Bob Needs All The Help He Can Get

Bandwagon Bob

BOB SPINK, our local MP, has never had much success in having his numerous Early Day Motions (EDMs) debated in the House of Commons, so it should perhaps come as no surprise to find him trawling around, at the bottom of the pond, to gain some support for one of his latest offerings.

No doubt encouraged by winning his seat on a Conservative ticket at the last general election – and on the back of a: ‘What part of “send them home” don’t you understand?’ sound-bite, which was eagerly taken-up by the local press, Bob appears to be stoking-up support in the far-right camp to ride the anti-Islam bandwagon at the polls to be held later this year.

Three appeals were posted on the internet yesterday, requesting readers to contact their MPs and have them sign Bob’s EDM No 288, which, it was reported, calls ‘for a debate on the Sharia law issue and radical Islamic groups and banning them from England.’

The requests were made on the Counter-Jihad Alliance; International Civil Liberties Alliance and Time for a Revolution’s Facebook blogs.

For an Early Day Motion to be debated in the House, it has to obtain at least 100 signatures; but, of the 56 EDMs he laid-down in 2005/06; the 37 in 2006/07; the 79 in 2007/08; the 151 in 2008/09 (when Bob went big time for those statistics); and the 50 that he has personally sponsored so far in the current session (one last push), Bob has only achieved that target on three separate occasions. (The fourth I will not count because the motion was ‘suspended’).

Bob does like his EDMs, and his scatter-gun approach ensures that there are few passing bandwagons which constituents can criticise him for not supporting. He may have no support in the house, and may not have secured a single handful of debates – but it is the number of EDMs that matter for Bob to proclaim how hard working he is.

Constituents might think that his three successful EDMs (those that were actually debated) would have concerned Castle Point in some way. Just as they might think that the vast majority of the 373 individual EDMs would have concerned local matters. But we are talking about Bob Spink here, our local MP, and such is not the case.

Bob’s successes were all gained by closely following the political pages in the broadsheets and constructing a motion around the issue of the day – then ensuring he filed it quickly before anyone else had the idea.

His first success in the period concerned the British Red Cross and its Road Safety Campaign. On 10 October 2006, Bob succeeded with his EDM 683, capturing 163 signatures with this:-

That this House notes research that shows that eight people die each day on UK roads, that over half these deaths happen in the first few minutes after a crash before the emergency services arrive, and that up to 85 per cent. of preventable pre-hospital deaths may be due to airway obstruction which could be avoided with basic first aid; welcomes the British Red Cross campaigns to promote first aid and road safety; and calls on the Government to consider ways to ensure that all new drivers get more effective first aid training.

The next month, Bob succeeded again. On 29 November 2006 he laid-down an Early Day Motion regarding an Armenian genocide that had made the press. His EDM357 achieved 182 signatures, and read:-

That this House believes that the killing of over a million Armenians in 1915 was an act of genocide; calls upon the UK Government to recognise it as such; and believes that it would be in Turkey’s long-term interests to do the same.

It was not until a year later, though – on 6 December 2007 – that Bob managed to repeat his winning formula. Then it was the subject of police pay that gained him 151 signatures and enabled his EDM494 to be debated. His motion read:-

That this House notes that, over the years, the salaries and benefits of police officers have been eroded, yet demands on them are increased all the time; is concerned about the Government’s leaked policy on police pay which will be seen by dedicated and hard working police officers across Britain as yet another insult; notes that in real terms a 2.5 per cent. increase leaves officers again with a falling real level of pay; recalls that last year the Government forced police officers to wait three months for their pay increase and that this year’s increase will not be backdated to September; and further notes that this effectively reduces the increase to 1.9 per cent.; believes that this is unacceptable, and that this makes recruitment into the police more difficult; and therefore calls on the Government to review its policy as a matter of urgency.

So what of this latest motion? Well, in fact it is not that recent. Bob laid it down a month ago, on 30 November 2009; but it has only gained five signatures since. Moreover, its actual text may come as a surprise to those far-right groups promoting it online.

