The Harriet Harman "ginger rodent" remark, what is it? Could this be a joke or an insult? On the other hand is it an example of drollery or defamation? Then again an observation or a slight? You do see the problem don't you? Being who she is, Harriet Halfmoon, would not do things normally, there would be a reason. Most of the time she's not just 'doing things', oh no! She's doing things on behalf of the poor and the dispossessed. That would keep most folk busy but then Hurrypot Harpoon also administers to the vulnerable. And you have no idea how many of that tribe stalk the earth. They seem to multiply like flies. Don't forget this is all straight-forward stuff too. When you factor in the gender related work load, it's mega.
Just a few days ago you might have thought that Labour was willing and able to leave its past behind. The drubbing at the general election hurt them but, looking on the bright side, it got rid of Gordon Brown. Labour's recent past is riddled with problems stemming from the Blair/Brown feud. The wishful thinkers in Labour's membership would have hoped that the new leader could have shut the door on this period and the party move on but as we have said before Labour loves a fight, any fight. So it was foolish to imagine this could happen and not to see the trouble brewing during the leadership contest. While Brown appears to have no shame, subtlety or remorse about him after his and the party's defeat, he did at least show he can pick a winner, he anointed Ed - more on this below. Blair went all lofty as usual and spoke, publicly, only about Blairism, no doubt aiming to keep his 'legacy' pure; while Alan Johnson and Peter Mandelson, like other 'heavyweights', publicly supported David Miliband. But as Ed Miliband won it has shut the door on them instead!
Two names, Tony Blair and Stephen Byers, are both in the news now. However, the glare of the spotlight is brightest on Byers. The Times has a story about Byers with a video clip showing Byers doing what Tom Wise did, remember him? Wise was the UKIP MEP who boasted to a journalist about his income and way of working the system. Eventually reality caught up with Wise and he went to prison, he's there now. If he is allowed newspapers no doubt there will be a booming laugh echoing around the building as he reads the detail. I've met both Byers and Wise. The latter a big booming bully ex-policeman, the former a small apparatchik prone, like his mentor Blair, to near permanent rictus smile. And of course for Blair that's the problem, Byers is like a stick of rock, he has the word 'Blairite' running all the way through his soul.
The mental well being of the Prime Minister (see right) is an interesting subject and crops up in all sorts of odd places. Not only now but for some time there have been mutterings, this has even lead to controversy as to who called Brown "psychologically flawed" first, Tony Blair or Alistair Campbell. But then 'with friends like that', what else can be expected you may say. In the Times Rachel Sylvester writes, principally, about the Nulabour drift to the left and, in doing so, touches not only on the challengers to Brown's authority but, incidentally, their own equanimity too.
The grating dullness of UK politics was lifted, briefly, while Gordon Brown was in the USA. The equally witless, but a little more entertaining, Harriet Harman took Brown's place at PMQs. She faced William Hague who can, in his own way, be just as funny as Boris Johnson. So the cameras rolled and the sound was switched on and yes, PMQs was a cracker. There has not been so much laughter since Brown offered to “save the world”, a task still pending. Hague annoys many people for he has ability as well as a sense of humour, a rare mix in Westminster. Some say Hague won the match, others suggest it was a draw. Harman as the real Deputy Prime Minister, as opposed to Lord Mandy, the unelected usurper, should have had the whip hand. Hague, in opposition, not only has to work harder but differently, but there are advantages, he can relax, he does and so scores on a level Harman cannot reach. [url=http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/3411561/a-neat-little-video.thtml] A post match summary by Hague