Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lincolnshire, so much to answer for

Baroness Thatcher's home county is a rather strange and sinister place: the flatness, the ditches on the roadside that seem to have the express purposes of drawing in motorists who have become hypnotised by the monotonous landscape so that the in-bred locals can slit their throats and take their valuables. You might see it as Wales without the redeeming features.

But when you consider its politicians an Irish friend of mine suggested an even better comparison: the Tipperary of England. It is perhaps not entirely a coincidence that the most shameful examples of troughing MPs have come from Lincolnshire.

Viscount Hailsham, aka Douglas Hogg, aka the man with the moat seems determined to destroy his own career in a manner designed to make David Cameron look good in comparison.

Then there are his Labour counterparts, foremost among them Elliot Morley, who will spend the rest of life longing for obscurity after claiming for the mortgage that never was - oh while renting out his other home to a fellow Lincolnshire Labour MP.

Another representative of that country is Austin Mitchell, a man whom no one has taken seriously since about 1979. Even the Commons Fees Office questioned some of his claims. At least, he doesn't appear to have done anything too outrageous and, to give the man his due, his response to the Telegraph is far more enjoyable that the standard "it was all within the rules" shtick.

However, this is also the county that sent to Parliament Quentin Davis, the man who was once prosecuted for cruelty to sheep and who - in possibly the gravest misjudgment since Paris whispered in Helen's ear "come over the weekend, no one will miss you" - decided to leave the Tories to join Labour because of his admiration for Gordon Brown's "sound judgment" and "great competence".

Going back further, this was also the county that sent the young Jeffrey Archer to Parliament.

What the hell is wrong with the place? Great cheese, though.

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