The latest edition of Conservative Change Channel is (finally) out and it includes two special moments from Jeremy Hunt (recorded just prior to the 2010 General Election):
1. The first is classic Hunt. He once again brushes right over the significance of two local Conservative activists who smeared an opponent as a paedophile, as if it’s of no significance. The look on his face at the time was ‘yeah, so what… get to the point’. He has repeatedly dismissed the importance of this smear campaign and repeatedly endorsed the MP (Anne Milton) who turned a blind eye to this campaign and involved herself personally in a further smear campaign against me. Hunt’s wife once gasped in shock when hearing about it, and Hunt shushed her loudly right there in the street, lest she make the fatal mistake of expressing any kind of alarm about it.
(I often wonder what he told her after making his excuses and hurrying off, as he so often does. I doubt it was the truth.)
2. Jeremy Hunt rather rashly weasels his way out of his practice of deleting past entries from his weblog and Twitter feed by claiming he is accountable after all… but only because of measures that corrupt liars like Iain Dale and Nadine Dorries describe as ‘stalking’ (when their mates are not doing the same or worse to people they don’t like).
So over the coming days and weeks – knowing that I have the blessing of the Minister of Teh Internets – I am going to encourage others to hold their MP to account via a weblog, starting with some simple tasks you will find surprisingly manageable and effective. I even have a plan for sharing the load on some of the more specialised/work-intensive tasks (e.g. journalism, research, data analysis, etc.). I will also be making recommendations* designed to minimise the risks I’ve exposed myself to, and you certainly won’t find yourself standing alone if some scumbag fights back with lies or smears.
I ran a similar (and successful) campaign for people to blog on behalf of MPs in 2005, but we have a much busier online village now, with better tech at our disposal, and this effort is going to be a lot less forgiving; we have a whole new gang of liars in charge, and they’ve been making all sorts of promises about transparency that they probably never expected they’d have to live up to.
(*On this note; you do NOT have to be a constituent of any given MP to take part. In fact, it’s probably better if you’re not; I found myself cut off from democracy at a local level because I dared to scrutinise my MP, and I’d hate to see that happen to someone else. Take your time. Choose your target. I’ll be on deck with Lesson One shortly.)