Simon Carr: It really does take Balls to do the right thing

Sketch: Imagine what the world would be like if they'd chosen the wrong things!
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The Independent Online

Ed Balls took us into his confidence. "I did the right thing," he said. He repeated it more than once. It was the right thing he had done, and he would do the right thing again, whatever the cost to himself. It was his morals, I think, and integrity. Decency too, he left that out but its hard to think decency wasn't involved.

I'm deducing this, so it may be wrong, but when he is confronted with a choice between the right thing and the wrong thing, Ed Balls chooses the right thing. The Prime Minister's like that too. Imagine what the world would be like if they'd chosen the wrong things!

In this instance the right thing required him to ignore his select committee and to confirm his preferred candidate for Children's Commissioner. You probably know the post as Children's Champion.

It must have been a tough decisions because he had had to rise above politics to do it. He'd put the national interest first which you can only do when politics has been drained away. If only others were able to do that for the world.

Yes and also, he would not let a woman be impugned. Not that she was a woman, she was a highly-qualified professional. So the national interest demanded the right thing be done. Which was not impugning his candidate.

Was it her strength, her fearlessness, or the ferocity of her independence he most admired? It was impossible to choose.

Michael Gove suggested the committee had a point in that the woman was a Labour supporter by temperament who'd only ever been appointed by Labour councils and never once been in the lead of any critique of government policy.

The minister told us that he'd been right, she was right, and the Nolan process was right. All right?

Barry Sheerman, the chair of the committee who had caused this row, rose to say that she hadn't impressed his committee's "pre-appointment hearing" but that the minister had ignored their rejection so what was the point of a pre-appointment hearing at all?

What we think is that Barry Sheerman is picking a fight with Ed Balls as a proxy for a fight with the PM so he can gauge support for standing as chairman of the parliamentary committee which is a proxy for a stalking horse which would be a proxy for the leadership.

So is it a challenge or not? This proxy of a proxy of a proxy? The question is so rarefied as to be a French subjunctive. It exists only as a mood in which something may or may not be the case. Our political system is collapsing like a mineshaft and the party's response to the leadership crisis is a triple-proxy subjunctive.

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