Friday, August 04, 2006

Who's running Britain: the annual non-story

Okay, so it's a great story, all the more so at a time of year when good political stories are in very short supply. Fat old working-class fool who can't speak the language properly and mispronounces the names of foreign leaders is left to run the country for a fortnight, opening up the prospect of a whole series of disasters along the way.

Or, at least, it would be a great story, if there was any truth in it. Because the truth is that, whether he is a fat old fool or not, John Prescott has never actually been left in charge of anything in Tony Blair's absense.

There seems to be an assumption on the part of the people writing this stuff that Mr Blair somehow ceases to be Prime Minister when he is on holiday. That might have been the case had we still been living in the era of carrier-pigeons, or when ocean liners were the only form of foreign travel, but not in an era of modern communications and transport.

Doutbless it won't stop the stories being written though, even if Mr Blair's decision to postpone his holiday means they have to be shelved for a few days.

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5 comments:

Ellee Seymour said...

So how many times a day does Tone call Prezza?

tEdDi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Woffle said...

I dunno... yeah, when he's on holiday the wonder of modern technology means he can keep in touch. And if bird flu breaks out, he'll be in charge.

But for anything less than World War Three, Prescott's in charge. Otherwise, Blair would spend all day on the telephone. And if he's going to do that, why go on holiday in the first place.

Am starting to sound a bit like Cherie now, methinks...

my own voice said...

You asked 'whether a fat old fool or not.' The answer is that he is!

RedEye said...

The worst thing from the Labour Party's point of view is that it reinforces the (mistaken) impression that, if anything happened to Blair, Prescott would automatically take over. Were, in fact, Blair to fall under the proverbial bus, the Cabinet would elect 'one of its number' until a successor could be elected by the party conference.

I dislike the way Prescott is patronised for his verbal dyslexia, but he's no good at running anything. It's also worth asking the question as to why Alan Johnson's working-class background isn't held against him. Why? Because, unlike Prescott, he doesn't give the impression of being bitter, having a chip on his shoulder, or wanting to take things off people instead of making things better for people. Prescott, by contrast, is notoriously irascible, having called the fairly mild-mannered John MacGregor a 'sh***y little b*st*rd'. The rumble in Rhyl was self-defence, but, when the ODPM was still in existence, being a junior minister there was (reputedly) one of the worst jobs in government, thanks to Prescott's mood swings.