Eric Joyce and Stuart Andrew: what the papers failed to mention

It was the political story of the month. It was a gift that had fallen into the lap of the subs on Fleet Street. “Labour MP, Eric Joyce headbutts Tory MP in the Strangers Bar in the House of Commons”.

We heard that Mr Joyce was slightly worse for wear or “pissed up” in the common parlance, but what was the spark that ignited the flame, so to speak? We heard that Joyce had said, upon entering the bar, that there were “too many Tories” in there. Perhaps there were. Perhaps some of them hold views that are, shall we say, a little reprehensible?

The other day while I was linking the extreme-right wing Trade Union Reform Campaign to this blog, I noticed that the alleged victim of Joyce’s headbutt , Stuart Andrew, the member for Pudsey, is on the Parliamentary Council of TURC. Was Joyce aware of this? Surely, he must have been. The Tory press was full of outrage, many of them claiming how Andrew was totally innocent. None of them bothered to inform their readers of Andrew’s other activities, namely TURC’s work to destroy trade unions. Here’s an excerpt from an interview with Mr Andrew in the Daily Mail,

Mr Andrew said: ‘I was having a lovely evening chatting and relaxing. Andrew [Percy] came back to the table and said, “Excuse me, can I just get to my seat?” but Joyce would not let him. He said, “There are too many Tories” and pushed him against the wall. I stood up and said, “You can’t do that.”

But this is the most interesting part,

Mr Andrew, who briefly joined the Labour Party in 1997, said he had never met Mr Joyce before. ‘We had never spoken and there is no history between us whatsoever. I bet he was in that cell thinking, “Who the hell is Stuart Andrew?” ’

[...]
Mr Andrew said he had received ‘superb’ support in recent days. ‘People I don’t even know have been coming up to me and asking if I am all right. Constituents have been phoning with lovely messages, as have schools and sixth formers.’

How nice of them. I wonder how many of them know about his hatred of trade unions? Not knowing Pudsey, it would be improper of me to label each and every elector in his constituency as rabid anti-union types but those who voted for Andrew must be. What I find so odd about Andrew being a former member of Labour Party is his opposition to trade unions. If he joined Labour surely he was aware of the party’s history?

I don’t expect Andrew,  Nazi Boy Burley or any of the other members of TURC to admit to hating trade unions or wanting to destroy them but, then, honesty has never been the strongest suit of this Tory party.

The Tories have a serious problem with unions. In other words, they don’t like them. They seem to feel that the anti-union legislation that was put in place by Thatcher didn’t go far enough. They want to break the unions by further limiting their ability to organize and to fight on their members’ behalf. They even coined a meaningless neologism, “Union Pilgrims” as a term of abuse (they’re great at slinging mud but terrible at having a reasoned debate).  Well, when I say “they”, I really mean Paul Staines and Harry Cole, whose blog is filled with bile-saturated articles about trade unionists, none of which I will quote or link to here.

You can see who else is on TURC’s Parliamentary Council here.  Two names stand out from all the others: those of the disgraced Liam Fox and Dominic Raab. The latter writes evidence-free reports, some of which call for an end to hte Equality Act. Raab also thinks that men have it tough and suffer from sex discrimination at the hands of women. He obviously missed the meeting about the patriarchy. Tories are rather adept at tospy-turvy thinking and this is one example of how they try to play victim by inverting the logic of discrimination.

Back to Andrew, this article from The Yorkshire Post tells us that he is a career politician who has no problem switching sides in order to further his career.

One commentator on the ConservativeHome website states: “Stuart Andrew defected to Labour… This was a total disgrace and displayed political treachery of the worst sort – yet now he is back.”

And on the UKPollingReport site, Jenny Whitmann, wrote: “I just find it totally staggering. How can anyone switch from being a Tory councillor to a Labour councillor then back? “

Last night Mr Andrew said: “After the 1997 general election I was not happy with the direction of the party and found it very difficult to support some of the stances they had taken,” he said. “So foolishly – I was only in my 20s – I joined Labour. But I soon realised the philosophy of the Conservatives was where my beliefs lie.”

Laughable.

Recently on his website, Andrew’s constituency agent wrote,

Stuart Andrew MP and students from Horsforth, Pudsey Grangefield, Crawshaw and St Mary’s Catholic Schools in the Pudsey constituency returned from the Holocaust Educational Trust’s visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau on Thursday 3rd May vowing to act on the lessons learned from the experience.

Now in its thirteenth year, the Project is based on the premise that “hearing is not like seeing”. Students first visited Osweicim, the town where the Auschwitz death and concentration camps were located and where before the war, 58% of the population was Jewish. Students then visited Auschwitz I to see the former camp’s barracks and crematoria and witnessing the piles of belongings that were seized by the Nazis. Finally they spent time at the main killing centre of Birkenau where the day concluded with candle lighting and a period of reflection to remember the 6 million Jews, and the Roma, Sinti, gay, disabled, black people, and other victims of the Nazis killed in the Holocaust.

Interesting, yet he still associates with a Nazi fetishist who was caught texting his chums during a Holocaust memorial lecture.

As I’ve said before: the Nazis were opposed to trade unions and imprisoned union activists. Today’s Tory Party would like to deny that it embraces a similar hatred but it’s transparently obvious that it does. Stuart Andrew, far from being just a hapless victim of a Labour MP’s violent behaviour, is involved in a campaign that seeks to destroy workers’ rights and the ability of trade unions to fight on their behalf. If I had have been in Joyce’s position, I might have reacted in a similar fashion. I despise liars, turncoats, blacklegs, scabs and bullies. It seems to me that Andrew is all of these things and maybe more.

UPDATE: 29/5/12 @ 1203

It seems that one of Andrew’s drinking buddies on that fateful evening is also on TURC’s Parliamentary Council. Alec Shelbrooke, the MP for Elmet and Rothwell was also a fellow councillor on Leeds City Council.

UPDATE: 16/3/13 @ 1023

As I came to the end of this article in The Independent, I noticed a quote from Shelbrooke that was contained in this paragraph,

A Tory MP caught up in last year’s fracas, Alec Shelbrooke, said: “I will be talking about it to a number of my colleagues who were involved last time to see if we want to take it further.”

To be honest, Shelbrooke looks as though he takes full advantage of the Palace’s subsidized food and drink. His waistline has expanded exponentially since he took his Commons seat in 2010.

2 Comments

Filed under Government & politics, Trade Union Reform Campaign

2 responses to “Eric Joyce and Stuart Andrew: what the papers failed to mention

  1. Reblogged this on Representing the Mambo and commented:
    Interesting piece. I blogged previously on my sympathy for Joyce and the more I think about it the more I think that him sticking one on a few Tories, especially ones as awful as Stuart Andrew, isn’t that bad.

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