Friday, May 18, 2007

Tom Watson MP: The Inconvenient Truths

Tom Watson has one of the more interesting MP blogs. But he does like to ignore some inconvenient truths.

1. Why hasn't he mentioned Gordon Brown's takeover of the Labour Party, since he was one of the ringleaders of the 2006 abortive coup? Not a word about it at all.


2. Why won't he explain why he voted in favour of the FOI Bill today?


I think we should be told. That's what a blog is for.

36 comments:

jailhouselawyer said...

I think that is what is called a no comment.

David Boothroyd said...

I guess he voted in favour of the Bill because he wanted to protect his constituents from having their personal problems disclosed to the whole world. I also guess he took the decision that it was better to do the right thing, even if it was difficult to explain and would get him criticised.

(It simply isn't true that data protection legislation protects against disclosure)

Anonymous said...

Blog Wars! i like it.

But you could have chosen a harder set of questions.

Tom watson is one of the architects of 'nasty labour' which superceded 'New labour' when the latter became a bit of an electoral liability. His dirty-work in parliamentary by-elections goes before him like a nose-pickin Chancell. . . sorry, Prime Minister.

Anonymous said...

OK Chief Browntongue (aka D Boothroyd), please explain precisely why Data Protection legilation's exemptions does not protet Mps against disclosing personal information?

Anyway, if MPs were at all bothered, all they have to do is to get casework typed up on a separate computer and have a standard letter to go out with it: "Dear Minister, I would be grateful if you could answer the points raised in the attached..."

Anonymous said...

8.33 - a Lib Dem are you?

Well, as they say in Glesga, GIRFUY

David Boothroyd said...

"OK Chief Browntongue (aka D Boothroyd), please explain precisely why Data Protection legilation's exemptions does not protet Mps against disclosing personal information?"

Precisely how the guarantees don't work is beside the point and is too like proving a negative. All that needs to be shown is that in practice, it doesn't work, and Martin Salter has done that today.h

Tony said...

So if that is the case David - and I am not convinced that Martin Salter did prove his case - why not tighten the Data Protection legislation rather than instigate a blanket attempt to avoid public scrutiny through freedom of information?

howard said...

Off topic but does anyone know if a vote in the Commons is needed for Brown to become PM?

Border Reiver said...

I've just posted on Mr Watson's site. It seems he google alerts his own name....vain bugger.

"Been too busy to blog on Friday I see. Still there should be a fair few google alerts with your name included."

Luke Akehurst said...

You couldn't be more wrong about what happened. Thicko was not a conspirator against whatsisname (the former Leader). He and I were loyalists, who together with Pudding Man and Underpants Man (see my sidebar) tried to root out the conspirators and defeat them. See my post: http://tinyurl.com/3yvm9q.

Anonymous said...

So Watson is not a 'proper blogger' after all, as he believes in suppression of information and minimal accountability. I bet he even suppresses the reason why he voted for suppression of the truth about MP's expenses.

Disgusting. He should quit blogging as he doesn't make the grade.

Auntie Flo'

...still in my office at 22:01 thanks to that the red tape fest the rat Broon has had during the past 10 years. Business friendly? Don't make me laugh.

David Boothroyd said...

Tony: this could get complicated, bear with it. Basically, there are only three criteria which allow data relating to third parties to be exempted from FOI requests. Two are never going to apply to MPs raising constituency casework issues: the person who supplied the data is not going to order the data controller to stop processing it, because that would mean their case could not be dealt with, and the data is never going to be exempt from a subject access request, because this long list applies where there is a formal legal process for getting the data, and by definition the MP is not going to get directly involved if there is already a process which their constituent can go through).

That leaves only the third, which is that the disclosure would breach one of the five data protection principles. These are the fundamentals of the Act which have been negotiated and agreed over years; they aren't for tinkering with.

Oh, and even if it does fall under any of these criteria, the authority can decide to make a voluntary disclosure anyway.

In case you're thinking "why not add something to the Data Protection Act to exempt MPs' correspondence there", that would have exactly the same effect as what was just passed.

Anonymous said...

But David, I dont believe this, when I was a Cllr, all information between myself and a constituent was confidential, and the freedom of information act did not override this confidentiality.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

"I think we should be told. That's what a blog is for".

But not in the real world Iain

frustrated tory said...

Tom Watson is a slimeball and a nasty, devious piece of work but where's Cameron and the opposition in all this?

The amendment was tabled by a Tory MP but we still don't know what Cameron thinks and there is no Tory Party representation on tonights news programmes discussing this appalling anti-democratic measure.

Get your finger out Cameron, a victory at the next election isn't yours on a plate.

Here's some advice. Sack some of the deadbeats from the Shadow Cabinet and replace them with committed, honest, hardworking, talented people, like Peter Luff MP for instance.

Anonymous said...

