Killing stories

Slugger regulars may well wonder why this DUP press release was carried, as far as I can tell, only by the Belfast Telegraph. The answer is that the DUP tried to have their cake and eat it last week.

Around lunch time on Thursday David McNarry was at the BBC recording a debate with Gregory Campbell for Hearts and Minds. This followed a comment from Danny Kennedy on the sums of money raked in by triple jobbing MPs. In the early afternoon the DUP emailed media outlets, informing them that they were taking legal advice on the comments, and would be responding accordingly. Having sought to kill the story off with legal threats, they then tried to restart it with an attack on Jim Nicholson.

I would imagine that some, if not all, outlets will have had counsel look at the statement, and that they will all have responded that there is nothing actionable in the Kennedy comments. Some clarification may be needed, but nothing to warrant such an email from the DUP press office. Of course the DUP are well known for seeking to bully the media into framing the news agenda to their particular liking on certain matters they find uncomfortable . However they can hardly be surprised that their unwarranted attack on Jim Nicholson, one of the European Parliaments most respected and senior politicians, was not widely covered, given their insidious and sinister interference in a similar story the previous day.

Of course now the story of DUP pay cheques and suitable lifestyles is a wider story, one that they wont be able to can at their whim. Perhaps that is why Peter Robinson got quite so angry this afternoon with Martina Purdy in Stormont.

  • wild turkey

    This is not new nor is it news. This is DUP tratishioon, though by no means exclusively confined to the DUPers. This shit was road tested to perfection in the 1930s by… shit why invoke Godwins Law on an early comment. We’ll leave that for later. Anyway…

    Back in the sixties, the prescient NI Pigs Marketing Board ran a marketing campaign

    ‘Todays pig is tomorrows bacon’

    Wild Turkey

  • patricia Mallon

    I do not know the ins and outs of the subject matter of this post but I perked up when I saw Jim Nicolson referred to as one of the Eur. parl. “most respected and senior polioticians” as, like most people in NI, if I give thought to him at all, it is in terms of “what does he do” or as “one of the more intellectually challenged politicians”. And as holding one of the vulnerable seats in the June election.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Robinson hasn’t been as rattled as he was today for a long time.

  • Fair Deal

    So UUP attacking / legitimate questioning about taxpayers money of DUP reps about salaries and expenses etc fine but DUP returning in kind is “unwarranted atttack”.

    Sorry if expenses etc are fair game then they are fair game reagrdless of the who, DUP or UUP.

    “one of the European Parliaments most respected and senior politicians”

    A choke on your frosties comment if ever I saw one.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Nice sidestep FD, nice that you avoided the insidious attempt to kill a nasty news story.

    And if the Nicholson expenses are fair game, why wern’t they fair game a year ago when the figures were released?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    F Deal

    Trying to defend the indefensible again – give up before the hole gets deeper and deeper.

  • OK, I’ve blogged it before, but here goes again:

    When I stood for Parliament in 1974 (not under this pseudonym) I reckoned that being elected would cost me money. The difference between my level on the Burnham scale for teachers, versus and MP’s total take was three or four hundred. Today it is a mega-multiple.

    Yes, there is a story in Parliamentary allowances: and public pressure is not going to be assuaged until the thing is sorted.

    Yes, there is an issue, not exclusive to NI, but prevalent here, of nepotism in the employment of nearest and dearest.

    I personally wonder whether NI can continue to get “value-for-money”, especially in a hung parliament or with a tight majority in the next Parliament, if the government of the time is effectively kept in office by SF not taking their seats, but still receiving last subventions from the kitty. Frank Maguire attended, to some effect, “in person” at least the once, even if it gave us the Thatcher régime.

    All that apart, there is a nasty partisan game going on. A large amount of excrement is being thrown, but at select targets. Why, for example, have we not heard more about the Tory MP for Hertsmere, the “Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions” no less, who has built up a property empire of at least rented 23 homes while claiming some £100,000 allowances for his second home? Those who cannot instantly recognise “Hertsmere” might know it better as Potters Bar, all of eighteen miles from Westminster.

  • DC

    The DUP threatening to use the law to stop perfectly rounded arguments being published, yet when the law compels Ian Paisley Jnr to open his jaw about who the Wright informer is he’s prepared to go to jail for it.

    With such moral ambiguity the DUP just needs to be careful it doesn’t disappear into the void of moral-nothingness that it seems to be creating for itself.

