Tuesday, July 17, 2007

About that big tent...

So, Gordon Brown displayed his brilliance in wrong-footing the Conservatives when he picked a 'ministry of all the talents' did he? Lets have a quick recap three weeks on. Sir Mark Malloch-Brown has, as predicted, made a big tit of himself for calling for a radical re-positioning of the Labour Party vis-a-vis the United States. This has necessitated some rapid fire-fighting from both David Milliband the Foreign Secretary and Brown himself. The appointment of Malloch Brown was presumably meant as a dog-whistle to the anti-Americans in the Labour Party - look we've got a UN chap onside who really hates the US Government. Unfortunately, the British reception to his appointment has been rather coloured by the fact that no-one has the faintest idea of who he is, while the dog whistle has been heard all too clearly in Washington.
The other great success was the appointment of Sir Digby Jones as a Minister of state for trade promotion and investment. Very broad church this: Jones has been anything but a cheerleader for Brown. I'm not convinced, however, that Brown intended it to be quite as broad church as this.
Asked by Labour's Lindsay Hoyle to "join the club, be a team member and pay your dues like the rest of us", the minister came up with his unusual, possibly unique answer.
"I have chosen to take a particular route and my party politics is my affair."

Challenged over alleged comments he had previously made, stating he had voted Conservative, voted Liberal but would never vote Labour, he challenged the MP to provide the evidence.

"When did I say I never voted Labour.? How I voted in all my elections since I was 18 years old is actually a matter for me and no one else but I think all of you here would be absolutely surprised how I voted. But I would suggest that remains what I always thought was democracy in this country, which is secret."
Is Jones the first minister not only not to be a member of the Governmental party, but also never to have voted for it either?

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