GOING FOR A GONG..
Well, it didn`t take long for the true colours of the Westminster Bubble to emerge from the ashes of Labour`s election defeat. Now there apparently exists a curious convention known as the `dissolution honours,` which allows a defeated leader to reward loyal cronies. I imagine that these shenanigans are normally conducted rather quietly, away from the public gaze and thus avoiding the kind of criticism that might be attracted.
This time, however, there`s a snag, which has given rise to a big falling out between former Leader Ed Milliband and Acting Leader Harriet Harman, who protested when discovering that Milliband intended to dish out a peerage to his election co-ordinator, one Spencer Livermore. She retaliated by demanding a similar `honour` for her press chief, someone named Ayesha Hazarika. The situation is complicated by the fact that, as things stand, Harriet - as Acting Leader of the party - outranks the crestfallen Milliband and so she is determined to stand up to him.
Labour MPs aren`t happy with this public spat and are said to be `outraged` by the prospect of peerages being give to ` a wonk and a spin doctor,` whilst overlooking two senior Labour parliamentarians, Paul Murphy and Dave Watts, who `have devoted their lives to serving their party and country with distinction and deserve the awards far more` than the two being squabbled over.
And when you look at the comparative qualifications of the four prospective peers in question, I can only agree with the back-bench MPs who are `outraged.` It seems Mr. Livermore, who naturally lives with his partner, the Labour MEP Sebastian Dance, is reported to have been promised a peerage when he was recruited by Ed Milliband two years ago and therefore his claim to a seat in the House of Lords seems to hinge on a misguided promise and losing the election which he was paid to co-ordinate. Ms. Hazarika is a former actress, stand-up comedian and hit the headlines when being sworn at by Hugh Grant in a bar at the 2012 Labour Conference. Previous to her work for Ms. Harman, she spent time in the Home Office, Downing Street and as chief press officer to Labour Cabinet Minister Patricia Hewitt. It is believed that this almighty fuss has forced Ms. Harmon to abandon her bid to ennoble her press chief.
The whole thing smack of farce, of course, because it`s one thing to have a discredited honours system anyway, another to have murky `dissolution honours` and quite another to even suggest that people who live off patronage and favouritism should be suitable candidates to join the ermine-clad ranks of the £300 a day Santa lookalikes that make up the second chamber of the mother of parliaments. Or maybe they might just fit the bill after all?