Leading article: Nostalgia for croquet in the afternoon

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The Independent Online

Nice to hear from John – sorry, Lord – Prescott again, even if it is with a disappointing denial that he had anything to do with a rather expensive contract for his former department, stipulating "indoor plant landscaping", "silver service" and the maintenance of "healthy and vigorous plants with a weed-free appearance". We are happy to accept his insistence that he had better things to do than oversee his indoor landscaping, preferring to leave it to his civil servants. But there's nothing at all to be ashamed of. Such standards are surely no more than we all aspire to, even if we lack the means to attain them. Should not "weed-free" be a statutory national requirement, anywhere and everywhere?

As for Prezza, we knew he was partial to a bit of outdoor landscaping, what with his afternoons of croquet on the lawn at Dorneywood and all that. And what is good for outdoors has to be good for indoors, too. So give the man a break. But this little insight has jogged our memory. Plain John Prescott, as he then was, was a characterful adornment to government. Who else would have punched a protester and got away with it? The Coalition in this respect is sadly lacking. It almost goes without saying, but every prime minister needs a Prezza.