Gwyneth Dunwoody MP dies

The long-serving Labour MP and most famed for gaining wrath of Blair for refusing to water down critical reports from the Select Committee on Transport which she chaired has died, aged 77.

Not started as an RIP thread, but to note that she had a majority of just over 7,000. A lot of her success in the constituency seems to have been personal - that's to say people seem to have voted for Gwyneth Dunwoody, not 'whichever clown the party has chosen to be the MP and I'll vote for him/her/it because it wears the correct coloured rosette'. Could become interesting, since if the Tories manage to overturn the majority, I think it'll be the first by-election win for them in aeons; Cameron, though, is probably panicking at the thought that he might not win it...
Be interesting to hear all the false platitudes form Cyclops in the a.m.

Anyone who earned the wrath of teflon Tony is all right by me!
She was one of the few independant minded MP's in the house, and always spoke her own mind. Had great views on transport committees and was not scared to be critical of Nu Labour leadership.

It will be an interesting By-Election as she was truly elected for her work on behalf of her constituents. Gordon Clown is going to have an uncomfortable time replacing her!
Lwm - the 'so' is that her death might prove very interesting if the Labour's selected candidate for getting his/her trotters in the feeding trough is defeated.

It could lead to Brown (who has already expressed his sadness, saying she was, apparently, an example of 'politics at its best' - which is presumably why he did nothing to prevent Blair from trying to strip her of the Transport Cttee chairmanship, but I digress) facing all sorts of problems, including a leadership challenge.

There are rumours out there (I think Jim30 has commented on some of them on another thread) that some Labour MPs are in a state of panic, since it looks like Gordon's leadership may force them into drawing their ample pensions much sooner than they'd like, which makes them wonder whether or not they shouldn't replace him. If - big 'if' - the Tories were to overturn the Labour majority at Crewe, Brown could find himself facing a leadership challenge before the year's out.

Alternatively, if the Tories lose when it looks like they should win, it might strengthen Brown's position and reverse the huge decline in his fortunes (although probably not), while alarming the Tories who might claim that Cameron hasn't got what it takes.

That's the 'so what' about this.
Even if the 7000 majority all voted for her because of personal issues, if only 3501 of those decide that they may as well vote labour again, then this won't be a by-election win for the tories. I'm blue to the core, but I'm not holding my breath.
Ah, sorry, didn't quite see where you were coming from with your first comment, Lwm. Thought you were wondering why her demise was of any interest in the broader scheme of things. Blame it on my jet-lag...
Back in 70 on my first field unit, we had a Cpl posted in from Far East, Malaya/Singers.
He was quite volatile in temprement and was not settling down well, not a bad guy but used to far more freedom of action in Far East units.
The guy was very self opinionated and always getting into arguments with all and sundry from junior officers and the REME tiff.
He went home on weekend leave and before he left he says word to the effect of 'I'll sort them out'.
Yeah yeah we all though.
Monday morning started off as normal then Tiff cums tearing out of his office CPL P where the F are you.
Here Staff
Shock horror what the F was going on.
When he came back he was grinning like a Cheshire cat.
Told you I'd sort them out.
What the F did you do ?
Oh now't much just had a word with next door neighbour, told her I was Pizzed off with army so she rung the Minister of Defence and asked why young Rog, who she had know all her life was now so anti army.
Mrs Dunwoody had that effect.
No she was not "a good old stick". She was a viperous old crone of a career politician who swung in the wind and toed the line when it suited her or if she could see gravy trough privileges being threatened.

I always think of that NTNOCN sketch at times like this..."This is typical of the mendacious, wicked (politician suddenly has heart attack)...A great parliamentarian, she will be missed..." Not by the Labour whips in any case.
... but she had a great set of norks when she was a young lass back in the 1950s. :D

My late mate Ray K told me so. He had 'em out one night in the front parlour at Chez Phillips, when Dad walked in! 8O

Ray was True Blue Tory and Dad Phillips knew it! :wink:

I wonder which Facsimile of a Human being they will parachute in to the Crewe Constituency now.

I'll take Euan Blair at 250-1
Cheshire County Council recently got split into two and she made mincemeat of Hazel Blears. With the passing of Dunwoody, the mauling of the horrid gingah is worth reproducing below (from Hansard):

1.35 pm

The business of government in a democratic country is a delicate balance between the needs of the population and the desires and political objectives of the Government. Although we have a system that enables us to vote for our Governments on a four or sometimes five-yearly basis, in the interim it is essential that whoever the Government are they do not misunderstand the implications of the changes they make.

In the administration of our country, local government has an important part to play. Indeed, one might say that the present Government have channelled large sums of money into local government and given it extra powers precisely because they expect there to be a partnership between the needs of the population at local level and the Government centrally. There are frequently objections from people who believe that all decisions should be taken centrally and imposed on those who for one reason or another have different views. That has never been my view and it never will be.

I believe that today the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government—to whom I have given notice that I intend to mention her—intends to announce the reorganisation of Cheshire. She has never at any point deigned to explain the reasons for those major changes. Indeed, just before the summer recess, when an announcement was made that it was the intention to divide Cheshire into two, irrespective of the needs or wishes of the population, a letter was issued from the Department saying that the decision would none the less be subject to close examination of a number of factors, of which the economic ones were enormously important.

