Friday, July 7, 2006

Prescott's nemesis: Affairs or cowboys?

The Sun today highlights John Prescott's unbelievable Today answer about his ranch stay:

“I was in America and he (Anschutz) said ‘would you like to see my cattle ranch?’ I was curious about it. I saw the cowboy films over my young years, I was interested to have a look at it.”

I discussed this yesterday.

"Son of a dumb" is The Sun headline with a "Is that a gun in his pocket?" thought bubble added to a photo. Normal Sun stuff.

It reminds me of that old adage that when people start laughing at you, you really have had it. Unless you are a professional comedian, that is.

Michael Iliff interestingly explores the various Western movie permutations relevant to Prezza's predicament. The BBC have done an interesting piece on the cowboy tourism angle.

When I listened to the interview I did think the "cowboy films" reference was incredibly misguided. I think he was trying to inject some humour into his smokescreen.

It is interesting that The Sun has latched onto it. The more 'highbrow' commentators had focussed on his refusal to answer the question about affairs and various ramifications of his Anshutz connection. However, I think the "cowboy films" reference was more damaging for Prescott and I am glad that The Sun has thrown its weight behind this element of the Prescott furore.

It seems the taxpayer did pay for Prescott's stay at the ranch, although the money was given to a charity or something (I must admit to losing the plot a bit as this particular strand grew more complex in the interview).

If the taxpayer had to foot the bill for every "cowboy films" fan in this country to visit ranches, one imagines the bill would be for several billion pounds. It is very difficult to identify why the taxpayer should indulge the Deputy Prime Minister's love of cowboy films.

It was a colossally stupid thing to say. Prescott has given birth to a glaring emblem of a government which has been too long at the trough.

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