  • Fair Deal

    What sidestep? “if expenses etc are fair game then they are fair game reagrdless of the who, DUP or UUP.” I did not advocate a dual standard for politicians I dislike and those I like.

    I had a quick scan of the UUP statement and IMO in a desire to make a good headline US president line the wording strayed into dodgy territory and certainly not as carefully crafted as the newspaper articles. It is also not like the UUP doesn’t have form on having to make payouts over statements
    http://www.rjw.co.uk/news-events/directnews/minister-wins-five-figure-sum-in-libel-damages_156

    However, two libel lawyers would know a lot more than me on on it and will gladly provide their differing opinions for their usual modest fees.

    “And if the Nicholson expenses are fair game, why weren’t they fair game a year ago when the figures were released?”

    When was there a time-limit on this stuff?

    The same can be said about the Robinson stuff as they have both been MPs and MLAs since 2001 and Robinson was an Exec minister for a fair amount of the time too.

    The timing is obvious in both cases there is an election coming up and the various media machines have been waiting until now to throw their buckets of shite at one another.

  • Michael Shilliday

    The same can be said about the Robinson stuff as they have both been MPs and MLAs since 2001 and Robinson was an Exec minister for a fair amount of the time too.

    The timing is obvious in both cases there is an election coming up and the various media machines have been waiting until now to throw their buckets of shite at one another.

    Er, or that the expenses for the past year were released last week.

  • Fair Deal

    Fru Dem

    Ad nauseam induced yawn

  • Dewi

    “Jim Nicholson, one of the European Parliaments most respected and senior politicians,”

    That’s when you lost it Michael.

  • The Raven

    Just by the by – and I say this without malice – but did anybody reviewing the video piece on the Beeb website think that the FM looks positively ashen?? Like…unwell-ashen….?

  • Danny O’Connor

    36,000 for a part-time secretary,nice work if you can get it,how many hours was this and what would the pro-rata full time position cost?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    F Deal

    The defense of the Robinson dynasty raid on our taxes has gone I am glad to see. http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/dup-accuses-uup-of-double-standards/

    Despite your valiant efforts no amount of mud slinging or whataboutery could have covered it up.

    The DUP office in Ballymena is also still in play as requiring explanation as to its cost to the tax payer.

  • ArchiePurple

    It’s Tuesday 7th April and wee Jeffrey has been interviewed this morning on BBC Radio Foyle by Enda McCafferty…

    Taking a cue from his Sinn Fein/IRA mates, he talks in paragraphs, seeking to stop questions and talks over the brave Enda as he trys to get a word in edgeways. Eventually after nearly a minute, Edna gets a change to pose the second question and wee Jeffrey loses it…he goes into a Robinsonesque tirade and rant about the BBC not challenging his mates in the Shinners about their inflated expenses for no work. Talk about shooting the messenger…..wee Jeff showed, like his boss Robinson that they are under pressure and it’s showing….what a performance. 1 nil to Enda and BBC Radio Foyle.

  • iluvni

    Wee Jeffrey’s 2-0 down then as he did the exact same thing on Nolan.

    Funny how he knows little of the 2 offices in the same street in Comber. Who in their right mind is going to believe that never in any discussion/tea and coffee chitchat he’s been involved in that the issue hasnt been talked about. Never, ever.
    Pull the other one…

  • where is it?

    What happened to the part of the video where he loses it with martina purdy? Is there a link somewhere the linked video is not the right one

  • DC

    Just by the by – and I say this without malice – but did anybody reviewing the video piece on the Beeb website think that the FM looks positively ashen?? Like…unwell-ashen….?

    That’s the way you go after being found out. Nice grey pinstriped suit though!

  • alan56

    Did anyone else feel a bit dusgusted to see millionaire Doddsy mixing with e pensioners at their protest. These guys have no shame

  • iluvni

    alan56,

    Is that Nigel Dodds you are talking about?

    NI’s Economy Minister who, for some reason or other, didnt have any contribution to make to the debate on The Economy in the Houses of Parliament on 31 March?
    Was he even there that day?
    Doubt it.

  • Fair Deal

    MS

    “the expenses for the past year were released last week.”

    Err they are released every year so it is not new, just the update. Plus there is no time-limit on any of this stuff.

    Fru Dem

    ” no amount of mud slinging ”

    I see you are in ok for UUP to do but not ok for DUP to do camp. As I said if it is fair game then it is fair game regardless of the who.

    iluvni

    “NI’s Economy Minister who, for some reason or other, didnt have any contribution to make to the debate on The Economy in the Houses of Parliament on 31 March? Was he even there that day?”

