Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The souls of the unquiet dead

Dead, but not gone. That was how ghosts, zombies and various other creatures of superstition and indigestion have been described. It's a pretty fair description of the current government as well. And yet, tomorrow, and next Wednesday, and the one after that, and the one after that, David Cameron and Tony Blair will face each other over the Despatch Box and engage in a PMQs of such utter and complete pointlessness that the job of batting coach to the West Indies would be a comparative joy. Why? What possible redeeming feature can there be? If I were in Cameron's position, this would be my first question:
Is there now anything that a Minister can do that would enforce either their resignation or make the Prime Minister dismiss them? In the last few weeks we have seen a Health Secretary make so comprehensive a mess of the MTAS application system that she has finally forfeited the medical profession's trust in the Government. A Home Secretary destroy, by press release and briefing, a department of state that goes back for two hundred years and then promptly disavow any intention of staying with his newly disemboweled part. A ministerial team having to announce a humiliating climb down over Home Information Packs, all the while squabbling over which of them is really to blame. What on earth does a minister have to do these days to be dismissed?
I would then leave the chamber and take no further part in PMQs at all until this absurd fandango has finished and Brown has finally succeeded to the throne. If you have to have an Opposition member to lead PMQs during this time, make it the most junior member possible. There is absolutely no point in dignifying this ludicrous farce.

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