Saturday, January 26, 2008

Permatanned one goes

Gordon Brown doesn't come out of the Hain fiasco very well. If he thought Hain "incompetent" he should have sacked him. If he wanted to keep him, he should not have branded him "incompetent". As for Hain, what a stupid way to lose a Cabinet post; blowing a pretty huge bundle of cash trying to get a non-job and failing spectacularly. Two points: interesting to see the role John Underwood played in the so-called Think Tank which was plainly a front for pushing cash in Hain's direction. I assume this is the same Underwood who, in a previous incarnation, was "The Hammer of the Trots"? Odd how things turn out. Will Inspector Plod be inquiring into whether what Underwood did was strictly legal? Second, there seems to be some sympathy for Hain: centre-left, victim of Labour tribalism (because of his past as a Young Liberal), a competent Minister. But Hain played a pretty murky role in trying to stop Rhodri Morgan becoming Welsh Labour Leader (It was Hain who ran Alun Michael's 1999 campaign to become Welsh Labour Leader. Michael won courtesy of the block vote. Did someone say New Labour? And of course Michael was Blair's poodle. Yes, the poodle had a poodle of his own). And Hain's role in Merthyr Tydfil at the last election was not especially honourable. He is no stranger to machine-politics. This limits my sympathy somewhat.

Andrew Marr last Sunday was quite good on the think tank that did no thinking. Given the influence of think tanks on British politics, he mused, perhaps that was no bad thing.


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