“Children say the darndest things,” as the twee old saying goes but do you know who says more of those “darndest” things than children? Politicians. They come out with some right old claptrap that is easily disproven, yet they get away with it all the time; usually because the people who hear them say it are too dumbfounded by the utter stupidity to call them on it in time.
Well here at All Over the House we don’t have that problem because all this stuff was said long enough ago for us to think “hang on a minute” and gather our wits back up. So let’s take a look at five utterly ridiculous claims made by British politicians. We will keep these pretty recent because if we went back through the centuries of British history for even more examples, we could probably write an entire book on this stuff.
We’ll start with…
5. MP blames “a breakdown of communication” over a pair of shoes
Look, we all know Star Wars is the single most important thing that has ever, or will ever, happen. We get it, we have an altar to Nien Nunb in the corner of the office, just like you. Our lives all revolve around the ancient battle between good and evil across a galaxy far, far away. It’s only natural.
Despite this, we have never considered writing a letter of complaint on House of Commons headed paper just because we didn’t get to buy the pair of R2D2 high heels we really wanted. Angela Rayner MP did.
This lady really, really wanted those deadful-looking shoes (I’m serious about them being dreadful – poor old R2 looks like he’s been glued on as a temporary measure because the proper heel fell off) and wasn’t too pleased when the shop she put her name down for a pair at sold out before she could buy some. These things happen but most of us are grown up enough to realise that sometimes we don’t always get what we want. Not so for Angela.
When the news of her ridiculous display of “do you know who I am”-itis got out, she blamed “a breakdown in communications with the company” for the problem, even though we can’t see a single way in which the company could have made her use her work’s letterheaded paper to write her complaint.
Maybe the shoe shop used a Jedi Mind Trick to get her to try this stupid, stupid stunt? We hear that stuff works well on the weak-minded.
4. MP Claims to have knocked on 25,000 doors during an election campaign
Politicians knock on a lot of doors during elections. I personally knocked on so many during my last campaign that my knuckles swelled up and started to bleed. It’s an endurance test of sorts. That’s why when Jess Philips MP claimed that she had knocked on “25,000 doors” during the 2017 election, I initially didn’t think it was too big an exaggeration. I mean sure it wasn’t true but it couldn’t be that untrue, could it?
It turns out that yes, it really could be.
Unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/K8d6ZmDG1P— DSG (@thedsggroup) October 8, 2019
Let’s do the maths on this one. The 2017 general election campaign lasted for fifty days. Fifty gruelling days in which politicians, activists and anyone else we could persuade to be dragged along to help (for which I once again apologise to my long-suffering wife) pounded the pavements, knocked on doors and tried to convince people to vote for us when they probably just wanted to sit down and watch TV.
Fifty days isn’t a long time for an election campaign. Now the average campaign day begins at about 8AM but nobody is knocking on doors at that time because if you do, you get shouted at by angry people who are trying to get ready for work. Campaign days usually end at 10PM too, although door knocking will normally end earlier than that because people don’t want you waking their children up by knocking on the door or ringing the doorbell. It’s a fair point and most of us respect it.
So what you usually end up with is a workable time frame for door knocking of about 8 hours per day; with the rest of the day taken up by phone calls, meet-and-greets, leaflet deliveries, press release writing and other campaign activities. A good campaign manager will see that you get a nice assortment of activities each day, so you don’t get worn out or bored to tears only doing on thing all day.
Eight hours per day for fifty days gives you a total door-knocking time of 400 hours; or 24,000 minutes. If Jess’ claim of knocking on 25,000 doors is true, that means she spent less than one minute on each door (57.6 seconds per door, to be precise).
It’s no wonder she then went on to claim that only 12 people mentioned Brexit to her – she was probably too busy rushing to knock on the next door to hear everyone else! Were all the doors she knocked on lined up in a row, or does Ms Philips possess Flash-level super-speed? We must know!
3. MP Claims 10,000 new police officers will cost £300,000
“The police are underpaid!” is a common complaint and in many ways, it’s a justifiable one. If you want someone to battle crime all day, you’re going to need to give them a decent wage to do it because criminals are notorious for not wanting to be caught. They tend to put up a fight.
