The Quick and the Politically Dead

I have no idea if Damian Green was a competent member of the government; he was a minister who operated largely well back from the front line. But he has been forced out by a thoroughly incompetent Prime Minister.

maltby full

The “uncomfortable” Kate Maltby, as she posed herself for the press, pretending to be in high heels

On two grounds, apparently. The first is that he made a journalist, Kate Maltby, feel “uncomfortable”. The background was that Ms Maltby had posed for a tabloid newspaper in a corset and leggings.

Now, if senior politicians are going to have affairs, or even flirt, they should IMHO stick to elegant, discrete women, and stay well clear of overweight blabbermouths. So it was an error of judgement for Green to send a message to Ms Maltby saying:

“Long time no see. But having admired you in a corset in my favourite tabloid I feel impelled to ask if you are free for a drink anytime?”

Clumsy and inappropriate.  But hardly a sacking offence. If Ms Maltby feels uncomfortable, that may well be because of her wholly inappropriate choice of clothing.

The other ground concerns pornography apparently found on one of his parliamentary office computers 9 years ago. Last month, Green made a statement saying:

I’ve been aware for some years that the discredited former assistant commissioner Bob Quick has tried to cause me political damage by leaking false information about the raid on my parliamentary office.
No newspaper has printed this story due to the complete lack of any evidence.
It is well known that Quick, who was forced to apologise for alleging that the Conservative Party was trying to undermine him, harbours deep resentment about his press treatment during the time of my investigation.
More importantly, the police have never suggested to me that improper material was found on my parliamentary computer, nor did I have a ‘private’ computer, as has been claimed.

The allegations about the material and computer, now nine years old, are false, disreputable political smears from a discredited police officer acting in flagrant breach of his duty to keep the details of police investigations confidential, and amount to little more than an unscrupulous character assassination.

This was not quite right, because the police did make such a suggestion in a telephone call, 9 years ago. So the statement should have read:

I’ve been aware for some years that the discredited former assistant commissioner Bob Quick has tried to cause me political damage by leaking false information about the raid on my parliamentary office.
No newspaper has printed this story due to the complete lack of any evidence.
It is well known that Quick, who was forced to apologise for alleging that the Conservative Party was trying to undermine him, harbours deep resentment about his press treatment during the time of my investigation.
More importantly, the police have never suggested to me pursued any allegation that improper material was found on my parliamentary computer, nor did I have a ‘private’ computer, as has been claimed.

The allegations about the material and computer, now nine years old, are false, disreputable political smears from a discredited police officer acting in flagrant breach of his duty to keep the details of police investigations confidential, and amount to little more than an unscrupulous character assassination.

Green was obviously livid about Bob Quick’s despicable and illegal behaviour. Police misconduct must be intensely annoying. It is hardly surprising that he misremembered this detail from 9 years ago.  If he had truly remembered the phone call, he could easily have worded his statement slightly differently without depriving it of its purpose.

I am in no better position than anyone else to know if Green had anything to do with downloading ancient porn onto this computer. It might have been him (he denies it). It might have been someone else in his office. Preferably, of course, we want our parliamentarians getting on with their work rather than gazing for hours on end at internet porn. But it is far lesser sin than spending hours on end plotting to frustrate the will of the UK electorate in relation to Brexit, or making up excuses to invade Iraq.

I am however in the same position as every else in being able to note that many politicians – including John F Kennedy, Lloyd George et al – have had overblown sex drives which have led them to try their luck where their luck should not be tried. Bad manners, for sure.  But if we disqualify everyone guilty of bad manners from politics, there will not be many left.

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