Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Ronnie Campbell, PMQs, yoga, the Speaker, jobs, transport and too much curry - an interesting tale

My Northumberland neighbour, Ronnie Campbell, the hard left Labour MP for Blyth Valley, always sits in the commons on the front row next to Dennis Skinner, his hero. To speak to he is perfectly civil. He is a confirmed eurosecptic and wants to leave the EU right away.
But, every time the latest jobs figures, and the positive employment news are mentioned in the commons he always says "but it is terrible in the north east". Aside from his relentless negativity about his home region Ronnie is also factually wrong both on the North East generally, and his own seat of Blyth Valley. To help I have extracted the latest Blyth valley figures:

The Blyth Valley unemployment figures are as follows:
Between May 2014-2015 unemployment fell [according to House of Commons independent figures - Briefing paper 7229, June 17 2015]:
- 18-24 year old claimants dropped by 20.9% = 115 young men and women
- 50 and over claimants dropped by 11.4% = 40 men and women
- long term = more than 12 months unemployed fell by 30.4% = 210 men and women
I could go on a out these stats and the apprenticeship stats which are also good.

Which brings me to last Wednesdays exchange at PMQs:
On this occasion whilst everyone was lauding the technical and engineering masterpiece that is Crossrail, the underground rail tunnel across London, he went purple with rage about how the government was spending money on London. It is true that Crossrail is very expensive, at over £15 billion, and therefore distorts transport spend across the country, but Ronnie always forgets that this Crossrail project was commissioned, authorised and then passed through parliament and started by the last Labour government before 2010!!! And Labour / Ronnie voted repeatedly for this.The full history is here:

On last Wednesday Ronnies chunterings upset the speaker who intervened as follows:
Mr Speaker: "Mr Campbell, it is all that hot curry! It is getting to you. Calm yourself, man! Calm down. Maybe a bit of yoga would help."
The full extract from this debate is here:
Ronnie is a nice person I stress, but on these two issues Ronnie is most specifically wrong.