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

Business Focused Business Analyst - Finance and Procurement System Implementation

£350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Reading are...

Head of Business Development and Analytics - TV

competitive benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Outstanding analytic expertise is req...

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM - A high q...

Head of ad sales international - Broadcast

competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Are you the king or Queen o...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Tory whips have warned the Prime Minister that he could face a Tory revolt over the European arrest warrant  

A bizarre front for the Tories’ campaign against Europe

Nigel Morris
 

Daily catch-up: EU news, and other reasons to be cheerful

John Rentoul
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker