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Norman Baker MP


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I have been helping Norman Baker, the MP for Lewes, with his investigation into the death of David Kelly. I met him on Friday and tried to get him interested in the JFK case. Here is an article about him that appeared in the Daily Mail recently. It is a very good portrait of a man who Peter Oborne has rightly described as the "greatest man in British politics".

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/arti...n_author_id=382

Peter Oborne

Is Norman Baker the greatest man in politics?

08:23am 16th February 2007

Doubtless there are innocent explanations in certain cases. But after yesterday's publication of the deeply embarrassing details about the MPs' expenses claims, it looks very much as if there is organised theft and corruption going on at Westminster.

Needless to say the House of Commons - led by the wretched Speaker Martin = fought a long campaign to keep yesterday's details secret. Expensive lawyers were hired - again at public expense - to make the case against publication.

The rearguard battle would have succeeded but for one man, Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes. He plugged away for two years for his colleagues' expenses to be made public, and eventually he won.

This morning Baker is the most unpopular man in the Commons. When MPs reassemble after their mid-term break next week, he will get the same treatment as a prison nark.

And yet it is worth pondering the real reason why Baker is so unpopular. It is because he is a deeply honest man of utter integrity who is determined that British voters should know the truth about how we are governed.

Baker is neither flashy, smooth nor glamorous. He does not sit on the Front Benches. But he is, in his own way, the most admirable and heroic MP at Westminster.

In a decent world, all of Britain's 650 MPs would be like the indefatigable and incorruptible Norman Baker. Shamefully, there is only one of him.

This week marked only the latest of Baker's many victories over Britain's self-serving political establishment. His greatest achievement was forcing Peter Mandelson to admit to his links to the Indian tycoon Srichand Hinduja, a revelation that swiftly led to Mandelson's second and final resignation as a Cabinet Minister.

For this, Norman Baker earned the hatred of his own party, as well as most of the political class. He was cut dead in the Commons corridors even by fellow Liberal Democrat MPs for weeks afterwards.

You would think that an opposition party would have been overjoyed to see the demise of a Cabinet minister, but the shameful truth is that they felt an instinctive sympathy for Mandelson whom they regarded as a fellow member of the political elite and therefore in need of protection from an out-sider like Norman Baker.

It was a lonely and embattled time for this courageous man. He was learning the hard way that there are no rewards in life for telling the truth, exposing hypocrisy and doing the right thing.

He is a very modest man. When I rang him yesterday and asked him to list his achievements, he wouldn't. "I don't keep a check of them," he replied. I asked him for his secret, and his reply was revealing.

"I have no particular ambition," he replied. "I don't want to lead my party. I don't want to be in the House of Lords. That gives you a tremendous liberation."

Before becoming an MP, he ran a branch of Our Price Records, where he would help youngsters to find the latest Showaddywaddy disc on the shelves, and he remains phenomenally knowledgeable about pop music.

His political methods flow from these early interests. He has something of the obsessive nature of the amateur enthusiast. He has a good head for detail and knows where, in the great, dusty attics of Whitehall and Westminster, he will find the buried nuggets that he is seeking.

Physically he is not a striking figure. He has a comb-over hairdo, a pretty terrible fashion sense and a nasal, slightly irritating voice brushed by a faint West Country accent. If The Archers ever introduced a character who was an accountant, he would sound like Norman Baker.

When he arrived in the House of Commons in 1997 there was no shortage of people quick to write him off. Matthew Parris, the former Tory MP-turned-newspaper-journalist, sneeringly discounted the unglamorous Baker as "a bore".

For the political elite of London, this unprepossessing man had insufficient polish. He did not seem very interested in things like expensive lunches and disloyal gossip. He did not seem to be a man easily suborned. Nor, to be brutal, was he sexy or modern. That made the image-bending party cadres uneasy.

The truth was that Baker was a loner. Yes, he may be on the plain side, visually. Yes, he may be an annoying, unclubbable - scruffy even - monk.

But Parliament needs such people. Baker's chosen seat on the Commons benches is right at the end of the Chamber, just below the sword-wearing Serjeant at Arms, away from the seats occupied by his party leadership.

When the Speaker calls his name he stands almost at a stoop, for there is little that is flamboyant or confident in his demeanour. His out-of-date trousers, which do not always match his jacket, flap around his shins.

He is sometimes to be found wearing sports jackets or yellow ties or suede shoes - the wardrobe of a prep school Classics master rather than a Blair-era politician. He never matches the Labour and Tory thrusters for their sleekness and shine.

Yet ministers have learned to listen closely to him. They have learned to beware giving him a loose answer. They have grown to respect, if not exactly to admire, the economy of his queries, the brevity of his often deadly interventions, and his remarkable persistence.

All this may, to the stranger, sound insignificant. But to stand outside the pack in politics takes guts. Baker persists with his campaigns despite often rancorous opposition.

