Marx on Monday – Tim Yeo – the last honest politician

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the House of Commons has more than its fair share of charlatans and scoundrels. But even within such a corrupt and talentless institution you will find the odd politician of integrity who is fighting the good fight for honesty, decency, fairness and green politics.

I’m talking of course about that intellectual giant of the right – Tim Yeo. Schooled by Carthusian monks at Charterhouse, he narrowly missed out on becoming the lead singer of Genesis at the school auditions – they foolishly went for Peter Gabriel instead. His dream of being a rock star was dashed, so the only option left open to Tim was to go into politics.

He married his lucky wife, Dianne, in 1970, and they had two gorgeous children. His status as a stable family man was no doubt an important factor in the constituency of South Suffolk adopting him as their candidate in 1983.
To his horror, even in his new affluent rural constituency, he encountered a lot of broken homes and single parent families and felt moved to write to the Guardian about it, stating, “It is in everyone’s interests to reduce broken families and the number of single parents. I have seen from my own constituency the consequences of marital breakdown.”

To be fair, Tim’s personal record of reducing the number of single parent families isn’t perfect. In 1993 he was forced to resign from John Major’s government when news broke that he had been having an affair with a local conservative councillor who had borne his love child. He then abandoned her to single parentdom and got on with rebuilding his career. Anyone can make a mistake, and that was Tim’s. I know a lot of cynics say that he had already made his mistake when he got another student pregnant whilst he was studying at Cambridge, but on that occasion he showed his commitment to avoiding the rise in single parent families by persuading the eighteen year old mother to put her baby up for adoption.

But it’s not his commitment to family values that makes Tim Yeo such a visionary politician – it’s his commitment to green politics. He is proud to be, as he describes himself, a member of the environmental Taliban, not because the Taliban are against educating women – though they would doubtless have approved of the way he scuppered his first baby mother’s education at Cambridge – but because of his ruthless commitment to the cause.
It’s a national outrage, therefore, that this member of the environmental Taliban – a man who is working selflessly to safeguard the planet from global warming – found himself the target for a sting by undercover Sunday Times reporters last week.

Posing as owners of a fictitious South Korean solar energy company they sought Tim’s advice on how they could boost trade in the UK.
“I can’t speak in public on your behalf,” Tim told them, “but what I say in private is another matter. If you want to meet the right people I can facilitate those introductions and can use my knowledge from an active network of connections.”

The Sunday Times unfairly interpreted these comments as Tim offering to work behind the scenes on the Korean company’s behalf.

The Sunday Times also allege that Tim agreed to work for the Korean company for a day a month but warned them, should they have to appear before the Commons Committee for Energy and Climate Change, a committee of which he is chairman, he wouldn’t be able to sit in the chair in view of his employment with them.

“But don’t worry,” he added, “I can coach you before you give evidence and tell you in advance what to say, just like I did for John Smith, the managing director of GB Railfreight, before he gave evidence to the committee recently.”

The Sunday Times unfairly interpreted these comments as Tim offering to coach witnesses and telling them in advance what to say, just like he did for John Smith.

The Sunday Times allegations, which Tim has totally rejected, have forced poor Tim to temporarily step down as Chairman of the Commons Committee on Energy and Climate Change until he has cleared his name – which he is bound to do because, as Tim assures us – the allegations against him are totally untrue!

Tim Yeo does not have a corrupt bone in his body. He is not motivated by greed but by a desire to see this green and present land preserved for the children of the future (not least his own.) Instead of coal and gas power he wants Britain’s energy needs to be met by thousands of wind turbines and millions of attractive solar panels.

Some climate change deniers, even within his own party, have questioned Tim Yeo’s motives for supporting green energy, claiming his commitment to green politics is as genuine as his commitment to his various baby mothers, but they are missing the point of politics.

Flashman once described the ideal politician as someone who can dissemble with the best of them; who can roll out from under just before the blow falls and can give short change with a hearty clap on the shoulder – enter Tim Yeo.

Tim understands the old adage, “he who pays the piper calls the tune.” He estimates that his green policies will cost every family in Britain nearly £200 a year extra in fuel bills, including his own family. He will be cushioned from this financial blow, however, by the £140,000 a year he receives from green energy companies whose policies he fights tirelessly to promote to the Commons Committee on Energy and Climate Change – a committee he happens to be chairman of!

I heard him challenged about this by veteran right wing broadcaster John Humphries on the Today programme last week who was his usual belligerent self.

“Isn’t there a conflict of interest between you being paid £140,000 a year by green energy companies to help promote their interests in front of a committee you are the chairman of?”

“It may sound like a lot of money John,” Tim replied, “but most of it goes to the child support agency.”

“So how are you going to pay your child support if, as seems likely, the coalition abandons green energy?” said Humphries.

“It’s already sorted,” Tim replied, “I’ve become director of ITI Energy Limited, suppliers of gasification equipment to the fracking industry.”

“So either way, windfarms or fracking, you make out like a bandit,” said Humphries, “don’t you consider that unethical?”

“Don’t be so naïve John,” Tim put him straight, “you don’t think I could survive on an MP’s salary of sixty five grand do you? Not with all my kids.”

“But you don’t need to survive on £65,000 a year,” Humphries badgered him, “didn’t you also claim £153,000 from the taxpayer in expenses last year in spite of only attending 42% of debates?”

“All perfectly legitimate parliamentary expenditure,” Tim replied.

“Including a pink laptop for £905?”

“Pink is my favourite colour.”

“£135 to repair a pen?”

“It was my favourite BIC.”

“£1,790 on dry cleaning?”

“It’s hard to get lipstick off shirt collars,” said Tim, “surely you don’t expect me to take them home for the wife to wash?”

“So do you have any genuine commitment to reducing carbon emissions?” Humphries finally asked him.

“Oh yes,” said Tim, “I’ve made many personal sacrifices. I play a lot of golf at top courses all over the world but last year I limited my flights to four golfing trips to the USA, one to Cuba and one to Spain.”

“But didn’t you say in a GMTV interview recently that you want to price flights beyond the reach of the poor?”

“I’ve changed my mind on that one John – once energy prices go up to pay for more wind farms the poor won’t be able to afford the bus fare into town, let alone foreign travel.”

2 comments on “Marx on Monday – Tim Yeo – the last honest politician

  1. Paul
    June 18, 2013 at 12:16 am #

    Just for the record the Conservative Councillor Yeo impregnated was not local to his Suffolk constituency, but Julia Stent, a Solicitor and councillor in the London Borough of Hackney.

  2. Philip Foster
    June 19, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

    Maybe Tim Yeohoho should get married to Lord Deben, they’re made for each.

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