Rather foolishly, I thought that comment was serious and in the intervening time, with the assistance of people in education, the health service and general services, I have endeavoured to persuade Her Majesty’s Government—pointlessly, as it now appears—of the inequity and imbalance of the scheme they were proposing. My reasons were simple. The decision is not political. As anyone who bothers to make even the most elementary calculation will discover, the Labour party has little to gain from what is being proposed. The fact that my constituency will become part of a council dominated by a 56 per cent. Conservative vote is obviously of no concern to some people, but it is important to understand that the other part of Cheshire will be no safer. Those who pretend that the decision is political should examine the facts and figures.

The decision is certainly not economic. Cheshire is a mixed, interesting and dynamic county, which is changing every day. It has close relationships with Manchester in one direction, Liverpool in another and with north Wales and the potteries at various points. It is notable not only that the county has responded at all levels to the need for imaginative change, but that it is clearly capable of carrying forward at county level a unitary government that would be economically viable and would respond to the dynamic that the Labour Government have been proposing.

The Secretary of State has taken the decision not on political grounds—certainly not on party political grounds—and not on economic grounds, because all that information was supplied to her and to Treasury Ministers in considerable detail from the beginning of the discussion in July. It was pointed out to her that the two new authorities would rapidly run out of reserves—indeed, that they would do so within the first year of their creation. It was pointed out to her in great detail—the figures have been emphasised time and time again by independent audit—that the effect on the population of Cheshire, and particularly on my constituency, would be directly felt in the development of its schools, hospitals and general services, be they waste, roads or any of the other services that local government controls.

Therefore, there has to be a particular reason for today’s statement. Of course, that statement is in the form of a written answer, because it would be unfortunate to have to come here and answer questions from the Members concerned. Presumably it is because the Secretary of State is alleged to have said—although I am sure it cannot be true—that Cheshire is too big. May I point out that of the five unitary counties that have been given permission to go ahead by the Secretary of State, Cheshire is the smallest area? But, of course, throughout the debate facts have not really carried any great emphasis.

Why are we continuing to press ahead with a change that will not just destroy the old county boroughs and the cohesion of our education services, but will make the situation impossible, for example, for large assets that are jointly owned, such as Tatton Hall, which will need vireing from one authority to another before it can remain in the control of the population of Cheshire? But none of those things is of concern. We must move on; progress is all.

We should give full credit to the Secretary of State. She alone appears to have taken the decision. Treasury Ministers know very well that the facts and figures with which they were presented were absolutely watertight and that discussions have been held both at county level and at local government level in Chester and elsewhere with a number of auditors who have made it plain that they have accepted the case for one unitary county because those figures are viable and the alternative is not. It is known that the taxpayers in my area will not only have to pay many thousands of pounds, but will face the loss of many of the advantages that they have at present.

I have been in the House long enough to see the coming and going of many inadequate personalities. I have seen those on both sides of the House who have been promoted for various reasons. I have seen the crawlers. I have seen those who have used sex— [ Interruption. ] Oh, there are so many it would take too long to name them. I have seen those whose sexual preferences were of interest to others. I have seen those who demonstrated a great commitment to their own interests, irrespective of the political parties that they were supposed to represent.

But I have rarely seen a decision such as this, taken with such cynicism and with so little respect for the interests of the average voter. When the Secretary of State was seeking office as the deputy leader of the Labour party, she said that people frequently become disaffected with their own Government because they feel that no one is listening to them. Wherever could they have got that idea from? She also made it clear—she told us constantly—that she would listen.

Let me make it very plain: this decision will affect everything in my constituency—every practical purpose that I am pursuing at the moment. Three new health centres, a new school, which is desperately needed in one of the most deprived areas, and a new railway station: all those things will be scuppered by this decision, which will make my local government fundamentally uncertain not only in economic terms, but in its political control.

If I may say so, the decision has been taken with a degree of cynicism that I have not seen for some time. I do not believe that it is in the interests of the Labour party, but then it has never been pretended that the decision is in the interests of the Labour party or of individual voters. It is not in the interests of those who work in the health service, the education service, or social services, or of those who want decent, high-quality local government services. I believe that it is a decision that has been taken for the most venal and personal reasons, and I find it wholly and deeply objectionable.

1.45 pm


Now that is a pretty choice put down. :D
It's not hard to show the Blears witch up (watch question time whenever she is on it) but that women did it with penache. Wish she had been my local MP instead of said Gwa.
Whiskybreath said:
If only the weak little willies on the Opposition benches could occasionally say the like.
I believe it has more resonance BECAUSE it came from their own side. Remember Kinnocks speech on Hatton . . . .

"A Labour council, a LABOUR COUNCIL, scuttling . . . . . . . . "

Dunwoody similarly shamed a labour administration.
Sven said:
Whiskybreath said:
If only the weak little willies on the Opposition benches could occasionally say the like.
I believe it has more resonance BECAUSE it came from their own side. Remember Kinnocks speech on Hatton . . . .

"A Labour council, a LABOUR COUNCIL, scuttling . . . . . . . . "

Dunwoody similarly shamed a labour administration.
...not to mention Thatcher getting savaged by a dead sheep? (Geoffrey Howe's resignation speech).

Politicians always seem to be most effective attacking their own :)
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