Enter Diane “the Abacus” Abbot MP, the Shadow Home Secretary and favourite politician of the howling trolls on Twitter. Diane’s grasp of economics is about as solid as my grasp of Swahili, which is why she is loved by so much of the Internet and when she gets up to speak, we all collectively grab the popcorn and sit back to watch the fireworks.
In a radio interview on LBC, Diane was asked how much the Labour Party expected to have to budget if they wanted to recruit 10,000 new police officers. She claimed it would cost £300,000; which equates to £30 per officer. Not since the Victorian era could you claim that was a good wage for anyone.
This is one of those rare occasions where a politician is actually called out on their stupid claims while they are making that claim. The expression on LBC’s Nick Ferrari’s face when she makes the claim is amazing and from that point on, you know the rest of the interview is not going to go well for her. It’s amazing.
2. “There are no seats,” claims MP on a train with plenty of seats
Even non-Brits tend to know who Jeremy Corbyn is these days. He’s the guy who’s nominally in charge of the Labour Party, and he’s the former lover of Diane Abbot from item three on our list (he even invited some friends ’round to show her off while she was naked in his bed, he’s that kind of guy!). As a politician, Corbyn is not unfamiliar with the tactic of making ridiculous claims. Enter Virgin Trains.
Corbyn wants to re-nationalise the train network in the UK (something that is illegal under EU law because it violates the EU restrictions on state aid and competition, which may go some way to explaining why Corbyn is being so shady on what his Brexit policy actually is) and to get the public on-side for his campaign, he decided it would be a good idea to show how bad British trains are. Did he do this by simply filming a commuter train during rush hour? Did he do this by simply speaking to the people who have to endure packed trains every single day of their working lives?
Nope. He faked a video by walking past a load of empty seats on a train that wasn’t full and then sitting on the floor at the end of the carriage. You know, as you do.
The video was debunked within hours of being published and Virgin Trains even released CCTV footage showing Corbyn walking past some empty seats. According to the CCTV footage, Corbyn walked past the empty seats, spent 40 minutes sitting on the carriage floor (during which time he filmed the video that caused all this trouble) and then got up, went to an empty seat (which, we should reiterate, he could have done from the start) and sat there for the rest of his three-hour journey.
This has to be one of the most ridiculous and unnecessary stunts ever. Every rail commuter knows the train network is overcrowded and sucks harder than a black hole. We don’t need faked videos to tell us there’s a problem with how trains are being run in Britain. We already see the problem on a daily basis.
What a wally.
1. An MP stands near a policeman, then says he’s never seen a policeman
Look, we all have our off days, you know? For David Lammy MP, he’s pretty much having an off decade. Not content with attacking the charity Comic Relief over their work in Africa (an incident that was then followed by an £8 Million drop in donations to the charity), Mr Lammy has also been known to take to Twitter to fire off almost as many stupid claims as Donald “great and unmatched wisdom” Trump.
We could fill an entire list with the stupid things Mr Lammy (and President Trump) has tweeted but today we are going to focus on one claim he made on television. The interview was in conjunction with the ongoing problem of knife crime in London, which is a serious subject and we aren’t going to make jokes about it. Instead, we are going to focus on Lammy himself.
He actually posted this video himself, which is simply amazing.
People are scared, people are frightened, my community is grieving four lost lives since Christmas. My constituents are angry and they have every right to be and I will continue to speak up on their behalf. pic.twitter.com/hrV2FGbmXv— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) April 5, 2018
During an interview with the BBC, Mr Lammy claimed “we haven’t seen [any] police and I’ve been here a while now”; which sounds like a perfectly reasonable thing for a person with a policeman standing behind him to say. Who amongst us hasn’t experienced the issue of invisible police, after all? It’s a terrible problem, it really is.
Maybe the police are only visible for the short amount of time a £30 per year wage will pay for? If that’s the case, David should be talking to Diane about upping their wages, then he would be able to see them all the time.