Christopher Chope, you may have observed, single-handedly blocked the progress of the up skirting ban in the House of Commons. What a nice man he must be. A serial expenses fiddler, this is man who charged the tax paper £881 to have his sofa repaired and later got us to pay £2600 so he could have a new bathroom. In fact, he claimed a total of £136,992 between 2007/08. This is man who tried to block a Commons debate on Hillsborough. A man who referred to House of Commons dining room staff as “servants”. And a man who tried to block the pardon for Alan Turing. He must be so proud.
Yet in the most recent New Year’s honours list, Chope became a knight of the realm. I wondered what he had done to deserve it. I was pretty sure Chope had not cracked the Enigma code, climbed Mount Everest, dedicated his life to disadvantaged people or carried out an act of supreme heroism. So, what had he done to deserve such a massive honour” Allow the prime minister who nominated him to explain her reasoning:
“Christopher Chope has been a longstanding member of Parliament.”
And that was it. With the exception of a few years on the opposition front benches way back when, Chope has been a career backbencher, a typical rich, privately educated barrister, an MP sitting in a Tory stronghold (Christchurch) where they weigh the votes rather than count them. To reward him for a lifelong career of mediocrity, in which he did no more than he was required to do, seems a little OTT to me.
This is the kind of thing that makes the punters absolutely livid. We all know people who have served the country throughout the ages, whether serving our country in the armed forces, or perhaps the emergency services, saving lives like RNLI volunteers, nurses and doctors who will always say “I was only doing my job” when carrying out exceptional deeds, but the MP, who works whatever hours he likes, can turn up to work whenever he wants and generally does what the party whips tell him to do – oh and dumps on Hillsborough victims, victims of up skirting, LGBT people and tries to block Alan Turing’s pardon. Yes, Alan Turing the national hero.
Meanwhile, Theresa May gives Chope a knighthood for doing his job and, just to balance things up, Jeremy Corbyn gives shifty Shami Chakrabarti for joining the Labour Party and producing a whitewash of a report on anti-Semitism.
At least, Chope has done us a favour by raising the profile of up skirting which, until his intervention last week, many of didn’t really understand. His political track record shows he is a greedy, bigoted homophobe and this was no act of political principle. If he deserves to become Sir Christopher on the basis of that lot, the Queen’s going to be doling out a few million more gongs over the next few years. What a mockery of a broken system this is.