Muriel Grey writing in todays Sunday Herald is not a fan of Geoff Hoon. She is in a big big club.
"Hoon was one of a bunch of politicians caught on camera by Channel 4’s ever-excellent Dispatches programme, offering up their services to a private firm to influence policy in return for money. But wait. That’s not the bit he’s sorry for. He’s not remorseful about the sheer, staggering, immorality of such a posture, but instead for the fact that he was caught embellishing and exaggerating just how far his power went. What a guy.
In the competition to find a poster boy for what’s gone wrong in British politics, the repugnant Hoon has made it through to a very crowded final. The Dispatches revelations were like some nightmarish aide memoire to an electorate already sickened to the core, and facing one of the most morally bereft election campaigns in memory. We have to assume, from our experience of how the expenses scandal unfolded, that the handful of invertebrates that Channel 4 managed to catch in the act of undermining democracy are not a tiny, unrepresentative group of snakes, but in fact just the ones that got found out. Depressing as it is, it’s not unreasonable or cynical of us to believe that they are just the tip of a big, toxic, bobbing iceberg."
I could not agree more. The constituency that Hoon purports to represent is Ashfield in Notts. It is one of the poorest in the country. In addition to being involved in the decision to go to war in Iraq he somehow found the time to garner a property empire reputed to be in the region of £2 million. A true devotee of his mentor, Mr T. "That'll be half a million squire" Blair. Hoon also managed to let a home he was claiming expenses for, to a tenant. Seems like a bang-to-rights case of fraud to me. But no it was a 'misunderstanding.' The problem is that the behaviour of this prize toerag (along with the other execrable offenders) is that it is likeley to drive people away from the polling station.
As Muriel concluded,"We can’t let the corrupt and the shallow keep us away from the ballot box in May. We need to take politics back to the centre of our lives, to represent ideas we can believe in and outcomes we can hope for; and turning our backs in disgust is not an option any more. Even a spoilt voting slip is better than a no-show."