Death and decay
Deep in the dog-days of John Major’s Government, after some new and humiliating climb-down, a minister was overheard saying ‘My God, now they’re stabbing him in the front!’ The news that Gordon Brown managed to corner Barack Obama in a kitchen for a couple of minutes (and how did that conversation go? ‘Oh, er, hi…’) is just embarrassing. To be honest, the hanging-around-the-cool-kid shtick got a bit old a while ago. For the Prime Minister to be ‘frantic’ to get a little face time is just unworthy. As has been said before, the smell of death clings to this Administration.
The news that Shriti Vadera might be about to be leaving the Government does nothing to detract from this impression. Although she isn’t exactly a household name (she did make a few waves by asserting that she could see ‘green shoots’), she’s been one of Brown’s closest and most loyal allies. Shriti the shriek has travelled from a key Treasury aide to a Government minister and, although I suspect that her departure will be greeted with cheers from the civil service, it’s a particularly damaging loss to Brown – not least because there’ll have to be at least a mini reshuffle, and where on earth is he going to find any ministers? The choice of Bob Ainsworth revealed that the barrel has been scraped back to bare boards already.