Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Paul Boateng to stand down as MP. It can't be nice being a junior minister. They always seem to end up fagging for their Ministers. The senior minister lets themselves be wrapped up in whatever the media and common consensus decide is the crisis of the day, draft some wholly useless proposals to deal with it and then the junior minister has to justify it in interviews. Hazel Blears at the moment has to go on Newsnight to defend the indefensible in front of Jeremy Paxman or, and she must spend several hours a day praying for it, Gavin Estler. Last Friday, the Lords wanted a sunset clause on the Terrorism Lesgislation, eventually the Bill got passed when the Government put in a clause for new legislation to be decided next year and she was forced to argue with Paxman about how this wasn't the sunset clause and in fact the Government had got everything it's own way. This sort of a thing is an argument for why politicians should work in secret, it's like with the Home Office, take a fairly normal conservative Labour MP, tell them they're the Home Secretary and, faster than you can say "Begone, begone, oh form of man, and rise the demon Etrigan!" they're proposing forced work camps for immigrants and the tagging of gypsies.

And this is all a huge roundabout way of saying that a few years ago Boateng was one of those poor sods that regularly had to go on telly and defend the indefensible, I wonder whether the fact he's been very quiet for the last three years means he was never very good at it. He did always give the impression that a good dose of salt sprinkled over him would cause him to shrivel up and die.


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