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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Ban on political memoirs

The Leader of the House has banned politicians from publishing memoirs until all the fuss has died down.

The move follows the publication of diaries by leading politicians from both major parties. Media outlets who failed to secure serialisations yesterday united in protest at what they labelled the "cheapening" of British politics.

Tony Benn - famous for losing the Labour deputy leadership election in 1982 - and Alan Clark - famous for publishing diaries - were among those criticised for taking advantage of ambiguous guidelines to secure large sums of money for their ramblings.

Leader of the House Jack Straw said he was acting on concerns from No. 11 that party unity and discipline were being undermined by the publication of accounts at odds with the official party line. "Inconsistency of message threatens to undo the great strides we have made under our esteemed Chancellor," he read out, adding "Life has become more joyous, Comrades!"

But there were wider concerns that technological advances including the internet and mobile phone technology rendered totalitarian control of information impossible in a modern democracy. "The truth will seep out anyhow," explained Alistair Campbell, from his new apartment at The Priory. "The important thing is to control that seepage." Managed properly, memoirs could strengthen rather than weaken the official line. "People are more likely to believe the diaries of ex-politicians than their official statements when in power," commented the once alcholic and press secretary.

Former public schoolboy David Cameron said the ban was too late as a number of politicans had already sold their stories. He suggested they should be encouraged to give the profits to a political party of their choice, so that public confidence in politicans' integrity was not eroded. Eventually, memoirs could replace peerages as the foremost source of party funding.

But a more radical solution was needed, according to a group of backbench Labour MPs. They proposed to raise MPs salaries so high there would be no incentive to produce memoirs. Minister-turned-rebel Andrew Smith said the government could pay for increases by scrapping Trident.

About Me

Back after an extended exile from blogging. Depressing to be in opposition but likely to prompt more posts here.