I’ve spent various breaks in the working day catching up with the blogs and political news of the last week. it’s enough to turn you into Michael Winner, grabbing hold of discombulated passers-by and telling them to calm down.
So, as a sort of mid-Summer clarifier, here are my responses to some of the bigger news stories of the last week or so.
1. Peter Mandelson for PM? Not. going. to. happen. Please shut up about it. Though you know, I can always do with one more profile piece. There’s only been five hundred and twenty seven so far this summer.
2. Harriet Harman. Ah, the crunching sound of a Labour politician proudly walking straight into the jaws of a Daily Mail hate-a-thon. I haven’t heard that since the eighties, when we were all well meaning and right on and and lost elections and Harriet Harman was the face of the…. Oh. Right.
3. Tory 20% VAT. Apparently, although someone briefed aout this stroy about tax increases, the Conservatives haven’t had any serious discussions about their future tax plans. Which is odd, because I thought they were simultaenously a) ready for government, b) opposed to the role of shadowy spin doctors in forming policy and c) committed to a return to Cabinet Government.
Sometimes I think Tory high command is just taking the mickey. I can imagine the meetings. “Right Andy, you brief out that we’re going to do something really unpopular on tax to show how hard we are, George, you handle the fall out from the nodding dogs in shadow caabinet, while William, you kinda-sorta deny it so as to leave me a bit of wriggle room with the lefties. After that, I’ll stand up and make a speech about the importance of honesty and straghtforwardness in Politics. Right, let’s go.”
4. Online Medical records. Putting patients medical records online with Microsoft and Google is a great idea. Afer all, no-one has ever exposed a security flaw in a Microsoft software product, have they?
5. Gordon Brown’s sprouts. Shocking. The Prime Minister’s endorsement of the humble Brussels Sprout is a flagrant breach of Rule number 233 in the political lexicon. This states than all elected politicians must avoid stating any endorsement of or distaste for vegetables. Any breach of the rule results in national mockery. Previous rule breakers include Bush, G H W (Broccoli – dislike of), Major, J (Peas – love for), Mandelson, P (Peas, mushy – alleged confusion over), Quayle, D (Potatoe, mispelling of).
Frankly, I don’t know what Number Ten was thinking about on this one. So let me set this out – when I am appointed “Head of Strategy, Communication and going to meetings and looking important” by the next leader of the Labour party, I will never let my principal express any views on legumes, tubers or bulbs. To adapt Alistair Campbell, the iron rule will be “We don’t do veg.”