Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Dear John...........

......I, and many others, will regret your absence. No longer will we have the luxury of such an easy target for our jibes.
But the image of you there, in the House of Commons, slumped like a porcine lump of lard alongside your leader, will be for ever with me. I often wondered – what were you thinking about? Was it of candlelit dinners with Tracy followed by a romp in the ministerial bed, or was it the faint click of wood on wood, as the croquet mallets flailed at Donneywood, while the troops were hearing the click of AK 47’s in Iraq?
Or perhaps you were just ruminating on which of the Jaguars you needed to have polished for tomorrow.
A little further along the front bench we find Miss Hewitt, and, if she’ll just let me finish, I must say her teeth are a credit to the National Health Service, which, as you all know, has improved immeasurably under her aegis. You all know that because she has told you so, repeatedly.
The Foreign Secretary is absent, on a visit to China, which will prevent any major cock-ups in foreign policy for the moment. But soon, it is hoped, she will be trundling her caravan down the dusty road of private life, as far away from Westminster as the Foreign Office can arrange.
And so to the leader of this motley band of brothers and sisters. What of the reputation of the Vicar of St. Albions, as Private Eye like to call him? As he spins himself off into private life, how will he be remembered?
Of course, by the war, stupid!
Whatever he may or may not have achieved during his long tenure at the helm, it is this one terrible error of judgement that brought the good ship Great Britain on to the rocks, acerbating terrorism against his own people and frittering away lives and money on an unwinnable conflict being waged at the behest of his mate, George W. Bush, and against the wishes of a large majority of his own people.
It is this that, to me, is the great failing of his premiership. A failure to realise that he was to act for the people of the country and not follow the leadership of another, however much he may personally have believed that he was in the right.
But perhaps the most extraordinary decision was that of appointing Mr. Prescott as his deputy. The position was only created out of necessity during the Second World War, when, in Churchill’s frequent absences, a leader was required back at home. Clement Attlee filled the post admirably. Although Churchill is alleged to have said of him “a sheep in sheep’s clothing” and “ a modest man – with much to be modest about,” they worked extremely well together. Churchill was sometimes waspish, even about his friends, and could rarely resist a neat turn of phrase but, more than anyone, recognised and appreciated Attlee’s strengths.
What can be said of Mr. Prescott?
Well, many of us will regret his departure. The Blair cabinet gave us, in the cynicism and ridicule business, unparalleled opportunities for us to shy our verbal coconuts against some of the easiest Aunt Sallies ever assembled under one roof.
Somehow, I don’t think Gordon Brown’s lot will be half as much fun.

My book, “Grounds for Divorce,” exploding the myth of the Bush-Blair ‘special relationship’ is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble etc.

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