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Oh God, Shami Chakrabarti is back on her high horse.

So DD might be having an affair with Shami, he might not be having an affair with Shami...frankly does anyone apart from Mrs D really care?

Alexander, how dreadful, a woman speaks up in defence of her reputation, my word, we'll be wanting the vote next!

What does Harman think?

Surely she wouldn't miss an opportunity to comment on a womens rights issue.....

Bingo!

Alexander King misses the point again

Speak out against this wretched government and they will trash you, that's unacceptable and we should defend all who are picked on in this way.

Andy Burnham might have thought he was being funny and lighthearted, but I think he went a bit too far.

Having a go at David Davis is one thing, but to imply what he was implying was entirely different - and wrong.

So, in Shami Chakrabarti's world, the law should be protecting the right of to roam the streets freely and stopping individuals from making statements that may or may not be true? To threaten to sue over that comment is utterly pathetic.

labour MP Diane Abbott has condemned Burnham too. So it's all-party.

Andy Burnham is just having a laugh. I find his comments hilarious. And frankly, they needed saying. We've heard enough of Chakrabarti's pious lecturing to last us a decade.

If Shami Chakrabarti can't handle the rough and tumble of public life, then she shouldn't be in public life.

Well done, Andy Burnham, for puncturing her self-regarding bubble.

There is a difference between 'puncturing her self-regarding bubble' and making wild allegations to smear someone.

Shami's just getting paranoid.
On 2nd October last year the Telegraph did a round up of the most influential people on the right. It contained the following paragraph re Chakrabarti and it is only gossipy if you have a suspicious frame of mind.

“She, more than anyone, has influenced Conservative civil liberties policies. If there’s a Home Office you can be sure her advice will be sought by both David Davis and Nick Clegg. She is a huge influence on Davis in particular.”

She never complained about that, did she?
She just needs a thicker skin.

Frankly, David Davis would be mad to go there anyway.

PART OF COMMENT OVERWRITTEN.

Burnham did voice a common worry about how close those two are - he seems to be in her pocket politically. Liberty have often been on the wrong side of security issues.

If he had said "David Davis has joined Shami Chakrabati in being on the wrong side of the security argument" that would have been fine. I wouldn't have agreed with him, because I tend to think that Liberty are right more often than the government but it would have been 'fair comment'.
Implying that they are having an affair is just not on - or fair.

Oh come off it, Alexander King - she is an attractive woman - or do you believe a woman is only attractive if she resembles Jessica Rabbit?!

Methinks Ms C has had a sense of humour failure. Anyone with half a brain can see the comment was meant in jest. Strike her off the dinner party guest list, she'd be rubbish at banter.

Its a sign of how willing this government are to smear people who disagree with them. Their first attack on David Davis implied a nasty streak of homophobia, now this. I don't blame Shami Chakrabarti for threatening legal action. Defending free speech does not preclude objecting to potentially slanderous comments.

So much for Liberty Shami..... Hows about protecting free speech!!!

I agree with imogen. I'm unimpressed with Shami's rush to the courts.

It's one thing for people in forums, on TV or in the media to suggest that he's gone there.. I mean, I would ;) - but for an MP to say it and to seemgly use that as the main argument against what she stands for I agree that's going too far and I don't think she's done any wrong in requesting an apology.

Shami is right to take Burnham to task, they (labour)have no idea how to handle the 42 day issue thrown up by Davis and this is a pathetic attempt to trivialise it.

Thanks to Burnham for the publicity and although at a loss to understand why Davis 'did it' I wish him all the best.

It may yet rebound in a big way for Labour in refusing to fight this seat.

I hope the freedom that we are being denied in the 42 day bill, that Davis is highlighting' he extends to the 'No' vote by the Irish and the implications to the UK electorate of the EU ignoring the law and the wishes of the people

Shami is right to take Burnham to task, they (labour)have no idea how to handle the 42 day issue thrown up by Davis and this is a pathetic attempt to trivialise it.

Thanks to Burnham for the publicity and although at a loss to understand why Davis 'did it' I wish him all the best.