Sometimes he will be heckled by Labour MPs sitting just 5ft or so in front of him - he stands just in front of Labour's 'awkward squad' bench - yet Baker sticks to his principles and to his arguments and keeps pinging in his Parliamentary written questions, demanding factual replies from a civil service machine which remains, despite Labour's worst efforts, the servant of the people.

Now he has won this victory over MPs, Baker's latest campaign concerns the death of government scientist Dr David Kelly at the height of the row between the present administration and the BBC in the summer of 2003.

Baker's forensic mind has already picked apart much of the evidence accepted far too readily by the partly discredited Hutton Inquiry.

He has identified key inconsistencies about the police investigation, arguing that it is incredibly unlikely that Dr Kelly did kill himself with his blunt gardening knife, as the official version has it.

It sounds a conspiracy too far - but Baker has a habit of being right. His search for the truth about Dr Kelly recalls that long fight by Labour's Tam Dalyell to discover the truth about the Belgrano.

Indeed, Norman Baker keeps alive the tradition of bloody-minded individuality in the Commons, as practised by just such men as Dalyell. No praise is too high for brave, lonely, honest men like these.

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I have been helping Norman Baker, the MP for Lewes, with his investigation into the death of David Kelly. I met him on Friday and tried to get him interested in the JFK case. Here is an article about him that appeared in the Daily Mail recently. It is a very good portrait of a man who Peter Oborne has rightly described as the "greatest man in British politics".

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/arti...n_author_id=382

Peter Oborne

Is Norman Baker the greatest man in politics?

08:23am 16th February 2007

Doubtless there are innocent explanations in certain cases. But after yesterday's publication of the deeply embarrassing details about the MPs' expenses claims, it looks very much as if there is organised theft and corruption going on at Westminster.

Needless to say the House of Commons - led by the wretched Speaker Martin = fought a long campaign to keep yesterday's details secret. Expensive lawyers were hired - again at public expense - to make the case against publication.

The rearguard battle would have succeeded but for one man, Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes. He plugged away for two years for his colleagues' expenses to be made public, and eventually he won.

This morning Baker is the most unpopular man in the Commons. When MPs reassemble after their mid-term break next week, he will get the same treatment as a prison nark.

And yet it is worth pondering the real reason why Baker is so unpopular. It is because he is a deeply honest man of utter integrity who is determined that British voters should know the truth about how we are governed.

Baker is neither flashy, smooth nor glamorous. He does not sit on the Front Benches. But he is, in his own way, the most admirable and heroic MP at Westminster.

In a decent world, all of Britain's 650 MPs would be like the indefatigable and incorruptible Norman Baker. Shamefully, there is only one of him.

This week marked only the latest of Baker's many victories over Britain's self-serving political establishment. His greatest achievement was forcing Peter Mandelson to admit to his links to the Indian tycoon Srichand Hinduja, a revelation that swiftly led to Mandelson's second and final resignation as a Cabinet Minister.

For this, Norman Baker earned the hatred of his own party, as well as most of the political class. He was cut dead in the Commons corridors even by fellow Liberal Democrat MPs for weeks afterwards.

You would think that an opposition party would have been overjoyed to see the demise of a Cabinet minister, but the shameful truth is that they felt an instinctive sympathy for Mandelson whom they regarded as a fellow member of the political elite and therefore in need of protection from an out-sider like Norman Baker.

It was a lonely and embattled time for this courageous man. He was learning the hard way that there are no rewards in life for telling the truth, exposing hypocrisy and doing the right thing.

He is a very modest man. When I rang him yesterday and asked him to list his achievements, he wouldn't. "I don't keep a check of them," he replied. I asked him for his secret, and his reply was revealing.

"I have no particular ambition," he replied. "I don't want to lead my party. I don't want to be in the House of Lords. That gives you a tremendous liberation."

Before becoming an MP, he ran a branch of Our Price Records, where he would help youngsters to find the latest Showaddywaddy disc on the shelves, and he remains phenomenally knowledgeable about pop music.

His political methods flow from these early interests. He has something of the obsessive nature of the amateur enthusiast. He has a good head for detail and knows where, in the great, dusty attics of Whitehall and Westminster, he will find the buried nuggets that he is seeking.

Physically he is not a striking figure. He has a comb-over hairdo, a pretty terrible fashion sense and a nasal, slightly irritating voice brushed by a faint West Country accent. If The Archers ever introduced a character who was an accountant, he would sound like Norman Baker.

When he arrived in the House of Commons in 1997 there was no shortage of people quick to write him off. Matthew Parris, the former Tory MP-turned-newspaper-journalist, sneeringly discounted the unglamorous Baker as "a bore".

For the political elite of London, this unprepossessing man had insufficient polish. He did not seem very interested in things like expensive lunches and disloyal gossip. He did not seem to be a man easily suborned. Nor, to be brutal, was he sexy or modern. That made the image-bending party cadres uneasy.

