Sunday, July 11, 2010

Help Sharon wreck the Labour Party

Lib Dem blogger Jonathan Calder, who writes House Points for Lib Dem News, has written an excellent article and blog post about the absurd posturing and policy demands of Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland North, Sharon Hodgson. You can read Jonathan's blog at

For those who have not heard of Sharon Hodgson (likely to be a significant majority), she was the Labour MP for Gateshead East and Washington West from 2005-10. When the boundaries were redrawn, Labour in Gateshead seized the opportunity to dump her as candidate in favour of someone who was not far off being nearly twice her age. She was eventually washed up on the shores of Sunderland. Quite what the good people of Sunderland North did to deserve Mrs Hodgson as their MP is something I simply cannot answer.

Mrs Hodgson's three claims to fame in the last Parliament were interesting, to say the least. She sprung to my attention when I discovered she had written an early day motion praising herself for her attempts to amend legislation which I'm not sure even saw the light of day. It was rather amusing to see the Guardian Diary column run with this story after it appeared on my blog. Her next attempt to stun the world was with her demand for more chocolate on flapjacks in primary schools. And finally, there was her crusade against cinemas which she accused of charging too much for pop corn, fizzy drinks and other healthy junk foods. She demanded they put an end to their ban on people bringing in their own food. As I pointed out in my own blog after she made her ridiculous demands, the logical conclusion of her proposal was the right to bring your own food and drinks into restaurants if you happen to feel that the cost of your meal and bottle of house white was a bit on the expensive side.

Jonathan Calder highlights Mrs Hodgson's latest crusades, including heckling the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, accusing Lib Dems of coming into politics to make children in poverty go hungry (not quite as bad as some Labour claims that we came into politics to eat babies for breakfast and generally spread pestilence, plague and famine). Jonathan also turns his attentions to Hodgson's recent attempt to introduce legislation to ban the resale of tickets for concerts or sporting events. So, the Delightful Sharon wants to turn those who buy tickets other than from an official supplier into a class of criminals. Just imagine, you've bought a ticket for that Kylie concert you've been wanting to go to for ages. You bought the ticket from the official Kylie ticket provider. Then suddenly you can't go. What a pity you can't sell your ticket to a friend without turning yourself and your friend into criminals. As for buying tickets from non-official sources and paying more than the original price, so what? If you are prepared to pay it, that's because you want it enough to pay the price demanded. No one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to buy it.

Mrs Hodgson appears to come from a wing of the Labour Party that wants a staggering degree of state control over people's lives. It's a wing that wants people protected from their own decisions by preventing people from taking decisions about their own lives in the first place.

Jonathan Calder states, "When we hear less of Sharon Hodgson, it will be a sign that Labour is prepared to provide grown-up opposition." Yes, Jonathan, I agree with you. But I am also tempted to say that the more the likes of Sharon Hodgson are heard as the spokespeople of her party, the longer will be the road to recovery for Labour.
Sent via BlackBerry


Anonymous said...

and all the time the local elections get closer :)

Jonathan Wallace said...

Yes, Anonymous local Labour Party member, they are getting closer! If you think you can win my ward next year, why don't you just say? And of course, I'll be looking forward to putting your hopes to the challenge!