Not having my finger on the pulse of Westminster in the way that Mr Dale does, for some reason I keep mixing up in my mind Mr Tom Watson and Mr Sion Simon. I wonder why that could be ??

Anonymous said...

I'm going to fuck you up badly, 'cos I'm the man with the Gordan Gun...

Anonymous said...

I hear those 18 Conservative MPs who voted for this amendment are in for a tough time

Anonymous said...

Howard @ 9.34:

No vote necessary. By constitutional convention, the Sovereign must ask the leader of the largest party in the House of Commons to serve as Prime Minister and to form a government.

Anonymous said...

It took a little whaile for Iain to be coaxed into blogging about grammar schools earlier this week, but to his credit he did so.

Anonymous said...

frustrated tory:

I'd rather have Peter Luff as a decent hardworking select committee chairman, thank you very much!

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous at 11.34. Not true. The only reason I hadn't blogged it before the evening was that I happened to have a very busy day at work. It also needed thinking about before rushing into print!

Chris Paul said...

It's his blog. He does what he wants with it. That's the way it is isn't it? And perhaps as he is a busy MP and promoting one of the DL candidates too he may be a bit too busy to blog to order for you?

He always cites, contextualises and links to his sources which I find refreshing if old school.

Chris Paul said...

How amusing that Iain should say he - a non MP - was too busy to blog about Grammar Schools - while expecting Tom Watson - a busy MP and family man - should blog whenever Iain requires him to!! Talk about double standards.

Anonymous said...

Chris Paul:

What are you doing hanging around Iain's blog unless you are hoping to pick up some sort of vicarious kudos by being here?

I'm sure that you're a decent enough chap, but if you want to flip over to the Conservatives, then stop posting all of these heartfelt cries for help and just get on with it.

supression said...

Didn't take Stalin Brown long to start supressing freedom and right of redress did it? No wonder there's no public faith in politicians. Shameful, truly shameful.

tory boys never grow up said...

Perhaps you could explain why your "mum" Anne Widdecombe felt fit to vote in favour of the Bill?

It does strike me that rather that although there are a grounds for an exemption - it does go wider than is necessary to protect the innocent - surely it will not beyond the wit of the Lords to amend the Bill so that the exemption is narrowed sensibly. Isn't that the sort of thing the Lords is meant to do? (on the other hand they could play political games and veto the whole thing?)

Richard Havers said...

Gorgon the Hypocrite

“…so one of my first acts as prime minister would be to restore power to Parliament in order to build the trust of the British people in our democracy.” 11 May 2007

“I want to build a shared national consensus for a programme of constitutional reform that strengthens the accountability of all who hold power.” 11 May 2007

"Gordon has also spoken about the sovereignty of Parliament. If MPs have voted this measure through then that is a matter for them", his spokesman said” – 18 May 2007

I guess we'd better get used to it.

simon said...

I think Watson is hilarious- unintentionally, of course. I suspect he has more home recordings of Sion Simon. Dodgy ones. Shouldn't they be LibbyDems. A right 'racy' lot that shower!

rilly super said...

I think you're all being very hard on poor Tom Wholesome. Put yourself in his shoes. If you claimed £145,000 in expenses you wouldn't want your boss going through the figures in too much detail either, would you. We must trust our politicians. What we don't know can't hurt us.

forcible suppression said...

Where was Gordon? This has his fingerprints all over it. A bad day for Parliament and our democracy.The MP's who voted for this are a disgrace.

judge me by the friends i keep said...

his mucker Sion Simon voted in favour of the Bill as well.

Very telling that Gordon speaks about transparency and restoring confidence on Thursday, and then we find the chamber flooded with his acolytes on a Friday (of all days!) voting in favour of a bill that does just the opposite.

Anonymous said...

"Sack some of the deadbeats from the Shadow Cabinet "

Cameron should 'lead from the front' on this!!

hollow McCavity. said...

Judge me..

Good points.


I'm appalled by this. No wonder politicians are despised. Gordon's destroyed the freedom of information act using the nominal Prime Minister Blair as his scapegoat and cover no doubt. Devious and evil.

Anonymous said...

David Boothroyd: I dealt with a number of FoI requests in my last job. Names and other personal information about third parties (in this case it would be the constituent in correspondence between the MP and the government department) were automatically deleted or otherwise made unreadable as part of the process. It was always made clear to us that not doing so would lay us open to action under the Data Protection Act. In which case, why the need for the FoI amendment?

won't someone think of the constituents said...

"I guess he voted in favour of the Bill because he wanted to protect his constituents from having their personal problems disclosed to the whole world. I also guess he took the decision that it was better to do the right thing"

You see he wasn't acting out of squalid and dishonourable self interest, he was thinking of the constituents. Just when you think canting politicians can't sink any lower or their humbug become any more repulsive they somehow manage it!