Friday, May 22, 2009

Anthony Steen

As Anthony Steen disappears into retirement many people have asked me what I think of his behaviour because I haven't commented on him earlier.

This is because for a few days before his standing down became public knowledge there was a very great deal of discussion about what the Totnes Association could, or should do if Anthony refused to go. I felt that weighing in publicly in the affairs of a neighbouring constituency would neither be appropriate or terribly helpful while that process was going on, although in private all along I have been saying that he must go .

Now that he has done the right thing and decided to step down I can say what I think, which is that however hard he has worked, however many constituents he has served well over the years it is not enough to justify the morally indefensible and I think his claims were just that, morally indefensible.

Anthony is a wealthy man in his own right and cannot possibly have needed the money so what on earth was he thinking? Perhaps the lawyer in him couldn't separate out the legal right from the moral wrong. Either way he has been the sole architect of his own downfall.

It is not legally possible to force him to repay the money as some have suggested because, as with most of these cases, he was acting entirely within the rules and therefore has committed no offence and breached no agreements, so unless he makes a goodwill gesture (hardly likely, judging by his public comments) there is no way the money can be returned.

But the main thing is -along with two others he is going; and hopefully a few other disgraced Conservative MP's will go as well this weekend because I really do think that this is the best way out of this for Parliaments sake.

But what of his neighbours? I learn that Tory Gary Streeter and Labour MP Alison Seabeck have posted all their own expenses on their websites today, so is clearly nothing to hide there.

Younger Ross is guilty of exactly the same 'offence' as Steen - and as much money, too. No doubt there will be howls of protest from some that he wasn't as 'bad' as Anthony but why? Because he doesn't live in such a big house? Because he used the money to buy fancy mirrors and expensive furniture rather than tree surgeons and water pipes?

And what about our MP? Will he now do the right thing and get on and publish his own expenses? And if not, will his own party take tough action against him?

Somehow I doubt it. Clearly -in spite of Nick Cleggs fine words- they don't have the determination and guts to act and that won't be forgotten by voters at election time.


Anonymous said...

Adrian Sanders is increasingly isolated and must be thinking 'clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you"

But he has only put off his day of reckoning.

If he hadn't anything to hide he would have been boasting about it by now.

So clearly he is skewered like a pig on a spit. Well done you.

anyone but the torbay and totnes tories said...

Absolute spin Marcus ! You copped out and you were one-sided in your denunciations. Media and public response has not been with you except for the Torbay Tory Express !

Fed up voter said...

ABTTATT you can't have it both ways, you called on Mr Wood to express an opinion on Steen, to be fair he did, and now you are complaining about it.

The danger is that all parties are deeply in the mire over this, although down here in the West Country it's Labour members who seem to be largely in the clear.

The Tories are ruthless enough to dump people, Steen was dropped like a hot brick and now they will probably pick some celebrity chef or smoothie female and quash any chance of the seat changing hands.

We are just not organised or ruthless enough on the left.

Mr Sanders looks increasingly shifty - most voters who can spot a cover up when they see one. The Tories would have dumped him for a younger model, so should the Lib Dems.

And by the time his expenses are eventually dragged into the light the local media will have no other distractions, July is usually a very quiet news month i suspect the Herald Depressed will be overjoyed.

He has been completely cack-handed over his media management, at least Mr Younger Ross has faced the music and as a result will probably survive but I can't say that with any confidence for your man.

Mr Wood is milking it for all its worth but frankly on current form he is entitled to, since he has been going on about the expenses for years, Sanders has just played into his hands, it's hideous to watch.

If you really don't want to see the Tories get back you seem to be going a funny way about it. I have voted for years to keep Tories out of Torbay but I have never felt less motivated to vote in my life as I do now.

anyone but the torbay and totnes tories said...

You feel unmotivated to vote FUV ?! Look at Bye, Carroll and Wood - look at the number of Masons in Tory ranks at the town hall, the lack of policies but the surfeit of point scoring from Marcus.

The grubbiest, grasping MP's have been Tory. The lack of humility and arrogance of Steen and Mackay reminds us how out-of-touch the Tories are, locally and nationally. Get out and vote FUV !

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see if the wannabe MP Bye, who has coveted the Totnes seat,throws his hat into the ring.

respect choice said...

Bye wont resist, be the best all round if he gets it, Torbay loses a crap mayor and Totnes goes LD at the next election.

Adrian Sanders is being badly advised on the PR front I agree he looks in the shit over expenses- I wish he would do something. I am still hoping that Charlie Windsor ends up with egg on his face when (if) it turns out he is barking up the wrong tree.

The possibility that sanders has actually got something to hide doesn't bear thinking about.

Barrie Wood said...

Let's wait and see on Adrian shall we.

As it is, Marcus only spoke out when Steen was a 'gonner' - hardly fits the image of the 'fearless campaigner' he'd like to portray. Too little, too late, Marcus.

Moreover, you've repeatedly tried to villify Adrian since being Tory PPC. You're obsessed with the Lib Dems, but fail to answer policy questions, like which group the Tories can ally with in the EU parliament.

As for Bye, he's ever more a wanabe MP than Marcus. What can you mean 'respect' ? Marcus once said Nick is the best thing to happen to the bay in a generation, or words to that end. How can you disagree with this 'wisdom' ? And, as Marcus keeps saying, following his canvass returns, he's sure Nick is a great electoral asset.

Let's hope Marcus' judgement is as poor as ever.

If you want to be respected Marcus you need to challenge those abusing MP's expenses, irrespective of party. This you have clearly failed to do, hence the allegation of politically motivated point scoring from many, me included.