The Sketch: Blair has delivered much - too much for Tory tastes

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Everyone seems to have been demoted. Geoff Hoon is now Leader of the House. He used to send troops out into the world to fight for freedom. Now his job is to find a dozen different ways a week of saying "Oh, really?" and "No". We all end up with what we deserve in life. That is a thought so large and so awful that we better skip brightly past it.

Everyone seems to have been demoted. Geoff Hoon is now Leader of the House. He used to send troops out into the world to fight for freedom. Now his job is to find a dozen different ways a week of saying "Oh, really?" and "No". We all end up with what we deserve in life. That is a thought so large and so awful that we better skip brightly past it.

Mr Hoon gave the House one piece of news that attracted the widest, the deepest, the most covert consensus in the political class: parliament is to rise a week early and isn't coming back until October. "Nothing does so much to discredit us with our constituents as our taking an 80-day summer recess," said Chris Mullin. Suggestions as to what discredits MPs other than three-month summer holidays may be sent on the largest postcard in the world to Mr Mullin at the House of Commons, SW1A 0AA

The Queen's Speech debates continued with the Department of Trade and Industry. In the last parliament, David Willetts confronted Alan Johnson over pensions. They've been symmetrically demoted to their new vis-à-vis in the DTI. Incidentally, the former home secretary David Blunkett has been demoted to Alan Johnson's old job. None of them look as depressed as they should be. I blame myself.

Mr Willetts made a point that more properly belongs in a sketch, but I'll repeat it. He observed that the only woman in the ministerial team had been appointed after all the paid positions were taken and was working for nothing. The department in charge of equal pay for women couldn't even achieve equal pay in its own top team. "That says it all," Mr Willetts charged. "Grandiose commitments and a complete failure to deliver."

But it's not true, though, is it? The Government has delivered much - far too much for the Tories' taste. Holidays and maternity rights and the minimum wage. The Tories hate all that sort of thing but they can't say so in public. They still haven't worked out the values that make Tories proud of being Tories. Mr Willetts concluded by saying he was against regulation; but the Government is against regulation in the same way. Mr Willetts says he wants a flexible and competitive economy; but I never hear Gordon Brown say anything else. Mr Willetts is one of his party's modernisers so he thinks we should be paying a little more tax. What's the point of them? We can have all that with the current lot.

Tories are stuck in pre-post-Thatcherism. Tony Blair's post-Thatcherite government is always one step ahead of them. We are looking for post-post-Thatcherism in the Conservative Party. They have at least another decade of opposition, gnawing away on their shin bones. We all get what we deserve in life, if we live long enough.

simoncarr75@hotmail.com

Comments