Monday, July 10, 2006


This Prezza Problem is now Urgent

What to do with John Prescott is now an unrgent problem which ideally must be solved in the next few weeks. Simon Jenkins in the Sunday Times yesterday dismisses the political role Prescott has played as the proletarian fig leaf saving the rightward leaning immodesty of New Labour. That was a historical role; for him the key factor is the DPM's proven incompetence. He points out that before coming to power Blair did not welcome the former ship's steward into his inner circle but kept him at arm's length as a useful jester figure about whose lovability they could joke (e.g. 'John is John' Alastair Campbell smiles with mock exasperation in one documentary). Once in office Prescott was rewarded with a huge department covering most aspects of the nation's environment. And he could not cope. Brave words about transport, among other things, came to nought and bit by bit his portfolio was dismantled. This seems to have become the model of his ministerial career with the last bout of dismantling robbing the Hull MP of any residual departmental responsibilities.

Given all the failures in office plus the humiliations over his affair-not to mention speculation about several others- and now these allegations over favours in exchange for helping the billionaire US casino boss to turn the Millennium Dome into a temple to gambling, the man has no shred of credibility or authority left. Jackie Ashley pleads for him to go in today's article and for an open contest to be allowed for the Deputy Leadership of the party in an attempt to encourage the green shots of renewal in the party.

What is absolutely crystal clear is that there is no way Tony Blair should allow John Prescott to stand in for him in charge of the country while on holiday during August. He should remember that shit happens in holiday months too and that he is unlikely to be able to relax while wondering what daily disasters might have happened while his lugubrious deputy is in charge.

Saying that Precott "could not cope" with his large department is a little harsh. Alain de Botton said on Question Time recently that Prescott was "very popular" among planners. This isn't completely true - however, under Prescott, more money and scope has been given to local planners, as well as directives which helped to reconcile the apparently competing interests of a better environment (ie by preserving the green belt) and more houses to meet the supply problem and temper the housing boom. While some of these directives have manifested in too much regulation, I think it's fair to say that, as far as planning is concerned, things have improved since 1997.
Keeping things nice and simple (in terms that a layman could understand)

the man is a joke, and in particularly poor taste too.

I shudder at the thought of him being in control while the PM is away. The press will be warming their hands and sharpening their pens, if Prescott had an ounce of integrity left he should use it to write a resignation letter this weekend!
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