If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Thursday 10 February 2011

Devine Justice

Jim Devine - not as nice as he looks

So Jim Devine has been convicted. Hoo-bloody-rah.

First, he tried to get out of being tried in public court at all, claiming he and his kind were above that kind of thing.

Then, there was the merciless kippering by Krishnan Guru-Murthy on C4, where he condemned himself out of his own mouth and put up an exhibition display of quality whingeing and self-justification.

Lastly, there was the trial, where his erstwhile comrades left him to swing in the wind.

Now he has been convicted of false accounting. He will be sentenced in four weeks.

Devine is an ex-union official who was Robin Cook's agent and inherited Cook's seat in 2005, largely owing to the influence of Labour's Scottish machine. He was never up to the job of an MP, and from his display on C4 I suspect that he had neither the intellect nor the wits to survive. That's not a show-stopper for Labour, of course - you could have pinned a red rosette on a donkey and it would have 'secured a clear and susbstantial majority for change' in Livingston. But looking at him under Guru-Murthy's fairly mild but persistent questioning, and I was reminded of a rabbit facing an F-16 with Sidewinder missiles. He stumbled, he sweated, he prevaricated, he sweated some more. It was hard not to feel sorry for him, but I managed it.

It seems appropriate that he was finally caught for some petty cheating, rather than anything contemptible but grand. I await his sentencing with interest.


  1. you could have pinned a red rosette on a donkey and it would have 'secured a clear and susbstantial majority for change' in Livingston

    And quite a few other safe Labour seats.

    Actually, how sure are we that they didn't? ;-)

  2. Clearly, a bullying demeanour and absolute loyalty to the cause trumped any considerations of suitability or talent. But a donkey? I've known some quite nice donkeys ...

  3. Didn't he also accuse his secretary of having an affair with him?

    I know looks aren't everything, but I suspect she'd have demanded proof his IQ exceeded the minimum threshold.

  4. There was something about his secretary (I tried to find it for the post, but I couldn't do so in time), but I think it was rather more serious than alleging an affair. He tried (ISTR) to get her tied up (oo-er) in the expenses thing, claiming that she had filed for things she shouldn't. Not sure - I'll see if I can track the story down.

    But you're right on your main point. Anyone contemplating an affair with the ruddy and worried-looking Scot needs a white jacket and a safe cell, and fast.

  5. From the BBC:

    During the trial Devine claimed his former office manager Marion Kinley paid herself more than £5,000 from his staffing allowance without his knowledge.

    After the verdict Ms Kinley said: "Justice has been done. The jury obviously saw through Mr Devine's lies. For legal reasons, I will not be making any further comment at this time."

  6. Watched his kippering on Channel 4. How on earth people like this ever get elected? It is not a good advertisement for deomcracy, or the wisdom of the crowds.

    Interesting comment he makes at the end of the interview: we always did like that at the union, moving money around at the end of the year...

  7. He was elected because of the party system - without political parties, we would have to examine our choices and make our minds up on merit, and chumps like this wouldn't get beyond the first stages. He had a career as a union fixer, and that was good enough for the brothers to put him forward and (almost automatically) be elected.

    I noticed that comment, at the end, too. We always did it this way in the union, and that makes it OK. And did he say the NHS too? (I can't stand watching it again to check.) Time for Plod to start looking into that as well, I feel.

  8. To be fair to Devine (chokes me, but I am a fair bloke), he might not have been talking about expenses here. It is common practice to move money around between different accounts (it's called virement, I believe) when needed, and there's nothing wrong with that - provided it's your money. What he can't see is that while virement is fine, doing it to claim extra funds for yourself by deceiving the supplier of those funds is most definitely not.


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