Oh dear. Poor old Vince Cable MP. It’s less than a year since our man got himself caught out in “giggle-gate” by declaring war on Rupert Murdoch to two Daily Telegraph reporters posing as constituents and now his Lion Road constituency office has found itself at the centre of another embarrassing faux pas. This time it’s the inclusion of constituency correspondence and other sensitive documentation in rubbish bags left outside his HQ. An eagle-eyed Twickenham local spotted this occurring on numerous occasions, was suitably and rightly outraged and did some follow up work, including a trip to check that St. Zac of Richmond Park was doing things properly. Before you know it, hey presto, there’s an exclusive in the Richmond & Twickenham Times. Funny how things work out isn’t it?
This is bad for Cable. Although it’s unlikely that “our Vince” was the one tying up the bin bags and putting them out in the street, he’s the one who has to do the apologising on behalf of his constituency office. Just what he could do without. He’ll soon be earning the dreaded soubriquet “gaffe prone”. Or perhaps, given Vince’s passion for his stylish fedora, The Great Gaffesby.
But where next for our public-spirited Twikileaking local bin-sifter? Who knows? Should we all be on our guard? And can we expect a surge in demand for shredders in Twickenham this week-end? In this new climate of fear gripping Twickenham, if we were going to give some advice to Vince on the subject, we’d suggest that with so much focus on his Lion Road office, he might be better off dealing with his paperwork in a local park, as long as he can resist the temptation to “do a Letwin”, of course.
We seriously hope that lessons will be learned from this, including that if you’re concerned about what’s left in someone’s rubbish, then please tell your favourite hyperlocal website before you tell the local paper.