Saturday, October 22, 2005

 

Can Blunkett Survive?

I saw the drama on Blunkett on Thursday- 'A Very Social Secretary'- and have just read the Economist's speculation that such a degree of ridicule makes it hard for him to continue as a minister, especially one seeking to do such major things as reform pensions and Invalidity Benefit. I'm not sure the journal's arguments are valid however. The drama, for me only increased my sympathy for the guy. His rise to prominence from the most inauspicious of beginnings-impverished working class and blind; his loneliness since his divorce combined with his dedication to his ministerial work; and his apalling luck and judgement to imagine Kimberley Quinn actually loved him, make his plight exceptionally poingnant.

I thought he came out of the drama stronger in a way: one could understand his desperation to believe she loved him and wanted a new life with him plus a family. I sincerely hope he can survive the ridicule and continue doing his job. It's true he has a track record of achievement and also a direct line to working class supporters of Labour.

Maybe the Economist was correct though in suggesting Blair should not have brought him back so quickly; the fuss had not died down and the idea of making fun of his blindness, apalling as it is, has not been seen to be right out of order. Mandelson too. was brought back after only 10 months and that made him vulnrable to another set of accusations- even though the second lot were not justified. Blair seems always to misjudge timing. Wilson once famously said 'Most of politics is presentation, and what isn't is timing'. Blair has maybe got the former cracked but is strangely fallible on the latter.

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