Friday, May 05, 2006

The Bullet-Foot Interface

Hang on a minute. This reshuffle, despite the fact that it's clearly a blatant attempt to distract us from Labour's worst electoral performance in more than two decades, is, well its shit.

First of all, a reshuffle like this is a reminder, as if one were needed, that Tim was right on the button.
The only people Blair can appoint to his cabinet or count on in the pursuit of his reforms have to have backed him over the war on Iraq then and continue to back him to this day. And anyone who can do that with a smile on their face is duplicitous, stupid or woefully misinformed. It's no longer a case of the best man or woman for the job.
For those who need proof, this ought to do it*. Hazel Blears as Party Chairman? It's not my party but I'm tempted to cry anyway.

That aside, the reshuffle isn't going to close down the whole Two Shags saga. In fact, it's going to make it worse. Much worse. Blair's taken away all his responsibilities but he gets to keep all the perks? Ha ha. The tabloids are going to be all over that like, well, like an overweight Deputy Prime Minister trying to gain entry to a female civil servant's pants. He's going to be prescotted.

Whatever you think of Blair, you've got to admit (through gritted teeth if you're anything like me) that he was a smooth political operator once. But he's losing the plot completely now.

I've read a few people speculating that Blair could last a bit longer but only if he manages to avoid any new scandals for a while, particularly now that he's played his hand. But he's actually created another scandal with the hand he played.

John Prescott is going to get to keep his two jags and his salary and his two homes. He is, it seems, going to continue to be funded by the taxpayer to the tune of a quarter of a million pounds a years. This, because he's deputy leader of the Labour Party and Blair can't get rid of him without jeopardising his own position. Once the media digests that it'll be time to sit back and enjoy the fireworks. And what's Blair going to do? Have another reshuffle?

(What are the actual rules about state funding for party political purposes at the moment anyway? Blair's government has blurred those borders like never before - David Miliband's blog springs to mind - but isn't this sailing even closer to the wind than usual? Prescott will be doing almost nothing for the government, after all. Oh wait. Prescott will OFFICIALLY be doing almost nothing for the government. That's what's changed.)

The Blair of old, whatever you though of his policies, would never have left himself open to the sort of tabloid mauling he's going to get for this. He's either completely run out of room to manoeuvre or he's lost any last vestige of ability to judge the public mood. Or possibly both.

If the Labour Party don't finish him soon, he's going to finish them.


There she blows...

The Telegraph: Two Jags to No Jobs but he keeps all his perks
"People will think it is a bit strange that he's going to be paid for whatever he's going to do," said a mystified Kate Hoey yesterday as she, the Labour Party and the nation took in the news that John Prescott had been stripped of virtually everything, except his generous salary and grace and-favour homes.
The Times: Humbled Prescott will keep his lucrative perks
JOHN PRESCOTT may have been stripped of most of his powers as Deputy Prime Minister but he still enjoys the trappings of high office. The Deputy Prime Minister can still spend weekends with his wife Pauline at Dorneywood, a grace-and-favour mansion set in 215 acres of National Trust land in Buckinghamshire.

Mr Prescott has also kept his apartment in Admiralty Arch in Whitehall. The residence features prominently in the diaries of Tracey Temple, his assistant diary secretary, with whom he had a two-year affair.
Dear oh dear. And that's not even the tabloids (they all seem to update their sites first thing in the morning rather than last thing at night). We've sailed way past farce now and really are in unchartered territory. How on earth did Blair fail to see that coming?

I didn't have a chance to see the traditional reshuffle manoeuvres at Downing Street yesterday but my usually reliable sources tell me that the Benny Hill theme tune was playing during the ministerial comings and goings. A government spokesman has denied this allegation calling it a scurillous rumour (before being chased off by several ladies in bikinis and an irate, bald man).

Update 2
The Scum: Now We're All Being Screwed
Fired... but Two Shags keeps £600k a year pay and perks
SHAMED John Prescott is to keep his £600,000 salary and perks as Deputy PM — despite ending up with NO job yesterday.

Tony Blair humiliated randy Two Shags by stripping him of responsibility for his sprawling Whitehall department in a ruthless Cabinet reshuffle.

But the PM let him retain his TITLE, his chauffeured JAGS, his free MANSION . . . and the luxury APARTMENT where he romped with mistress Tracey Temple, 43.
Dear oh dear. Again.

(I did wonder whether this is actually an intentional part of the blame Prescott deal which seems to have been done. But the reshuffle, and Prescott's continuation as the perky DPM, was Blair's decision so it really wouldn't make sense.)

* Some others for any doubters out there. Margaret Beckett voted very strongly for the Iraq war. Alan Johnson voted very strongly for the Iraq war. Jacqui Smith voted very strongly for the Iraq war. Des Browne voted very strongly for the Iraq war. Douglas Alexander voted very strongly for the Iraq war. Etc etc...

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

is Fat cat is smug because it caught red midget blowing mad wabbit