John Knight, Labour leader of Ashfield District Council, was interviewed by the BBC about Geoff Hoon and the New Labour corruption scandal. Thanks to Liam Macuaid for this.
"I would like to tell you I was shocked and surprised but frankly I wasn’t. I’d have been more shocked and surprised if he’d said “you know what, I don’t want this money I’m already a multi-millionaire. I want to devote the rest of my political career, such as it will be, to the working class people of Ashfield. That would have made me fall off my seat.
I was disgusted really. Here you’ve got a man, who’s quite frankly a cold-blooded, unprincipled usurper of a once great political party and it stinks. But the real tragedy is that it’s not just about Geoff. Here’s a man who personifies an entire generation of middle class Labour MPs who’ve had absolutely no affinity with or understanding of the people they’re supposed to represent.
Last May we had the same thing where we had the expenses row and in Nottinghamshire we had the county council elections and in the entire district of Ashfield only myself and one of my colleagues got back – just. Every single door you knocked on they said the same thing “I’ll vote for you but I’m not voting for Geoff”. Frankly, you couldn’t defend it and I didn’t even try. I just said “thank you” and walked off.
This is a man who really didn’t care about the ordinary working class people in Ashfield, who was out for his own career. In a sense I don’t blame Geoff for that. If you’re a careerist what is the one thing that you’re motivated by? Money and making money. Well that’s great if you’re a butcher but you’re a politician and particularly if you’re a Labour politician you’re supposed to working for the working class people that vote you in. I saw little of that in Geoff’s time.
As I say my real issue now is not Geoff because he’s announced he’s going to resign anyway but soon the entire parliamentary Labour Party will be absolutely filled to the gunwales with this kind of person. It really needs review and reform from within and I’m really looking to the Prime Minister to sort this out.
If we carry on like this it will be the slow death of the Labour Party. It’s like a black hole that’s going to implode on itself.”
Image via The Sauce