The truth was that Baker was a loner. Yes, he may be on the plain side, visually. Yes, he may be an annoying, unclubbable - scruffy even - monk.

But Parliament needs such people. Baker's chosen seat on the Commons benches is right at the end of the Chamber, just below the sword-wearing Serjeant at Arms, away from the seats occupied by his party leadership.

When the Speaker calls his name he stands almost at a stoop, for there is little that is flamboyant or confident in his demeanour. His out-of-date trousers, which do not always match his jacket, flap around his shins.

He is sometimes to be found wearing sports jackets or yellow ties or suede shoes - the wardrobe of a prep school Classics master rather than a Blair-era politician. He never matches the Labour and Tory thrusters for their sleekness and shine.

Yet ministers have learned to listen closely to him. They have learned to beware giving him a loose answer. They have grown to respect, if not exactly to admire, the economy of his queries, the brevity of his often deadly interventions, and his remarkable persistence.

All this may, to the stranger, sound insignificant. But to stand outside the pack in politics takes guts. Baker persists with his campaigns despite often rancorous opposition.

Sometimes he will be heckled by Labour MPs sitting just 5ft or so in front of him - he stands just in front of Labour's 'awkward squad' bench - yet Baker sticks to his principles and to his arguments and keeps pinging in his Parliamentary written questions, demanding factual replies from a civil service machine which remains, despite Labour's worst efforts, the servant of the people.

Now he has won this victory over MPs, Baker's latest campaign concerns the death of government scientist Dr David Kelly at the height of the row between the present administration and the BBC in the summer of 2003.

Baker's forensic mind has already picked apart much of the evidence accepted far too readily by the partly discredited Hutton Inquiry.

He has identified key inconsistencies about the police investigation, arguing that it is incredibly unlikely that Dr Kelly did kill himself with his blunt gardening knife, as the official version has it.

It sounds a conspiracy too far - but Baker has a habit of being right. His search for the truth about Dr Kelly recalls that long fight by Labour's Tam Dalyell to discover the truth about the Belgrano.

Indeed, Norman Baker keeps alive the tradition of bloody-minded individuality in the Commons, as practised by just such men as Dalyell. No praise is too high for brave, lonely, honest men like these.

Just, maybe just the man to be able to cut through some of the "noise". Have you had any luck in getting him interested?

Just one thing... please don't tell me his middle is Gene. It couldn't handle the mental image... :lol:

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Just, maybe just the man to be able to cut through some of the "noise". Have you had any luck in getting him interested?

Just one thing... please don't tell me his middle is Gene. It couldn't handle the mental image... :eek

I have tried to show him the possible links between the cases of JFK and David Kelly. For example, David Kelly's wife has gone public with the belief it was suicide. I told him the story of Grant Stockdale's suicide and the reaction of his wife and the reasons she made false statements of the case.

I have also told him of how the CIA use disinformation to discredit investigators. It seems that he has been a victim of this already.

Then there is the interesting case of Tom Mangold. He is a journalist who wrote a book based on information received from James Jesus Angleton (Cold Warrior). He has come forward and claimed he was a close friend of David Kelly and that he is convinced that he committed suicide. Remember, that is what George Smathers did when Stockdale was murdered.

By the way, a good joke about Norma Jean.

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Just, maybe just the man to be able to cut through some of the "noise". Have you had any luck in getting him interested?

Just one thing... please don't tell me his middle is Gene. It couldn't handle the mental image... :eek

I have tried to show him the possible links between the cases of JFK and David Kelly. For example, David Kelly's wife has gone public with the belief it was suicide. I told him the story of Grant Stockdale's suicide and the reaction of his wife and the reasons she made false statements of the case.

I have also told him of how the CIA use disinformation to discredit investigators. It seems that he has been a victim of this already.

Then there is the interesting case of Tom Mangold. He is a journalist who wrote a book based on information received from James Jesus Angleton (Cold Warrior). He has come forward and claimed he was a close friend of David Kelly and that he is convinced that he committed suicide. Remember, that is what George Smathers did when Stockdale was murdered.

By the way, a good joke about Norma Jean.

Norman Baker is fortunate to have you help him navigate these very murky waters, John.

Decisive for me - back in 2003 - in forming my view of the Kelly death was the strong public statement by some prominent doctors, claiming that the official account of his death was not credible.

I trust Mr Baker is in touch with them?

Edited spelling. Antti Hynonen

Edited by Antti Hynonen
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Then there is the interesting case of Tom Mangold. He is a journalist...

John,

This is a wild allegation. Can you substantiate? I mean, given "Mangold's" - not real name, I remember being told some years ago - track record as, among other things, the last journo to see Mr. Ward alive; a Summers collaborator; a purveyor of disinfo on the fate of the Tsar's family; and a whitewasher of James Angleton's disgusting career? A "journalist"?

Paul

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