It may yet rebound in a big way for Labour in refusing to fight this seat.

I hope the freedom that we are being denied in the 42 day bill, that Davis is highlighting' he extends to the 'No' vote by the Irish and the implications to the UK electorate of the EU ignoring the law and the wishes of the people

It wasn't wise for Burnham to use that phrase but its potency suggests that Im not the only one to have heard gossip about such things. (Not about an affair, it's more of a Jack Straw-Condi Rice thing.)
Like Alexander King, "high horse" and "Shami Chakrabati" are synonymous in my mind.

Of course she is attractive and charming, and, having had the pleasure of meeting her, even more so in person than on TV. Anyone who saw that 10 Doughty St extended interview with her last year could see that too. Alexander King's judgement seems as flawed on this as on other matters. Perhaps he's one of those men who is put off by highly intelligent women but to some of us that is an added attraction.

It would hardly be surprising if there were some chemistry between her and DD, I'm sure they like each other. But Andy Burnham's innuendo of something more is childish in the extreme and, as others have pointed out, deeply sexist. SC is perfectly entitled to put a legal shot across his bows. Why should she be bullied for being an attractive woman? The fact is that the enemies of freedom, in whatever party, are obviously very upset that Liberty has such an effective and popular advocate.

They are also both thornes in the side of police chiefs who want 42 days etc. Can you imagine the temptation right now to the police to try to dig up some dirt on one or other of them? Where did Andy Burnham get the information that there had been late night telephone calls (no doubt on such matters as what had gone on at that evening's parliamentary proceedings etc)? He must have known that bit was true mustn't he, or otherwise he would really have been leaving himself open. The boys in blue haven't been a bit naughty looking through private telephone records have they, and then passing the information to their political friends? Of course they would be allowed to do so under the pretext of checking that neither of them had any connections with suspected terrorists wouldn't they? Mr B should be challenged to know where he got the information that they had had phone calls late at night.

But it also illustrates another point about the surveillance society. Imagine the position if either SC or DD had been having an affair. Imagine the police accessed their phone records as they are entitled to do and found lots of telephone calls to a surprising number at surprising times of the day and night. Imagine then that the police didn't like what they were doing and saying politically. Even the possibility that they could do this might keep a few potential opponents quiet mightn't it? Any Labour MPs with private lives they would rather were kept private to whom it might have occurred sensible not to get on the wrong side of the police on this matter?

Andy Burnham is just having a laugh. I find his comments hilarious. And frankly, they needed saying. We've heard enough of Chakrabarti's pious lecturing to last us a decade.
If Shami Chakrabarti can't handle the rough and tumble of public life, then she shouldn't be in public life.

Posted by: Alexander King | June 19, 2008 at 16:50


I would say she is handling it extremely well in highlighting Labours' trivilisation of the 42 day issue and their 'frit'

On the grounds this Labour Govt and their councils start shrieking at anything that conflicts with their world views and respond with diatribe and abuse which is usually followed up an attempt at public humiliation, I say to Mrs Chakrabarti "No public apology, sue him". Labour love to fling the dirt about and some of it sticks. If you don't defend it, people always run around, "no smoke without a fire." The main charge is an accusation of political impropriety in that gifts and blandishments have allegedly been offered to procure a political outcome. That is not a trivial charge, no matter how trivially you frame the language of it.
Most people won't sue because they can't afford to. Well here is someone who can, and I hope she gets all costs and let that be a lesson to those garrulous grot-trots who abuse their Government position with libellous statements.

this obviously shows , labour knowing they cant defend an argument against them on civil liberties will instead to resort to personal attacks - i thought brown's government had a moral consensus - i think it's pointing the wrong way.

Just had a conversation with someone who used to work for Liberty. He told me that Chakrabarti was "so far up her own arse it wasn't funny" and that she was very unpopular amongst those that worked for her. Can't say I was surprised to hear that.

She's quite effective, I'll give her that, but "attractive" and "charming" would not be the first adjectives that spring to mind.