    Oh dear, your desire to have a go has led to basic facts escaping you I am afraid. Dodds is minister for finance and personnel not the economy. No such ministry exists. The two departments with the strongest economic focus are DETI and DEL and as neither of those ministers are MPs neither would have been able to attend. Anyway I thought there was an objection to multiple mandates?

  • iluvni

    Aye, perhaps you are right on this one Fair Deal … I accept my error.
    Why did I pick on Dodds though, when none of his 8 colleagues bothered their arse turning up to contribute either.

  • danielmoran

    archie purple…msg 16 could it be that robbo’s face was ashen white with ‘rage’ at having been exposed in his true colours. [i’ve just noticed it wasn’t you who queried that one, it was raven. but anyway] nothing surprises me anymore at what wee jeffrey sees fit to come on the airwaves to spout[while keeping a straight face i presume]. this follows his bizarre claims on the act of succession a couple of weeks ago, that a catholic monarch would give allegiance to the vatican. the dup really are getting desperate with fear at allister keeping his seat in the euro elections.

  • DC

    Hey Fair Deal is greed not one sin in a list of sins that Iris likes to consult and pull out and clobber, in particular, homosexuals with re their sin of lust.

    Shall the people of Northern Ireland compare lust:

    Lust (or lechery) is usually thought of as excessive thoughts or desires of a sexual nature. Giving in to lusts can lead to sexual or sociological compulsions and/or transgressions including (but not limited to) sexual addiction, fornication, adultery, bestiality, rape, perversion, and incest. Dante’s criterion was “excessive love of others,” which therefore rendered love and devotion to God as secondary. In “Purgatorio”, the penitent walks within flames to purge himself of lustful/sexual thoughts and feelings.

    …with say…

    Greed (or avarice, covetousness) is, like lust and gluttony, a sin of excess. However, greed (as seen by the church) is applied to the acquisition of wealth in particular. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that greed was “a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things.” In Dante’s Purgatory, the penitents were bound and laid face down on the ground for having concentrated too much on earthly thoughts. “Avarice” is more of a blanket term that can describe many other examples of greedy behavior. These include disloyalty, deliberate betrayal, or treason,especially for personal gain, for example through bribery . Scavenging and hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority are all actions that may be inspired by greed. Such misdeeds can include simony, where one profits from soliciting goods within the actual confines of a church.

    Do we now bracket greed in the same category as paedophilia now.

    I suppose I will have to hate the sin then and not the sinner, I hope the public see it that way!

    Look down below, can you see Fair Deal, that’s that pretend moral highground melting away as fast as roasted snow.

    On a serious note, humans are indeed flawed and I hope the ‘Swish’ Family Robinsons learn some compassion now, just like Big Ian did in the end. No one’s perfect, now feed that back to your party and tell them to stop picking on vulnerable social groups. Ta ta.

  • Fair Deal

    “Aye, perhaps you are right on this one Fair Deal … I accept my error.”

    Thank you.

    “Why did I pick on Dodds though, when none of his 8 colleagues bothered their arse turning up to contribute either.”

    As far as I can see the 31st March debate did not even have a vote. Dodds (and two other DUP MPs) did attend the 18th March debate on the economy. The full-time UUP MP attended neither.

    DC

    “Fair Deal is greed not one sin”

    I am not a theologian but as far as I am aware yes it is.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    FDeal

    I am not defending anyone with their nose in the trough, that is the difference.

    I am just pointing out that our First Minister, who is in a senior position, and his wife claiming the housing allowance twice and employing four family members is beyond the pale even for most MP’s and sets a very bad exmaple. The salary part and the rest of the expenses are much less controversial.

    I am sure that you agree with that at least.

  • Bigger Picture

    Alan56

    This is ridiculous stuff. The man has his salary and then expenses for his constituency offices and to pay his members of staff, the same as every other MP and MLA in this country.

    He has a right to be at any protest that has an impact on the constituency he represents, or is he not even allowed to do his job anymore?

  • Bigger Picture

    Frustrated D

    and why while we are on the subject does no one object to the 5 SF MP’s all sharing one flat and shelling out £100,000 of our money to cover it?

    Or does that not fit in with you or MS’s attempts to promote unionist infighting and mud slinging?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    BP

    I have defended no one and wasn’t aware of that fact – that would obviously be even more apalling than the Robinson debaclé.

