Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The PIE / NCCL nexus

I think when a scandal reaches the Thought For The Day slot on the Today programme we can say it has entered national awareness.

This morning Canon Angela Tilby waded (ever so sensitively) into the PIE / NCCL nexus talking of the 1970s as a happy time of free spirits wearing pastel colours (but in the TV re-runs of the Professionals everyone seems to be wearing brown?) while pointing out there was a snake in this garden of Eden.  Who was this snake?  PIE, presumably, but were there other snakes in the NCCL?

Also on the Today programme the former head of PIE was interviewed.  It turns out he sat on a sub-committee of the NCCL, which means he held an official post within the organisation (it was an official committee right?).  How did he get onto this committee?  Was he elected or was he appointed?  If he was appointed, who decided his appointment?  Were any checks, legal or otherwise, made on the suitability of co-options into the official structure of NCCL?

So here you have the head of PIE integrated into the official structure of the National Council for Civil Liberties - a body which employed Harriet Harman, Jack Dromey and Patricia Hewitt.  Without labouring the point, who had the power in this relationship, the employees or the employer?  One is not used to thinking of Harriet Harman as a jobsworth, but one can see that she would not want to "rock the boat", especially if it meant putting her own pet projects at risk.

As Angela Tilby might say, there may be no obvious sins of commission by Harriet Harman, Jack Dromey and Patricia Hewitt, but there are perhaps sins of omission (and a frosty look from Patricia Hewitt in a conference centre lift is not really the sort of condemnation we might expect).

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