One of the creepier aspects of the 42 days debate was the number of ageing male MPs who seemed completely in thrall to her. I saw one Labour MP referring to her as "a bonny looking lass who I was delighted to have in my office".

I want our MPs to judge things on their merits, not to be swayed by infantile crushes on pressure group spokeswomen.

Mr King, if Labour MPS want to be sexist and infantile, that is their own affair and they must pay the consequences for it. Report them to Mrs Harman if you wish, I am sure she will chastise them most suitably and educate them in the error of their ways.
However for one of them to cast aspersions on the character of people outside their party with the charge of implied "bribery or blandishment for the purpose of obtaining a political advantage" goes beyond the infantile and should be subject to sterner controls than Mrs Harman. A hefty ding to the wallet should cover it.
Mrs Chakrabarti may not be viewed in the kindest of lights by her co-workers, but this does not mean it should be permitted that she be the target of unsubstantiated slurs and allegations regarding her professional integrity without being allowed recourse to a defense of her professional integrity. To argue otherwise is to allow the roots of mob tyranny to thrust forth from the soil of our civil liberties, and indeed our liberty to be civil, and strangle us all, as I would suggest this Labour Party is trying to do.

Hi, Snegchui. That was a remarkably pompous post. Chill out.

Hamlet: III.ii.240:

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

[We all thought that: it's just that I quoted it correctly.]

"I am sure she will chastise them most suitably and educate them in the error of their ways."

Knowing that lot they would probably enjoy it very much.

Just had a conversation with someone who used to work for Liberty. He told me that Chakrabarti was "so far up her own arse it wasn't funny" and that she was very unpopular amongst those that worked for her. Can't say I was surprised to hear that.
Posted by: Alexander King | June 19, 2008 at 19:25

The above is children's playground stuff!!
Let's keep to the facts shall we???

I am surprised at the naivety of some of the comments above, its the oldest trick in the book, as they must know - make a 'funny' comment, which is quite snide as well, and then say 'It was only a joke', or 'can't you take a joke!'. I wonder how well those naive posters/bloggers would take a 'joke' themselves? Not so well I suspect!

"Let's keep to the facts shall we??"

Those are the facts, Richard.

Ah yes, Andy Burnham, another example of Labour's political class robots. Glad to see they are addressing politics with their usual gravitas. This guy is a member of the Cabinet? The quality of politicians has sunk even lower than I thought...

"Let's keep to the facts shall we??"

Those are the facts, Richard.

Posted by: Alexander King | June 19, 2008 at 20:44


I don't think so, sounds from your original comment the remarks of a disgruntled employee.

Even if it were true hardly contributes to mention it.

"I don't think so, sounds from your original comment the remarks of a disgruntled employee.

Even if it were true hardly contributes to mention it".

They were the comments of a friend of mine who did some work for Liberty in his own time - hardly a disgruntled ex-employee.

Moreover, it contributes significantly, since we are debating whether Ms Chakrabarti is taking herself too seriously.

I think she is - and I think it's in character for her to do so.

I agree with Londoner - Alexander King's judgement seems as flawed on this as on other matters.

The comments by Burnham were no joke but Shami has stopped him in his tracks. An effective and very impressive woman.

The point here isn't about Shami Chakrabarti's looks (whether she looks like a supermodel or a gargoyle isn't important), it is about a Labour Cabinet Minister trying to smear a Conservative candidate for public election and the head of campaigning organisation.

Andy Burnham's comments were ill-advised at best, but I suspect that, given this government's track record, they were not intended to be 'light-hearted banter'.

As a supporter of David Davis, I must confess support for Andy Burnham. Both Davis and Chakrabarti have demonstrated that they are too thin-skinned on this occasion.

Wise up lads and lassies, Alexander King is only trying to wind you all up. He doesnt really mean all he says - does he? Surely not?
Wait ten seconds. Does he ever sleep?

it was poor and classless- but to be expected - might be nice to see him appologise. There are always ridiculous rumours that get peddled, like between a certain officer of this site, and a female mp, but to come from the mouth of a minister - really classless!

Call me old fashioned but isn't the test of defamation whether the comment would cause a right thinking member of society to think less of the person?

Is a comment by some otherwise utterly anonymous Cabinet minister really going to lower the standing of Shami Chakrabarti in the eyes of right thinking members of society?

Posted by: Alexander King | June 19, 2008 at 20:59

They were the comments of a friend of mine who did some work for Liberty in his own time - hardly a disgruntled ex-employee.

So its not only Andy Burnham that speaks on hearsay, you do as well. Gossip and petty springs to mind

"So its not only Andy Burnham that speaks on hearsay, you do as well. Gossip and petty springs to mind".

How is it possibly "hearsay?"

It's very straightforward: My friend worked for Liberty. He told me the story.

Now either a) He is lying, b) I am lying, or c) You are talking nonsense.


Sam R: "Alexander King is only trying to wind you all up. He doesnt really mean all he says - does he? Surely not?"

A Conservative who doesn't eat out of the palm of Shami Chakrabarti's hand?

Surely not, indeed...

@Alexander King
Another attempt to trivialize without having the intellectual apparatus to discuss the issue.
I fear the day that empty "educated" people exercise the precepts of their educators
rather than their own opinions ( which being empty they don't have), and oh sorry with this cabinet , that day has arrived and in transmission .....

So liberty doesn't seem to extend to defending all free speech and a bit of political knockabout.

It's quite ugly that an organisation which is there to defend freedom should seek to threaten those who use a bit of political satire.

Even though I am a supporter of David Davis, and strongly disagree with the government and Andy Burnham on 42 days.

I too had developed some respect for Shami -it's hard to have quite as much now.

What I like best about Shami is she'll start talking with her head up straight, speaking loud and clear and so on, and then the longer she talks, the more she behaves like a nervous boxer - tilting her face down and shrugging and rolling her shoulders, until in the end she is mumbling into her chest while peeping out bashfully beneath her fringe.

But that's just me.

Does anybody else have any 'My favourite Shami mannerisms'?

Mark Wadsworth | June 20, 2008 at 01:09 "Does anybody else have any 'My favourite Shami mannerisms'?"

I love it when she tilts her head coyly to one side after she has asked a question...her raven fringe flopping innocently above those numinous coal eyes...her transparent gaze boreing into the very depths of my soul as she awaits my response to the profoundest question of all...do you believe in liberty to the very depth of your being as I do, oh David?

And my response...when it comes...is like a torrent that has been dammed too long...Oh yes Shami, I do! I believe in liberty to the very depths of my soul and to the ends of the earth! Liberty - at all costs! Liberty - or my life! Liberty, my love! Liberty!

And then my darling Shami will smile with pleasure, clap her hands together joyously and rock back in her seat...her boyish limbs waving in delight...those ashen eyes now full of joy...and of love...most of all, of love!

And so the die is cast. My decision is made. To hell with Dave! To hell with them all! For liberty - and for Shami!


The comments saying that she shouldn't have done this or have lost respect seem to assume that it was a one-off comment.

If on the other hand you choose to continue down the path...

This is about making sure that, if they are going to continue to debunk the campaign (even tho they have no candidate) then it's on the issues and not the gossip.

I think the average person on the street would think less of the arguments if their MP told them that it was just because of an affair.

I am not totally surprised if some people who work for Liberty resent Shami Chakrabarti. The roots of the organisation, as the NCCL, were very much to the left and if you look at its ruling council it is stuffed full of left wing lawyers and others with obvious leftist affiliations.

On the other hand, she has hugely broadened the appeal of the organisation, and the cause, by linking the argument for liberty with much wider arguments about the defence of our institutions; in effect showing that liberty is a conservative cause to preserve as well as sometimes a radical one to obtain. I have no doubt that many who work for Liberty (not necessarily Mr King's friend) resent her popularity with some of us Conservatives, resent her success in bringing these arguments to the centre of political debate, and would probably much rather that the organisation had remained in its left-wing cocoon as it had been for most of its history until SC took over. Linking with the Davis slur, they also probably resent the fact that some of us at least also find her attractive and charming as well - they would really much rather win the argument without deploying such underhand tactics as furthering the cause by winning friends and influencing people.

