Not Saussure

September 8, 2006

Problems, problems…

Filed under: Blair, Blogroll, hubris, Legacy, nemesis, Politics, UK — notsaussure @ 4:40 pm

Yesterday has left me feeling a bit Blaired out, but there’s no getting away from it all; Charles Clarke’s intervention, denouncing Brown for failing, as Clarke saw it, to stop the rebellion and, even worse, allowing himself to grin while there was a photographer in the area — has certainly shattered the truce.

“A lot of people are very upset and cross about that. It was absolutely stupid, a stupid, stupid thing to do.”

fulminates our Charlie.

As several people have pointed out, Charles Clarke accusing someone of stupidity is a bit rich; Rachel North has many amusing things to say about the man who so rude to her father — Mr Clarke doesn’t seem to have changed with age, by the way; my late father was a colleague, though not quite so high in the civil service mandarinate, of Mr Clarke’s papa.

Clarke senior apparently used to dread his son’s visits to the department to be taken out for lunch by his dad back when Junior was President of the National Union of Students; apparently it wasn’t so much that he used to turn up ‘making even you look decently turned out’ (given dad’s views on my sartorial style at the time, that’s saying something), which wasn’t particularly thoughtful of someone who was going to be treated to an expensive lunch at pater’s club, but that he was always guaranteed to be gratutiously rude to everyone he enountered — the ministry doormen and so forth.

Clarke’s accusations of stupidity caused Mr Eugenides to raise an eyebrow, reminding him of how a columnist’s comment that Clarke’s treatment of Rachel’s father showed nothing ‘to make the headmistress of his Lake Geneva finishing school beam with pride’

prompted a 450-word letter to the newspaper in question from Charles himself. It is difficult to imagine a more excruciating sentence than the one which ended the very first paragraph of the rebuke, well before he troubled to engage himself with the serious charge being levelled. “His statement that I attended ‘a Lake Geneva finishing school’,” blustered the home secretary, “is truly bizarre.

Then, as Nosemonkey points out, Clarke does seem a trifle inconsistent here, engaging in infighting a week after he warned against it, having two months previously been going hammer and tongs and his successor in the Home Office.

Meanwhile, though, The First Post may have spotted a glitch with Mr Blair’s timetable that we’ve neglected:

Imagine a bad opinion poll just before the Labour
Party conference, say, putting Tory leader David Cameron even further
ahead of Blair. How will jittery Labour MPs in the marginals take that?

But is everyone missing something? Even more of a danger is a date in the PM’s diary that those in his inner circle know and dread. It’s with the police. And it’s about cash for peerages.

The likelihood is that Scotland Yard will come calling – with impeccable timing – just before party conference opens on September 24.


‘You know, there are important things going on in the world…’

Filed under: Afghanistan, Blair, Boris, hubris, Iran, Legacy, nemesis, Politics, UK — notsaussure @ 12:16 am

From that statement

“…You know, there are important things going on in the world.

“And I think I speak for all my cabinet colleagues when I say that we would prefer to get on with those things because those are the things that really matter and really matter to the country.”

Such as, perhaps

Six bomb attacks in Baghdad killed at least 17 people and wounded more than 50 today, hours before a highly anticipated ceremony in which the US-led coalition was to hand over control of the country’s armed forces command to Iraqi authorities.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Violence rocks Baghdad on day of power transfer

and in Afghanistan

The alliance’s top commander, Gen James Jones, said Nato had been taken aback by the scale of violence in the region [Southern Afghanistan].

But he predicted that the coming weeks would be decisive in the fight against the insurgents.

Commanders on the ground had asked for several hundred additional troops and more helicopters and airlift, he said.

The greatest English Conservative is not impressed:

Here we are, with British soldiers being killed almost daily in Iraq and Afghanistan on missions that are growing in scale and horror. We have rises in gun crime, rises in unemployment, rises in interest rates — and these flaming lunatics in Downing Street seriously expect the nation to line the streets with bunting and shower Tony with confetti as he goes on a six-month lap of honour, a “farewell tour” in which he accepts the praises of a smiling people..

On which subject, The First Post has been playing with PhotoShopto make some suggestions for ‘the most striking buildings of his 10-year-rule’ that The People’s Tone might visit on his fairwell tour; The Millennium Dome (‘Symbol of New Labour’s vaulting ambition. The development was £7.1bn over budget and has been empty since 2000’ — though not much longer when Mr Prescott’s confident friends get their way, of course) is an obvious one, but the others are equally fun, too. (Hat tip Guido Fawkes esq)

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