prospective Conservative candidate for Stockton South. At the subsequent Council meeting Hadlow first admitted he had read the letter (which made the resignation absolute and legal — that was also the advice of David Bond, the Director of Law and Democracy of Stockton Borough Council), then was advised by our trainee solicitor Wharton that he had not read the letter. So he hadn’t.
It is remarkable, too, how often in Mr Wharton’s estimation Mayor Hadlow makes “an excellent speech”: not only at Yarm Fair (October 2009) but again at the lighting of the Christmas tree (December 2009). Was it the same speech? And then there are those repetitive mentions of Yarm’s excellent Conservative run Town Council and how Jason leads an excellent team of Town and Borough Councillors.
As to how many occasions Wharton spent some time discussing the issues facing Yarm with Town Council Chairman, Jason Hadlow, only Google may tell us.
♥ It must be love ♥
Not all are so taken.
Andrew Calcutt does a blog at newscompositor. He did a little skit on Clockwork Orange (where a giant penis is also a participant):
There was me and my three droogs, that is Dave, Georgie and Dim, and we sat in the Metrovia Milkbar trying to make up our rassodocks what to do about Europe. Dim, also known as Jim Whart, announces he’s up for a bit of the old in-out, in-out referendum on EU membership. Better to resolve the situation, he says. Release the pent-up frustration among grassroots activists so that afterwards we can focus on that which ordinary malchick- and devotchka-voters are worrying about all the time, namely ‘the cost of living’.
When he used that antiquated phrase – viddy well, oh my brothers, ‘the cost of living’ was last spoken of before there were even videos – the bile in me started to rise. I thought I could hear the blissful music of dear old Ludwig Van urging me to visit some actual ultra-violet upon Dim and his ilk; upon all the mad, swivel-eyed loons who populate the party with their outdated, provincial customs and embarrassing clothes.\
I looked across the table at Dim-Jim: still in his twenties and already the first signs of the-comb-over-to-come; veteran of the Officer Training Corps at Durham University where he studied law – making him the conservative conservatives’ conservative. Why, oh my metrosexual brothers, is the party stuffed with such Dim antediluvians, dinosaurs who would stamp the life out of our ultra-modern, frictionless Westminster Village with their flat feet encased in socks and sandals? Watching his pudgy round face – surely the face of a boy who’s been carrying a briefcase since his first day at secondary school – I thought of the giant, model penis we had nicked from an artist’s house earlier that night, and I couldn’t stop thinking of ramming it right into him.
The latest thing
There is a delicious account, in — of all places — the Daily Star, of Hadlow’s more recent doings. It begins:
A MAYOR has quit after claiming he was assaulted, spat at and punched in town hall bust-ups with other councillors.
Tory Jason Hadlow alleged one of his political rivals turned up drunk for a town council meeting clutching a pint of cider, then chased him and another councillor out of the chamber.
The mayor said he has been sent poison pen letters and last May found posters all over his neighbourhood alleging he ran the town like former Chilean dictator General Pinochet, who tortured and killed political opponents.
Other posters appeared portraying the mayor of Yarm as Pinocchio – the Disney character famous for telling lies.
We are deep into Miss Marple territory here:
Last October Cleveland Police confirmed a man had been cautioned for sending poison pen letters to the mayor.
The notes had been sent to Mr Hadlow’s home, his ex-wife’s house and to Yarm Town Hall. He said he also received abusive fax messages, some calling him a “little shit and liar” and others saying “I hope you die”.
Welcome back an earlier acquaintance:
But the mayor’s rivals on the council claim the only person to turn up worse for wear from drink at meetings was him.
Councillor Marjorie Simpson said: “People who sit near him at meetings know he’s been drinking before he comes. He goes to the Black Bull. I’ve got a 100% attendance record at the council meetings and I’ve never seen the mayor or anyone else being chased out of the town hall.”
Let’s end at our beginning, with the ex-Mayor and his willy: