A Few Preliminary Words
I have blogged in the past about a few MPs in the present House of Commons who stand out even in that —at best— mediocre ensemble for their stupidity, deadheadedness and general uselessness. My most recent targets have been Kate Osamor MP and Fiona Onasanya MP. I move now to examine Scott Mann, Conservative Party MP for North Cornwall.
Scott Mann has made so little impact in Parliament since he was elected in 2015 that I was entirely unaware of his existence until today, despite the fact that, in the years 2002-2004, I myself lived in the North Cornwall constituency and had a lease of one of the largest country houses there [seen below in a 1940s photograph]
The North Cornwall Constituency
The constituency is largely rural, though it contains some fairly small towns (Launceston, Bude, Wadebridge, Padstow); it has a significant, mostly coastal, tourist industry. It was held by the Liberal Democrats from 1992 to 2015. The national collapse of the Liberal Democrat vote in 2015, which continued in 2017, was reflected in North Cornwall. The Conservative, Mann, increased his vote share from 45% in 2015 to 50.7% in 2017. It can now be considered a safe Conservative seat.
I am not someone who is biased against those who drop out of school or education; after all, I myself did! (and then had to do it all myself later). There are several possible reasons (apart from sheer lack of ability) why someone gets a university degree late or (as in Mann’s case) not at all (and in any case the “degree” label is so devalued these days anyway), but Mann’s background, like those of so many MPs now, does not inspire confidence.
Mann was educated locally before becoming a postman, working out of the sorting office in Wadebridge (Cornwall), the town in which he had been both born and brought up.
In 2007, Mann was elected as a county councillor. In 2016, he resigned after having been criticized for poor attendance. He remained a postman until he became an MP.
Mann employs his girlfriend as “part-time secretary” via Parliamentary expenses (she gets about £30,000 a year for a part-time job). Apparently, they do not live together. He also claims, or has done, for other personal items, such as Amazon Prime [see Notes, below], and for his London accommodation. Well, after all, he lived for years on a modest Royal Mail pay-packet, and the opportunities to make hay, as a county councillor, are far more limited than those open to an MP.
Now Mann has come to public attention as the idiot who says that all knives should be fitted with GPS (!) and that anyone carrying one should be severely punished unless hunting, fishing or shooting! P.G. Wodehouse meets Common Purpose? I have some sympathy with the tweeters who asked “how are you even an MP?”
“Scott Mann admitted his idea was “s—“, but added: “ultimately we do have a problem, and no one’s coming up with any solutions, we need to sort it out.”” [Daily Telegraph]
I fear that the answer to the above question (as to how this idiot ever became an MP) is the same as applies to all other “deadhead” MPs (and they are many) in the Westminster monkeyhouse: they get through a selection procedure which is often a joke, or rigged, then get “elected” in circumstances where only one candidate (sometimes two, very occasionally three) has a realistic chance, because of FPTP voting, dominated by 2 or 3 System parties.
The tweet that exposed Scott Mann MP as a deadhead…
The twitterati respond…
Update, 4 December 2019
Unusually, especially for a Cornishman (I would suppose anyway), Mann cannot swim. He nearly drowned in 2016 and had to be saved by fellow-MP Johnny Mercer:
Update, 26 February 2020
The General Election 2019 confirmed Mann as MP for North Cornwall. In fact, Mann received the votes of no less than 59.4% of those who bothered to vote, the largest winning percentage in the history of the constituency if one leaves out the unopposed victories of Liberals in 1918 and 1923.
In 2019, Mann managed to more than double his 2017 majority to 14,752; he also doubled his majority in percentage terms. Interestingly, the LibDem candidate’s percentage share (30.8%) fell not only compared to 2017 (36.6%) but even as compared to 2015 (31.2%). Another sign that the LibDems are on the way out even in former strongholds.
Update, 2 March 2020
In February 2020, Mann was appointed PPS to Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education (formerly —and risibly— Secretary of State for Defence), who himself has featured in these pages as a “Deadhead MP”: https://ianrmillard.wordpress.com/2019/05/02/deadhead-mps-an-occasional-series-the-gavin-williamson-story/