Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Screwing Up by Mark Oaten: Where's the dignity?

All over Britain there are Labour MPs with small majorities who know that they will lose their seats when the general election comes. Some have reacted to this by announcing that they will not fight again. Others are generally doing the decent thing by agreeing to fly the Labour flag at the election, while all the time putting out feelers about new employment afterwards.

One Liberal Democrat MP is combining the two approaches in a manner all his own. Step forward Mark Oaten.

Last year Oaten floated the idea that he might stand down before the general election and force a by-election in Winchester. As I suspected at the time, nothing further came of the idea.

Plan B turns out to be publishing a book. According to the Southern Daily Echo, Screwing Up will be published on 1 October. The newspaper quotes the release from the book's publisher Biteback:

This is the story of a man obsessed by retaining his youth, fearful of turning 40 and feeling a complete failure.

It’s the story of coping with media scandal, and of how he and his wife Belinda managed to save their marriage, as well as his own recent decision to leave politics for the unknown.

Screwing Up is not a political memoir but the deeply touching and human story of a man at his wits’ end, trying to cope with the onset of middle age.

Oh dear.

I am old-fashioned enough to be pleased that the Oaten's marriage has survived, but this is ridiculous. What is so terrible about turning 40? And, whatever our opponents say, being the Lib Dems' shadow home secretary hardly constitutes failure. Chris Huhne is visibly having a whale of a time in the role.

The newspaper also says:
The book, while offering an insight into the working life of a constituency MP, is also said to deal with former party leader Charles Kennedy’s battle with alcoholism.
Which rather gives the lie to Oaten's claim that:
I don’t intend to cause the party embarrassment by dragging up these issues.
If Oaten was really concerned about causing the party embarrassment then he would have waited until after the election before publishing it. But then, of course, any revelations it offers would be less marketable.

Suddenly, Neil and Christina Hamilton's appearance on Hole in the Wall does not look so undignified after all.

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Thomas said...

Surely most of the stuff has been covered by A Tragic Flaw?

Doubting Richard said...

The Lib Dems don't have a 'Shadow Home Secretary'. They have not formed Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition in decades. Grow up and accept reality. They have a spokesman on home affairs. That is a respectable post to hold, but it is not a Shadow Home Secretary.

Anonymous said...

Richard, Grow up and accept we are can call our team 'shadow' if we like.

Manfarang said...

"What is so terrible about turning 40?"
The Picture of Dorian Gray will give you some idea!

Anonymous said...

The man's a disgrace and should have had the Libdem whip removed.

By Christ if that's what turning 40 did god help the animal kingdom when he turns 50

Anonymous said...

Let's remember that this man paid some other men to defecate on him. Why he didn't resign at the time remains a mystery to me.

Jonny Wright said...

Anon 15.03, what on earth's wrong with that, as long as it was in private? Other than the fact he was married at the time.

Richard, I grow tired of having this argument, but there's no official status of "Shadown Cabinet" either for the Official Opposition or anyone else. It's just that opposition parties started calling their frontbenchers a "Shadow Cabinet" at a time when there was a proper two-party system, so it's kind of always been thought of as an Official Opposition thing.

Simon McGrath said...

Its only a matter of time before Oaten is on Celebrity Big Brother and I'm a Celebrity get me out of here.
Publishing now just adds to his disgrace.