If you're a long term reader of this fine blog, chances are you also read the tremendous blog by professional Stoke City fanatic The Plashing Vole. Ever since the General Election, you may have noticed that Voley has had it in for the newly elected MP for Wolverhampton South West - his constituency - Mr Paul Uppal MP, a Conservative.
As the tirades began, I mostly ignored them. Voley is a rabid leftie, and I took his rants to be exaggerations - portrayals of Mr Uppal which were unfair and inaccurate and at times callous. Nevertheless, I was curious about the Uppalster, so I went to the (excellent) 'They Work For You' website and signed up to e-mail notifications about the great man. This basically means that when Paul Uppal asks a question or makes a speech in the House of Commons, I get an email the next morning notifying me of the content. You can do it for any MP you like, and it's cool, providing you're a nerd like me.
Here's the kicker. On Thursday morning I received an email because yer man from Wolverhampton had asked a question at Prime Ministers Questions the day previously, the full transcript of which can be found (and laid out really well) here: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2011-06-22b.313.5#g323.2
It's perhaps fair to say that this question did not please me greatly. Here it is:
Earlier this year, the Prime Minister demonstrated his strength of character in talking about multiculturalism. In view of the fact that I have a Christian first name and a Sikh surname, I try to combine the best of my traditional Indian values with my core British values. Does he agree that we can learn a lot from our Indian partners in this respect, many of whom define themselves by their nationality first and foremost, regardless of their ethnic or religious background?
With all due respect to Paul Uppal MP, what a bucketful of shit that is. A thorough fisking of it can be found here but the thing that angered me about it was that Uppal seemingly felt the need to ask this probing, thorough and intelligent "question" at PMQs. Seriously. For folk like myself, who are interested in politics but not overly so, PMQs is pretty much the one time we have to watch the Prime Minister answering questions on the big national issues of the day. Some MPs don't focus on the national side of things - they highlight an issue in their area, or a note-worthy constituent of theirs, and that's fine. Uppal does neither. What he does do is ask a question which doesn't actually make a great deal of sense. I'd love to know what "core British values" are.
So at this point I've got Uppal's card marked, but sadly worse was to follow. Last week I was lounging around watching tennis when a tweet caught my attention - Tory MP Mark Pritchard was going against his own party/leader in trying to get a ban imposed on circuses employing wild animals as part of their shows. I flicked over to BBC Parliament instantly, not because I was particularly interested in circuses, but because Pritchard is my local MP and seemed to be stirring things up a bit. I proceeded to sit and watch the debate for about 90 minutes, as it proved to be rather more interesting than I thought it would be. During that time I witnessed:
a) Several Conservative MPs congratulating Mark Pritchard on his involvement with the debate, and agreeing with his viewpoint.
b) A very thoughtful and intelligent speech from Caroline Lucas.
c) A speech from Zac Goldsmith(!) where he put on record how he was pleased David Cameron had stepped down and allowed the debate to be a free vote.
d) A cross-party consensus on the issue.
During these speeches, I spotted the great man himself, the Uppal, sneaking into the Chamber. I suddenly got excited. Would he speak on this issue? Would he join Zac Goldsmith (still can't believe that) in subtly criticising his leader? Would he join everyone else in agreeing with Mark Pritchard on this issue? Well, the answers are as follows - Yes. No. No.
Those are fine words, but will the hon. Gentleman explain to the House why the Labour party did not do something about the issue when it was in power?
And now I know that Vole is right. Because this is disgustingly cheap political point scoring from someone who should know better. I appreciate politics is a dirty game sometimes, but at that moment in the debate, there was no need for an interjection as snide, unintelligent and pointless as what we see above. Mercifully, as we can see here (http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2011-06-23a.548.0&s=speaker%3A24886#g579.0) Uppal was soon slapped down by Labour MP Gavin Shuker. There we have it folks. That's the mark of the man, right there. When even the poshest of posh Tory boys can admit that his leader is worryingly wrong and contributes successfully to a debate, Paul Uppal barges in with his finger pointing with nonsense that helps precisely no-one.
Will I ever blog about Paul Uppal ever again? Probably not - I know someone who will, and they do a better job of it than I ever could. But the more blogs like this which can be found when a person googles his name, the better, quite frankly. People of Wolverhampton South West - when the election next rolls round, don't tolerate this man's rubbish any longer.