Saturday, June 06, 2009

Bob's yer uncle, and Tess is your aunt..

Well, Blears and Smith were good, but Geoff Hoon walking the plank? Klasse. Apparently there is talk of making him a European commissioner again; God knows why. Alan Sugar is some sort of minister and a peer of the realm. Peter Mandelson is turning into Michael Heseltine before our boggling eyes. Better get some cardio training in, Pete. Were you still lucid for Hoon, or had you already decided the only objective reality was the one inside your own head? It's Ballardian time.

The Guardian's reporting on this, which has been outstanding, managed to use the word "dymanic" in today's offering, which puts it better than I could.

It's at times like this that old-fashioned lobby reporting comes into its own; I suppose it's nice to know they are there. As usual, though, the quality of any given political story in the Grauniad is proportional to the percentage written by Allegra Stratton as opposed to Michael "the most disgusting journalist in Britain" White or Patrick "Unseasonably Mild" Wintour.

A question, though. Tessa Jowell is Secretary of State for the Cabinet Office as of last night. Really? Blears bites the dust for using taxpayers' money to speculate in property while avoiding capital-gains tax; has everyone forgotten that Jowell did much the same, but with the crucial distinction that she used money paid to her husband as a bribe by the mafia, in the person of Silvio Berlusconi. I believe I was first on this story in December 2005; I'm going to be the last off it.

Because, to resounding silence in the UK, David Mills was convicted by the Italian courts a couple of months ago of corruptly accepting the money from il cavaliere. This is Italy, so it is unlikely he will be punished in any way. Yes, she suddenly discovered irreparable cracks in their marriage, rather in the way that the RAF suddenly discovered them in the Nimrod MR2s, and kicked him out of the door. But I am not aware that she renounced any of the profit involved.

For shits and giggles, compare these statements: BBC News, 04/03/2006:
"They hope that over time their relationship can be restored, but, given the current circumstances, they have agreed a period of separation."
The Guardian, 17/02/2009:
"This is a terrible blow to David and, although we are separated, I have never doubted his innocence."
How's that coming on?

A further question. In all the excitement, and all the mortgages, I don't think we ever clarified whether the property in question was declared as a first or second home to the Parliamentary fees office, and whether any capital gains tax in respect of it was paid.

Obviously, this is just the woman I'd pick to oversee a succession of gigantic public construction contracts as Olympics Minister, and the intelligence establishment as SoS for the Cabinet Office. If I'd just been playing the Withnail & I drinking game. Here I am! indeed.

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