@Mark Wadsworth

Wel done for your relevant and adult contribution to a debate that is full of relevant and adult contributions.

My penny's worth:

1. Shami's looks, mannerisms, and even her popularity with her staff (or occasional volunteers) are completely irrelevant.

2. Had many other people made these comments, they probably wouldn't even have been noticed and may certainly have been taken as a pretty rubbish attempt at humour.

3. But this is New Labour - and a New Labour Minister no less. New Labour has form, and comments made in the midst of a quite feverish debate on politics and principle, at a time when the Government is defensive and on the back foot, need to be looked at with that form in mind.

Namely - when on the back foot, New Labour come out fighting, and they don't play the ball. To smear the people involved is a standard tactic:

Remember the Paddington Train crash survivor - smeared for being a possible Tory?

There was the family of 94 year old lady who suffered from very poor NHS treatment and complained (I don't remeber the details) - smeared for being possibly racist.

Even poor old Gordon Brown - his enemies within New Labour didn't argue he'd be a poor replacement fro Blair because of what we all knew (control freak, micromanager, lack of understanding of the real world, arrogant...). No, they smeared him as being 'psychologically flawed'.

So for those of you who have argued that Shami is being thin skinned, or that this was just a joke - please don't play New Labour's game.

Shami is a respected lobbyist, who expects to debate and argue the issues she fights for on the merits of the issues themselves. She should not be expected to accept New Labour smear and innuendo in the place of a reasoned debate from her opponents. How can she legitimately respiond to that?

If New Labour have arguments and evidence to support their side of the debate, then great - we all wait to hear/see it. If they don't, we shouldn;t put up with smear and innuendo as an alternative.

Doesn't she support freedom of speech. A bit of a hypocrite on her behalf, considering the type of organisation she leads.

Doesn't she support freedom of speech. A bit of a hypocrite on her behalf, considering the type of organisation she leads.
Not really.
Freedom of speech allows you to critisise others etc, but to mislead or deflame is still wrong.
Just what I see as being conservative... do/say what you want until you wrongly negatively affect others then come down like a ton of bricks! ... punish hard but punish less.

The sooner you sue a pressman the sooner you lose your voice!

Now either a) He is lying, b) I am lying, or c) You are talking nonsense.

Posted by: Alexander King | June 20, 2008 at 00:02

or you are gossiping???

This place is weird.

Nulab get caught running a dirty little smear campaign against a Conservative MP.

In response, many posters on 'Conservative Home' start shrilling about how wonderful said dirty little smear campaign is.

What's wrong with you people ?

Dave - the answer is free speech.

And the defenders of the 42 day legislation say if we've done nothing wrong you've nothing to fear ? I say be very fearful if such legislation is going to be administered by people who accept bullying, excuse me , 'political satire' to be legitimate parliamentary tradition. Thank God Shami Chakrabarti has got a high horse to ride, she needs it to jump over such a quagmire.

It's true our corridors of power have a long tradition of relying upon high-brow repartee, to mask the insecurities of those who hold positions of authority under the pretense of having something valuable to offer humanity, but isn't it time now to grow up ?

When people protest over challenges to the 42 day legislation, particularly when they claim a right to be bullyish, the more fearful I say we should become that such legislation will be implimented wisely.

Why can't our MPs just sit down and have a sensible debate instead of wasting our taxes on time spent bickering like school children. What an example to the world we are.

Just wish our society would advance as quickly as the technology that alows us to engage in forums like this. It doesn't take much education for that, just morality.

Dave - the answer is free speech.

Posted by: West London Tory | June 21, 2008 at 01:39

Amazing how so many defenders of that right squander it on self-aggrandisement and lies.

It's no wonder we spend millions on trying to prevent anti-social behaviour in our communities. You're spinning your tops in the mud. Shame on you all.

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