Thursday, May 04, 2006


Of Blair and Reshuffles

I see the Guardian today predicts losses of 400 but places the bar higher than I did in my last post, at 550 for the 'disaster scenario'. Fact is, we're just guessing. But it looks bad. I doubt even the reshuffle will do much to lighten the Stygian gloom either. Defenders of Clarke have asked why make such a fuss? these guys had paid their dues, done their time, so, like any released convict, should be encouraged to play a construcive role in society.

There is something in that line of argument but not much. The problem with foreign criminals is that they are foreign and touch on a range of highly sensitive issues including the racism which is inherent in our country as it is in most others. Moreover, I would argue that we have enough criminals of our own without importing any more. It follows that if we have good reason to think someone seeking entry to UK is likely to commit crimes, we have the right to deny them entry.

But it strikes me, on the reshuffle, Clarke cannot really be sacked now; by standing by him Blair has to keep him or look foolish for investing his support. Hewitt, who has benefitted from the shelter created by the gaffes of her Cabinet colleagues, might well be moved and Kelly too. But the big imponderable is Prescott. It seems to me his political career is now over. His authority- always a delicate thing for such an indelicate man- is shot to bits. His record- failed at Tranport, not really done much since at his new portmanteau department- is unexpcetional to poor.

He is personna non grata with Labour activists who have experienced voter disgust with him on the doorstep; he is non grata with Labour's feminati and if he ever stands up in the house again, the noise will drown out what he might try to be saying. I suspect the reason why he has been keeping such a low profile is that he is planning to resign, possibly in advance of the reshuffle.

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