Monday, July 20, 2009

Rochdale Liberal Democrats: Banana Splits On The Cards?

Must say I'm a little surprised that Hennigan and Rowen haven't come out fighting over Going Completely Bananas on Expenses Gate. PR Paul Rowen MP was observed in incandescent rage as a small but perfectly formed bunch of Bananas protestors turned up for his breakfast meeting at 8AM on Friday. There he was meeting with his old mates from his "ruining the council" days - Rotarians, Worshipful Brothers, Property Developers and fading Business Men - and there's a bananas protest raining on his parade.

By the time his wicked Henchman Hennigan had moved along a perfectly peaceful and very good-humoured protest, even "laying hands" on the obviously 999 criminal "banana people", and even coming off worse in a battle of words with a teenager, and it had all finally slipped by, at 12 noon or so, PR Paul Rowen MP was incandescent. Instead of taking it on the burgeoning treble chin as most other gravy-training honourable members have felt for the best PR Paul Rowen MP was incandescent, furious with Hennigan for not protecting him from local people with a sense of humour, not to mention a feeling that he should be accountable.

The banana was 40p and part of an intern's lunch. Big deal! PR Paul Rowen MP spent a lot of political capital and seven paragraphs of rebuttal dealing with what ought to have been petty cash items. Including the famous knob of butter, and the not so famous "TV Services" widely believed to be an Adult Film.

Perhaps more seriously PR Paul dealt with the way that thousands of pounds was paid direct to the Lib Dem party and indirectly to Lib Dem interests. As far as we know this was all entirely "within the rules". Various "within the rules" tricks and gimmicks saw money that once belonged to the tax payers fairly quickly finding its way into local Lib Dem party funds.

Clearly once it was there the local Lib Dem party could spend the cash on whatever they wanted. Including using money for an MPs entirely non-political and non-VFM advertisements in paying for campaigning print for example. Paying their own share of a tricky shared office rent from money he had given them for his rent. According to their own audited accounts. Making a substantial profit in the process.

The eventual rent being paid to other Lib Dem interests and indeed a company that they themselves part owned. And which that company would go on to donate back to the local party. And so on and so on the money went round the Rowen carousel. All completely "within the rules" we must believe. But in these days of the recalibrated sleazeometer "how does it look?" and "should it be within the rules?" and "would an MP of good judgement claim in this way?" are the questions the PR Paul Rowen MP crew need to answer.

And at another level of course Rowen - and other Lib Dem MPs - also paid LOTS of taxpayer money to their Regional Office, like a tithe, apparently for some vague consultancy and training and IT services. Surely this needs to be looked at carefully? Surely it is fair enough to expect any MP to be accountable on all this?

Tense times. Are the pair about to call it a day and split up? Will Rowen's McBridivist smear merchant Hennigan hit the high road? And if so will that be reckoned on as a banana split? Or will the pompous pair come out fighting?


Anonymous said...

If they had any brains they'd lick their wounds, lie low and start dealing with the bulging postbag of constituent problems that Rowen seems to have ignored as he focuses all his efforts on survival.

Somehow I don't think they're gong to do this. Hennigan and Rowen are cooking up the mother of all political mistakes, which could bring the Lib Dems nationally into disrepute as well as the sorry shower running Rochdale.

Chris Paul said...

Perhaps they'll set some trainee tea boy onto Banana-rebuttal duty? That idiot Lib Dem Cllr Dale Mulgrew set some lawyer on me to get his poppa's welly boots removed from this blog. A complete laughing stock. But cannot take a joke.

Anonymous said...

You are right Anonymous 12:56. The killing fields of Spodden Valley are still awaiting some satisfactory attention wherein the so-called MP for Rochdale stands up to developers and asbestos magnates and tells them to go swivel - despite their donations and their speech-writing services to his predecessor - instead of just playing silly buggers with his running hot and cold on school asbestos danger.

Chris Paul said...

PS Anon 12:56 --- Do you actually know what they're cooking up? Not a banana split then? Spill the beans.

Anonymous said...

Why have Rochdale Online not covered this protest? Were they paid to look the other way? or are they simply waiting for the Obbie to cover it so they can nick their story? They can surely just take the LOL pictures in a tit for tat? - oh, doh, biggest anti-sleaze protest in town for years, not covered, by "news org" paid by MP to do his website? is that it?

Anonymous said...

Observer are silent also:

Anonymous said...

And Rowen is back to his pretending to care about asbestos - after his party's dire record in hiring the killer mineral makers as speech writers:

Can someone do a FoIA request on Rowen's requests? Was it actually Rowen that made the requests or is he fibbing? I'm only asking.

RAW - Rochdale's Alternative Website said...

on the issue of soft fruit, thank goodness Paul Rowen MP hadn't claimed 40p for plums.

a "Spanksy" banana rat stencil is one thing but who would want to know about their MP "grasping plums"?

Some Rochdalians didn't in 1979.

Chris Paul said...

Let's keep Sir Cyril Smith MBE - Rowen and Hennigan's mentor - well out of this. The grabbed plums were of course of 60s vintage. Though it took until the 70s - when one of the plum-ees was arrested for himself perpetrating sex crimes and said "that's not fair, that old bastard got away with it" - that the old bloat's alleged abusive behaviour came to full light.

The Rochdale Labour and the Rochdale Liberal party - plus the national end of the latter - both appear to have conspired in sponging down the old perv's record. Easing any soreness.

Rochdale Rapper said...

Fair point Chris.

Apart from the fact Cyril Smith was arrested in the late 1960's regarding the Cambridge House late night spanking of hostel tenants.

The full story, warts 'n all, will come out one day. Soon.

Anonymous said...

according to Heywood Parish Priest on Rochdale Online messageboard, Dave Hennigan has been on the hhone wanting to "draw a line" under recent events.

Priest poking and bishop bashing? That would be an ecumenical matter...