Has the MP for Bridgwater lost the plot
Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has once again used/abused the time MPs are given to suggest debates to make a series of absurd off the cuff remarks about one of his favourite bêttes noires.
Earlier today he managed to take the stage and draw attention by thoughtfully pronouncing that “Exeter city has just brought out an excellent report looking 20 years ahead for the security and growth of their city centre. Across the border, my county town Taunton is more like Aleppo than anything else. Could I please have a debate in government time in this place following on from the member opposite on town centres and how they must look forward to visionary experiences as opposed to looking back for what has happened in history”
Ordinarily Mr Speaker would have slapped him down for coming out with this nonsense. Especially as for the purposes of a debate about town centres, Taunton has nothing to do with his constituency. This is just another of his regular breaches of parliamentary etiquette. It would be nice to know if he swapped notes with Rebecca Pow MP before raising the subject, as the rules say he should, but I think we all know the answer. What part of the history of Aleppo is relevant to Taunton is hard to judge. Very few people appear to inhabit the strange and surreal world of Mr Liddell-Grainger. Perhaps he has in mind the ardent Puritans who held the town at various points during the English Civil War? Does he think they are rather like the various Al Qaeda linked terrorist groups that once held sway in Syria’s second city?
Perhaps he was harking back to his obsession with guns, sparked when the local constabulary had the temerity to question the fact that his own license had run out. Mr Liddell Grainger has obsessed about this ever since. Maybe he feels that as in Aleppo, Taunton would get along better if only more people had more firearms. Or at least licenses to have firearms. Mind you I’m not sure the Syrian terrorist were too fussed about having licenses.
There is certainly disquiet about the state of our county town centre. There has been a loud call from a number of prominent local businesspeople for a debate over the leadership of the town. There has not, as far as I am aware, been a call to make Syrian the official language of the town. No suggestion that we should build a mosque to rival the Umayyad Mosque on the Firepool site. If there are plans to build a Turkish bath to rival the Hammam al-Nahhasin on the banks of the River Tone or even by the canal, then they have not been discussed and minuted at Taunton Deane Borough Council.
Of course it is just possible that Ian Liddell Grainger has never been to Aleppo?
But surely that can’t be true as it would mean he hasn’t got a clue what he is talking about…..
Stop press: just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, according to Hansard Liddell Grainger compared Taunton not to Aleppo but to “a leper”! He did actually say Aleppo, but somehow leper doesn’t seem much better.