Simon Carr: The Sketch

Does John Reid really think he looks like George Clooney?
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The Independent Online

Pointing his blazing skull at the House, Dr Demento began his rambling, O-level Terror speech. He took six, single-spaced sides of A4 to tell us what we'd read in Sunday's papers.

It was the single most fatuous ministerial statement since the 17th century. "Evil terrorists have the wanton wish to destroy humankind on the largest possible scale," he said.

And did armed psychiatrists then storm the chamber with 12-inch hypodermics full of powerful sedatives? Or was it just a beautiful dream?

By the way, why does he wobble his head like that? Does he think it makes him look like George Clooney? He chucks and flinches and bobs his shoulder and kicks his elbow out in a series of tics. On a good day, he looks like Mr McKay from Porridge. On a bad day, he looks like a Thunderbirds puppet with a drunken operator. Yesterday he sounded like it too.

He gave us a string of attitudes and platitudes of such vulgarity, naivety and demented stupidity that it made me feel quite young again. There are now five threat levels replacing the seven threat levels we used to have. I can't tell you what threat levels we've done away with. Maybe the one after "Critical" (an attack is expected immediately). That would be "Attack actually in progress, so everyone duck". The "Critical" phase will be familiar to those of us listening to the PM around the time of the dodgy dossier. The only attack that was imminent was the one we unleashed on Iraq.

But now these levels of alertness are going to be published widely so that we will know what to wear to work. We do our teeth, have a shower, check the MI5 website, see a terrorist attack is expected immediately, choose our lead-lined knickers and armoured shoulder pads.

Tories politely pointed out the cretinous stupidity of all this by asking what the public were supposed to do when the threat level went up, and by observing that two days before 7 July the threat level was downgraded.

"I stress two things," Dr Demento said. "This is all complete bollocks." No he didn't, I'd nodded off.

David Davis mentioned that a report on our counter-terrorism arrangements had been written by the PM's own Delivery Unit. There was no delivery. It was all over the place. No co-ordination, no leadership. "Immature, disjointed and unrelated to the real world". It is all drivel. According to the PM's office.

John Denham asked which minister is going to deliver this, the counter-terrorism strategy. Dr Demento's circuits fizzed. He gave one of those hermetic parliamentary answers involving a 12-word job title. I couldn't believe what he'd meant: "Ruth Kelly."

The failed education minister now responsible for local government is the single creature standing between us and mass extinction? Call in more medics. Demented Home Secretary loose in Westminster.