That this House notes the increasing use of Sharia councils in some circumstances in the UK; further notes that a single legal system operates in the UK under the authority of the Crown; recognises the importance of rigorously adhering to and maintaining a single legal system to ensure the equal treatment of all citizens; and calls on the Government to ensure there is no acceptance in any way of any alternative legal systems in the UK.

Bob does not, as you can see, mention any Islamic groups or suggest banning them from England (although, given the internet snowball, he may have wished he had).

No doubt Bob will be hoping that the snowball will gather size in the coming weeks and give him another stab at an attention grabbing headline; but the truth is it is just another vain attempt to spin an un-newsworthy EDM to make it fit the current public mood over the proposed Islam4UK march planned for Wootton Bassett.

Our local MP is simply looking in his thick EDM file for anything he can use to bash the Islamists with – and turn the spotlight his way.

It is cynical, ignorant, distasteful, politics that residents can well do without…

… (09/01/2010) – How The Politics Of Hate Are Set To Derail Local Elections This Year


7 Responses

  1. As I understand it the average Early Day Motion costs around £600 to print and publish.

    So 151 X £600 = £90,600. N

    Seeing how few EDMs actually generate a debate it must be questioned if this is a good use of taxpayers money?

    • I think that £600 figure applies only to those EDMs that are debated in the house. (I.e. the cost of providing all MP’s with a copy of the motion). But you are right to highlight the issue of costs.

      My information is that each EDM laid-down costs the taxpayer around £290 – and that written answers, which Bob is also renowned for, cost taxpayers around £149 each. (It is much more cost effective to Google the answers for yourself).

      By my calculation, using both our figures, that gives taxpayers a bill of around £109,970 for Bob’s attempts at sponsoring debates.

      If you speak to other MPs about EDMs, you will find that, before raising them, they assess their chances by speaking to other MPs and drumming-up support. Only then, when they think it has a good chance of succeeding, do they bother to lay it down. But Bob isn’t about political debate and pursuasion. He is just interested in those TheyWorkForYou statistics and being able to claim that, whatever the subject, he has done his best to promote it (showing he is a true ‘man of the people’).

      The problem is that what he says is given local headlines without any research being undertaken into whether his statements are actually true. The national press, to their credit, more often than not quote what he says tongue-in-cheek. (Bob is an easy source to provide agreement to whatever angle a reporter might be preparing to adopt with a piece).

  2. Im still trying to understand the purpose behind Bob’s Sharia law motion. Is he really suggesting that UK Law would ever recognise Sharia Courts?

    He isn’t attacking Islam here is he? He is supporting Muslim rights to be heard in UK Courts rather than their chosen religious counterparts.

    I don’t get it.

    Any individual has a right to agree to be held to account by any body they choose. And by any body they choose to associate themselves with. We all do this when we forgo some of our liberty to our employers and accept our contracts of employment.

    What possible objection can anyone have of a Muslim agreeing to be judged by his religious law? Don’t all Catholics do just that?

    The only choice we don’t have is to opt-out of a country’s Law. We are all subject to that, whatever the location.

    What surprises me is that this motion has achieved the 5 signatures it has.

    Am I just dumb or what?……………..

    • I’m not sure where he is coming from on this one either, Cynical.

      On the face of it, it looks like a knee-jerk reaction to the widely reported (and ill-conceived) statement made by the head of the Anglican Church, Dr Rowan Williams. He is quoted as saying that it “seems inevitable” that some parts of the Islamic sharia law would be enshrined in UK law.

      The comment received widespread condemnation when it was made – but that was back in 2008.

      Maybe Bob had just heard about it…

  3. Unfortunately Bob us now an independent but is recognised as a patriot. Your rantings and ramblings seem diseased and jealous in content as to his status in the community, something you yourself are obviously lacking. His EDM288 resolution will grow in stature as it is a matter that the English Electorate in general are asking for. Now crawl back under your rock and desist with the rhetoric as you have been found seriously wanting with regard to this issue, or any other come to that.

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