The Blog

Dorries, Blears, Palin, Bachman : Will They do Anything for Free Publicity?

British MPs Nadine Dorries (Conservative) and Hazel Blears (Labour) along with former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin (Republican) and Michelle Bachmann (Republican) are all major political figures who have recently been in the news. Why link them?

British MPs Nadine Dorries (Conservative) and Hazel Blears (Labour) along with former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin (Republican) and Michelle Bachmann (Republican) are all major political figures who have recently been in the news. Why link them?

I first wrote about Nadine Dorries in October of last year when she blogged about one of her disabled constituent's frequent tweeting. Dorries claimed that someone who could tweet so much was obviously not disabled enough to be claiming benefits and suggested that the person in question should get a job or she would "inform the authorities". Dorries hit the headlines again last week when she attempted to gain support for her bill in parliament designed to force pregnant women considering abortion to delay their termination whilst "independent" counselling is arranged. All seemed to be going well for Dorries and she received a significant amount of TV and media airtime, that was until Prime Minister's Question Time. Her propensity for "inserting foot in mouth" would once again be her downfall as she foolishly asked British PM David Cameron "Does the prime minister think it's about time he told the deputy prime minister who is the boss?"

Immediately prior to this she had foolishly pointed out that the Liberal Democrat party only made up 8.7% of the British parliament and "yet they seem to be influencing our free school policy, health, many issues, immigration and abortion."

David Cameron's response apparently "humiliated" Nadine Dorries and she stormed out of the Houses of Parliament soon after being told by the PM that he knew she was "extremely frustrated". Her abortion bill amendment died right there.

While Dorries abortion stance has spectacularly backfired in this instance, she was clearly using the tried and tested tactic of latching on to any topic that could fire the public interest - something British Labour MP Hazel Blears, who represents the UK's Salford & Eccles constituency, has mastered expertly. Back in 2006 Hazel Blears stood in front of TV cameras alongside protestors who were campaigning to save the local maternity unit in her constituency, despite then returning to government and voting alongside her cabinet colleagues to close it down. In May 2009, when many people in Salford & Eccles earned well below the country's average wage, she was accused of avoiding capital gains tax on the sale of her second home. She invited the TV cameras into her constituency office where she waved a cheque for £13,332 which she intended to send to HM Revenue & Customs as "repayment" for the tax she had avoided. That moment was replayed over and over on local and national TV channels and almost cost her the Salford seat to the Liberal Democrat candidate Norman Owen. Last month Hazel Blears paraded the streets of Salford Shopping City alongside British PM David Cameron and HRH Prince Harry, once again on prime-time TV. Nobody I talked too can recall Blears visiting that shopping precinct prior.

In their attempts to get in front of the camera at any cost, I could describe the actions of Nadine Dorries and Hazel Blears as "foolish" or at the very least "ill conceived" but their actions certainly pale into insignificance compared to Sarah Palin. She was the 2008 Republican Vice-Presidential candidate who allowed herself to be attached to John McCain's ticket during his ill-fated attempt to run for president that same year. Last month while accusing the press of invading her privacy, Palin took every chance to talk about her opponents and about her future presidential bid that she is still dangling as a possibility. When asked what her campaign would look like, she responded at length. "They are sick and tired of hearing and suffering through. We want new; we want conviction and passion and candidness," she said, standing inside a crush of cameras with her husband, Todd. And then she launched into her description of an ideal candidate -- and basically described herself. Palin will learn the hard way that the voting public are not stupid and she has only herself to blame for allowing McCain to user her as nothing more than a pretty faced 'hockey mom' in a feeble attempt to promote a small-town-girl-makes-good image. The gamble failed last time and Obama took office then. It will fail again.

And so I end on my reasoning for including Michelle Bachmann in this "foursome" of political wannabees. Bachman is currently a candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2012 U.S. presidential election and she claimed in 2006 that she was called by God to run for her congressional seat, and that she and her husband fasted for three days to be sure. But Bachmann has really come to notice "across the pond" for her outlandish views on barring same-sex marriage, her promise to keep gasoline prices below $2 a gallon and her outrageous claim that global warming is a "hoax". These views are bad enough in themselves, but by accusing Barack Obama of being "anti-American" there is a view that Bachmann is just saying anything controversial to garner media time. She has continued her odd and frankly, crazy, public statements well into 2011 when she recently claimed that eliminating the federal minimum wage would "virtually wipe out unemployment".

The final nail in the coffin for Bachmann's presidential nomination should surely be her views on dealing with Iran (when she said diplomacy "is our option", but that other options, including a nuclear strike, shouldn't be taken off the table) and for stating that while she is a Christian, she is a "long-time supporter of Israel" and considers herself Jewish.

The voting public will not be fooled by these stupid career politicians who think that making the headlines for any reason is better than having real-world policies and opinions that the general public can relate to. If there is any justice in this world, at their respective elections, Dorries, Blears, Palin and Bachmann will be swept aside in favour of more sensible representatives.