I feel sorry for the Youth Czar but not for wingeing Tory backbenchers accusing George young of blackmail
7 Apr 2013 at 10:00
There are two instructive and fascinating stories that grace the Sunday newspapers this morning. The hilarious tale of Paris Brown the seventeen year old £15,000 Kent Youth Czar who has entertained the twitter sphere with her rants about drugs, gays and booze. And the allegation that Chief Whip, Sir George Young has been trying to silence Tory rebels on Europe and gay marriage by hinting that their expense claims might be a little embarrassing. I suspect when George reads this over his muesli this morning he will find it rather amusing as not one of the so called rebels wished to be named.
But back to the youth Czar. What first amazed me was that anyone could be dumb enough to appoint a seventeen year old to speak on behalf of the needs of young people in the criminal justice system. Until I read that it was an appointment of the Police Commissioner for Kent, Ann Barnes. A former teacher from Merseyside who made some interesting remarks before her election which are worthy of repeating. “Electing police commissioners would be naive and disastrous….a wilful waste of money……could lead towards a confrontational model of governance.” A year before she beat the Tory candidate into second place.
I actually feel rather sorry for Paris. She seems a bubbly, full of life seventeen year old with all the angst, issues and uncertainties that comes with that age. And teenagers like to show off. Making daft claims about sex, drugs and booze is pure Inbetweeners and I suspect that she will be ashamed of her remarks about “fags” and “wanting to cut everyone” and be rather embarrassed about bizarre claims about drugs and drunkenness. All well and good if said in a smoke filled bedroom with other kids. The trouble is that the social media puts these youthful indiscretions on the record. Forever. And this morning the Mail on Sunday gave her the full treatment. The pressure and horror of the media in full primal scream is terrifying for even the most hardened politicians. For a seventeen year old kid it must feel that the earth has swallowed her up and vomited her into the depths of hell.
And then its time for the rent a quotes to be put on parade. Keith Vaz the viscous chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee was frothing with outrage and demanding resignations. The Tories so far have kept quiet. But it won’t be long.
I know, I know, Paris is in a quasi public position and deserves everything she gets you might say. Well you might, but I don’t. She is still a seventeen year old kid who has been rather stupid. At that age I would have bitten off anyone’s hand for fifteen grand asking me to represent my peers. I have no doubt that I would have behaved like a total twat.
The real culprit is Commissioner Barnes. What on earth did she think would happen? When she said in 2011 that electing a police Commissioner would be naive and disastrous I doubt whether she thought how prescient she was.
And now to the poor misunderstood flowers on the Tory backbenches. A few weeks ago some were moaning that rather than the whips telling them how to vote they should be sitting them down for a cup of tea and listening to their woes. Yes, I know, it really does make you want to weep. To regard the Whips office as some kindly bunch of church of England vicars on hand with tea and sympathy rather misunderstands their role which is to get the government’s business through the Commons. To be fair if an MP has a serious personal problem they will help. But not at the expense of government business.
So what is the terrible crime dear old George is meant to have committed? Well, according to the Mail on Sunday he had the temerity to mention to a few MPs that they really ought to play ball with IPSA and pay up or face the prospect of loosing their seats. That’s hardly blackmail. Rather some useful advice. But skins are rather thin recently.
Now these kids don’t have the excuse of extreme youth as Paris does. They need to grow up and grow some.