Friday 26 October 2007

Looking after their own

On the BBC news website this evening, I find the following mildly bizarre paean in praise of the frugality of Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw:
Push bike pushes MP expenses down
The MP who claimed the lowest expenses in Devon and Cornwall for 2006/7 says it is because he travels almost everywhere by bicycle.

Ben Bradshaw, the Labour MP for Exeter claimed £131,000 - more than £30,000 less than the South West average.


Mr Bradshaw, who also travels standard class on the train to Westminster, said he was aware of who foots the bill.

"It's important for all politicians and public servants to remember it's the people's money that's being spent," he said.

While Mr Bradshaw is no doubt to be congratulated on doing more than other South-Western MPs to keep his expenses in check, it does seem to me to be a tad odd that, while an entire article is devoted to the fact that Ben Bradshaw has kept his expenses down to £131,000, no mention whatsoever is made of Tory MP Philip Hollobone, who has managed to reduce his expenses to a mere £44,551 (i.e. one-third as much as Ben Bradshaw's). Hollobone has achieved this by the expedient of not employing any office staff. So, why is Bradshaw's "lowest expenses in Devon and Cornwall" considered so much more newsworthy than Hollobone's far lower "lowest expenses in Britain"?

Could the following fascinating biographical details of Ben Bradshaw possibly hold the key, I wonder?
In 1986 he joined the BBC as reporter with BBC Radio Devon. In 1989 he became the award winning Berlin correspondent with BBC Radio and was serving in the city at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall. He became a reporter in 1991 with BBC Radio's The World At One programme, where he stayed until his election to Westminster.
And that's not all:
When first elected in 1997, Ben Bradshaw was one of the first gay MPs to be out at the time he was initially elected, along with Stephen Twigg. He lives with his partner, Neal Dalgleish, who is a BBC producer.
So, the MP who appears to be receiving inexplicably favourable publicity courtesy of the BBC is an ex-Beeboid, in a relationship with a Beeboid.

A wonderful thing, impartiality...

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