Simon Carr:

The Sketch: Millions on spin won't save Harman from a kebabbing

Share
Related Topics

The fragrant figure of Hatbox Harman floated in at the end of Defence Questions. She must have been looking for inspiration. What her defence is going to be no one yet knows. The 40,000 that was undeclared in her campaign for the deputy leadership of her party is, on the face of it, indefensible. For a week now she's been slowly turning on her personal spit, and it looks very much like she will end up as the first Donor Kebab.

And how will her husband, the Treasurer of the Labour Party, plead funding ignorance for the third time in a row? "I am simply too stupid to realise what was happening!" Would that work? It has the merit of being credible. But I'm a rotten spin doctor.

And that's a shame as there are rich pickings in that growth industry. We learnt that 338m is now spent on press officers in the Civil Service. Andrew Selous told us that 2.3bn was spent by the Government on "outside consultants". Hard choices, you see, isn't that what politics is about?

But when Des Browne chides the Tories for demanding three new army battalions costing 700m you might wonder which group of people represents greater value for the British state. Oh, the press officers, of course. But for the nation? Obviously the opposite.

Des took a bit of flak for being a part-time Defence Secretary (he does Scotland as well, in the evenings). Tom Levitt sprang to his defence, saying we should all thank him for doing two jobs for the price of one. I used to take cheap wine to dinner parties saying, "It's not very nice but there's an awful lot of it!" (I told you I hadn't the talent for spin). And who exactly pays for Des the Defence? Julian Lewis has been working away at this question, in the dark (his natural habitat). Getting no answer on the floor of the House, he discovered from the Cabinet Office via the House of Commons Library that his ministerial salary is paid by the MoD and none of it comes from the Scottish Office. Well done, Julian Lewis. If he looked a bit different he'd have a big future. Given the right voice coach. And a I won't go on.

So if our brave boys are paying for a Scottish minister, why can't the Scottish Office return the favour and buy a few helicopters? They'd be quite helpful in Afghanistan. But I mustn't give encouragement to the enemy. Des told the House that every word in Parliament was scrutinised by the Taliban (they must be the only people in the world listening to James Plaskett on the Child Maintenance And Other Payments Bill).

He told us that questions about not having enough helicopters would "undermine" "troop protection". The Tories are therefore guiltier than Philby and carry the blood of British soldiers on their hands.

That's what party politics is about, at least.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Senior SAP MM Consultant, £50,000 - £60,000, Birmingham

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP MM C...

SAP BW BO

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BW BO - 6 MONTHS - LONDON London (Gr...

HSE Manger - Solar

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: HSE Mana...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Tulisa Contostavlos arrives to face drug charges at Southwark Crown Court on July 14, 2014  

Tulisa might have been attacked for being working class, but she still has to take some responsibility

Chloe Hamilton
Is Ed Miliband a natural born leader? Or could he become one?  

Wanted: a leader with the strength to withstand criticism from the media

Steve Richards
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried