Monday, March 30, 2009
Smith should not Resign over the Porn Films but....
Now we learn of the blue movies watched by her husband.I have nothing against anyone watching such material as I cannot see what harm it does anyone outside the tiny religious few who would prescribe our sexual and viewing habits. The fatal flaw is that it makes her husband look sleazy and his wife extremely embarrassed by association. I feel truly sorry for her as the red-top hyenas tear at her reputation and authority; she is quite innocent of any blame and her husband has stepped up to apologise anyway.
The Guardian today does not call for her resignation but it does cast doubts on her suitability for her post. It defines the 'really urgent story' to be:
about a low-grade minister in a high-grade job
It's always hard for us on the outside to judge how good ministers are: some clearly have force and competence while others just seem to be good at acting competent while we have to await civil servants' memoirs to find the real story. As far as I can discern Jacqui Smith is not very effective as a communicator; that's not the whole job obviously but it's the most important one. I don't think she should resign over trhe porn films; the housing question might prove to be another matter. Nor would I be surprised if Gordon quietly reshuffles her to the back benches in the summer.
As The Guardian says, she has become a 'liability'. What emerges more graphically for me though, than anything else from this sad episode is how urgently parlaimentrary esxpenses need to be reviewed and brought in line with most other custom and practice in the public and private sectors.
I have posted about this myself here.
And I'm afraid there's only one way of interpreting the evidence.
The current climate reminds me very much of the last days of the Thatcher regime - when the Tories went down in a tide of slime, sleaze, and corruption.
The same thing is happening again - but many/most of the present government seem oblivious to the fact.
I think Nick Robinson carried a good post on this, though, when he looked at the yawning gap between the public and political perceptions of Smith and others.
"Working mum, devoted husband, nice sons, job in jeopardy". Tough. Due to Labour's incompetence there are millions of people in this position with tougher lives than her's.
MP's are not paid a huge amount, but it is liveable wage. She has milked it for 12 years, really cheating the spirit of the rules by claiming for a home that just isn't her's and employing her husband at relatively huge expense(for a secretary).
She looks damaged beyond repair. Her presence in the Government is now an open goal for the Tories.
Being incompetent is one thing. But this will finish her for good. I will laugh as she loses her seat next year.
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