    However two or even seven wrongs don’t make a right.

  • alan56

    Bigger Picture

    Of course I do not condone SF hypocrocy in this regard, but I thought the DUP would want to show higher standards? Nigel is also one of the DUP MPs who employs his wife! You cannot simply brush away as ‘unfair’ ordainry people pointing out this this just does not look good, and is being handled in a disasterous fashion by the DUP spin machine. The Robinson outburst, putting ‘manners’ on Martina Purdy had all the signs of a man under pressure and not a statesman.
    The TUVs will be loving this..!

  • Fair Deal

    Fru Dem

    “I am not defending anyone with their nose in the trough”

    I wasn’t aware I had done that. Also I cannot recall concern expressed by yourself about anyone else but DUP reps.

    Yes I do indeed consider questions around the salary, pension and second home allowances perfectly legitimate questions. Although as all of this has been perfectly within the rules I consider it a systemic problem rather than a personal one (Personally like the Olympic village idea as an alternative solution rather than David Cameron’s pay-rise idea).

    However, to include travel, staffing and office costs etc for the sake of making the figures look bigger, imply that they are going into individuals pockets I consider to be deeply dubious practices. It also undermines the claims that the motivation is concern about taxpayers money rather than a plain smear job.

    The UUP’s new found deep concern about all this I find unconvincing beyond basic point-scoring – part of the rough and tumble of politics – but the claims of a higher cause aren’t ringing true for me.

    I must admit to being somewhat torn on employing family issue. My instinct and judgement would be against it becuase of the issues around it. However, I must admit that the broad experience I have of family members who are employed (despite the percpetion) has been that they are hard-working and the money’s worth is being got.

  • Bigger Picture

    Alan56

    Trust me Jim Allister will not, he’s as guilty as doing it as everyone else. Have you heard him make any noise on the issue? He’s keeping his head down and out of it. In the main i would also refer to F_d’s analysis at post 7 which hits the nail on the head on this whole issue as far as i am concerned.

    Nigel does employ his wife, and it is through her work in that capacity that she has risen from cllr to MLA and is now running for Europe. That’s a success not something to be ashamed of. If you want dodgy secretarial allowances what about the £500,000 grand SF MLA’s have given out to SF HQ no?

  • Bigger Picture

    Frustrated D

    I never tried to make it out that it was right it should all be looked into.

    However i just don’t buy into all this smear job by the media when it was all in the rules and nobody has done anything illegal. It is a far cry, i respectfully put, from say the last days of Tory Government that was ridiled with sleaze allegations of a very serious nature on a weekly basis

  • Frustrated Democrat

    F Deal

    As I commented elsewhere, because it is available doesn’t mean you have to take it. That applies to all politicians from whichever party.

    One family member maybe, four is just not acceptable nor is double claiming on housing allowances. Especially for Northern Ireland’s First family who should work to a higher standard than anyone else.

  • Bigger Picture

    “because it is available doesn’t mean you have to take it.”

    O come off it i am not questioning your morale fibre here fd but i really do not believe that you believe that to be a proper argument to make. The allowances are there to be used, if used for a legitimate purpose then that is fine. You are trying to make the Robinsons out to have done something wrong or against the rules when they have not. If the rules need to be changed then so be it but this is just mud slinging whatever way you try to glaze it up.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    BP

    Used not abused, I think is the term you are looking for.

    Stop trying to defend the indefensible.

    If pointing out the abuses carried out by the Robinsons and others is mud slinging so be it, I am completely guilty of defending the tax payers that their money comes from.

  • Bigger Picture

    But it is not indefensible when under law and by the rules they have done nothing wrong!!!!

    I am not saying the system doesn’t need reform it does but you are trying to vilify MP’s when it’s the system that’s the problem. Your focus is wrong and therefore it does become an issue of simple petty political point scoring.

    Whether you think you are on some moral crusade on behalf of me as a taxpayer makes no odds. As an ardent Ulster (we only care about this now since everybody realised we are crap and don’t have any MP’s who are also MLA’s now and for the time being) Unionist your act is completely see through. So spare us the tripe..

  • Frustrated Democrat

    BP

    I feel sorry for you if the law is the only defence you can muster. I thought politicians were elected to look after their constituents not fleece them of as much money as is legally possible.

    Your views of right and wrong certianly do not accord with mine. Mine says that it is their duty to claim as little as possible not as much as possible.