Thursday, June 21, 2007

Northern Ireland Secretary offer to Ashdown - Only a cretin would take this seriously

He's having a laugh.

Ricky Gervais' catchphrase has its day at last.

The biggest laugh was when Nick Robinson, on Today, revealed the job which Brown offered Ashdown yesterday. Northern Ireland Secretary.

Northern Ireland Secretary? Don't make me laugh. That is a non-job. With devolved government, it involves little more than arranging the nameplates for an occasional light discussion with Paisley and McGuinness.

The other offers? These were members of the House of Lords, such as Baroness Neuberger and Lord Lester, to have junior jobs in the government. Entertaining Archie was the point man for discussions on this, apparently.

So, the LibDems would be seen as co-responsible for the Brown government's actions without the slightest bit of power to change them, aside from tortuous wrangles and, ultimately, resignations, I have no doubt.

This has all been a publicity stunt. Brown will not change his spots and start acting liberally. He knows what he needs to do to run a properly inclusive government: the odd policy change would be good. He could read Ming's conference speech from last Autumn and act on that. He could start with stopping the talk of extending the 14 days imprisonment without charge provision to 90 days.

Only someone with the political nous of a cretin would see these Brown offers as evidence of a "more inclusive government".


  1. Cretin. Great word. I think there are two point here (1) we used not to be big enough to worry either Labour or Conservatives. Now we are large enough to stand a greater chance of holding the balance of power in Westminster and well-organised enough to take seats where previously we wouldn't have an earthly. Even if we don't win seats our share of the vote can stop gains being made by either party. Hence the sudden unflattering and clumsy attention from both parties: Cameron sending his bagman to try to get David Laws, and Brown offering our elder statespeople jobs. Why would Paddy want to run what is basically a large and fractious council? Second, I think Brown's mania for control is underestimated. He can't control the Tories, but that was a clumsy attempt to gain influence over us.

  2. Good points Peter. Thanks.

  3. Cretin!
    I'm surprised Ashdown didn't bite his hand off.