Say what you will about former Army Major, ex-Labour now independent MP, star of multiple expenses scandals, Wings contributor and booze soaked warrior, Eric Joyce, there is a lot to commend the man by the otherwise bland standard of Westminster politicians. Instead of “fighting the Tories” by signing letters written by unions about austerity or putting on a pinbadge against poverty, Joyce much prefers getting tanked up and just fighting the Tories. He was famously sacked from Labour, for engaging in only his second Commons bar room brawl, due to the bar allegedly being “full of fucking Tories.”
It’s been a spectacularly long fall from grace for our Joycey – from declaring the army full of racists and sexists while still a serving soldier to racially abusing a police officer, in what the sheriff described as a “deeply unfortunate, prolonged, drink-fuelled rant”. In 2013, having drunkenly left his phone on a flight, Joyce requested the assistance of airport staff. The trouble started when said staff asked Mr Joyce which flight he was on, at which point he became so abusive, the airport staff called the police, who Joyce fought with (obviously) until he was finally restrained. You would think Mr Joyce would be acquainted with flying, since he’s been known as “Airmiles Eric” since 2009, when he claimed over 20 grand for flights on his expenses.
Joyce has long been a campaigner for radical wealth redistribution, despite pledging to curb his lavish claims, (which admittedly are down significantly on the heady days when they were nearly £200k), he claimed over £70,000 on top of his salary in 2012-2013. This included £1165 for 2 nice new iphones and £229 for a pair of designer specs. Now he’s barred from buying booze in the Commons, his attendance is rather patchy than in years gone by – speaking just 7 times during the same period – that’s over £10,000 a go. He also has the dubious distinction of having had his 2 claims of paying £13 for a “bacon bap” knocked back by the expenses watchdog. Most likely because £13 sounds a lot more like a litre of Glens and a big bag of Monster Munch from the Spar beside Falkirk Sheriff Court.
What Eric’s done this week is on the distinctly mild-moderate scale by his standards but given that he won’t be seeking re-election in 2015, it would be a terrible shame to not induct a wanker who has been “in the running” nearly every week since he was elected:
Joyce now stands in a noble tradition of independent Scottish political representatives. Having being elected following Scottish Labour’s decision to bump popular MP Dennis Canavan, who was getting a bit left-wing for NuLabour, Eric sadly faced a similar fate following Pub Brawl 2: Fucking Tories Edition. This has allowed Joyce to represent the views of his constituents without fear or favour. Unless his constituents are members of Unite the Union, the SNP or “nimbys“, in which case they can frack off.
Speaking up for the poor wee souls at Ineos (CEO Jim Ratcliffe), who have their eye on shale gas in his constituency, Eric declared this week that industrial scale fracking in Falkirk is just what the area needs. In case you’ve missed it, fracking is essentially using high pressured water and sand to smash your way into the earth in the hope gas might come out and you happen to be lucky enough to catch it. When you don’t manage to catch it, it leaks into the air, earth, water etc. and constantly shoogling the earth about to see what comes out is a great way to manufacture earthquakes too! Risking one of Scotland’s few publicly owned natural resources, water, to provide even more fossil fuel produced in an even more destructive manner, for the sole benefit of CEOs in not a plan which is likely to prove popular.
There’s the rather more obvious point that we’ve already got loads of oil and gas (as when I say “we”, I mean the private companies who own it) and more importantly, the potential to create a locally owned, mutually beneficially renewables industry. Still it’s nice to have an independent spirit like Eric Joyce to put over corporate interests in the
Parliament Falkirk Herald, there are aren’t enough parliamentarians speaking up for the bosses.
Those not keen to start a seismic activity production line in Falkirk can hardly be described as nimbys; there is nationwide opposition to plans to sell off vast chunks of Scotland so that companies like INEOS and Dart Energy can engage in dangerous and unnecessary economic and environmental exploitation. Just last year, INEOS sacked their entire workforce at Grangemouth pleading poverty, as the state stepped in to subsidise the plant. Who knows how many people could be employed, then sacked, then re-employed on shitter terms if fracking in Scotland ploughs ahead as planned. Maybe Jim Ratcliffe can buy himself another £130m yacht!
While Eric’s recent parliamentary exploits have been few and far between (and if they’re still costing 10 grand a whack, that’s maybe no bad thing), he did manage to attend to make sure the fight against poverty and injustice transcended petty class politics, when he voted to support the Tories benefits cap, which is set at £500 per household – that’s enough to buy a family of 4 an Eric Joyce “bacon bap” for breakfast, lunch and dinner almost every other day! Although where they would eat it without a house and how they would benefit from the endless cheap energy that fracking may or may not deliver, only Eric Joyce knows.
The biggest reason he’s a wanker is that he’ll continue to draw a salary (and no doubt generous expenses not justified by his shoddy attendance) without even giving his unionised, nimbyish nat constituents the joy of voting the Independent Angry Frackers Alliance for INEOS candidate out of office. Instead he’s made the decision to just sit it out and frack himself off at the next election, so I guess its only fair to highlight what a massive, massive wanker he’s being in the meantime.
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