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Anorak | A Mute Point

A Mute Point

by | 23rd, December 2003

‘AFTER three years in charge of the fractious bunch of misfits, miscreants and Miss Whiplashes that these days constitute the Tory Party, the volume was finally turned right down on The Quiet Man this year.

We apologise for the loss of sound…

But uncharacteristically Iain Duncan Smith left with more of a bang than a whimper, threatening variously to shoot the Prime Minister, to “fix” the people plotting to depose him and to write another novel as he simultaneously lost his job and his sanity.

Eventually, the required 25 Tory MPs (being no less than 100% of the Parliamentary party) felt sorry enough for their lame duck leader to write the necessary letters to have him put out of his misery.

And so IDS returned to obscurity, where in fact he had spent all but the last two weeks of the previous couple of years, and the Tory Party unveiled yet another new leader as the face of a modern, dynamic and relevant political force.

And who could be more modern, dynamic and relevant than 62-year-old Michael Howard, architect of the poll tax, a former Home Secretary memorably described by Ann Widdecombe as having “something of the night” about him and a man incapable of answering the question, “Did you threaten to overrule him?”

”We are all crew on what, at its best, is the most superb campaigning vessel politics has ever known,” Howard told his colleagues in the immediate aftermath of his unopposed election as leader.

Unfortunately, having repeatedly been holed below the waterline, the vessel has started very much to resemble a barbed wire canoe and the Tories’ predicament a certain malodorous creek.

Still, it’s nothing that a new paddle can’t sort out.

No year can go by without mention of the Liberal Democrats and so, having dome our annual duty, we move onto the third major opposition party – Old Labour.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has now seen off three leaders of the Opposition, which is more than Thatcher managed during her eight decades in power, but he has been having a bit more trouble seeing off his Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The Tories having provided such inept opposition over the past six years, the Labour Party has decided to show them what they’re doing wrong with Blair facing opposition from his next-door neighbour in Downing Street as well as from a growing number of back-benchers.

However, it is not just the body politic that ails Blair, but his own ailing body. While Gordon Brown was siring children and (to our collective horror) smiling, Blair was having all manner of heart attacks, stomach aches and empathy pains.

What the final result of the Hutton Inquiry will do to our now-too-mortal leader, Heaven (and its branch office at No.10) only knows.

The inquiry was set up specifically to look into the circumstances leading up to the death of an MoD scientist Dr David Kelly, who apparently killed himself after his name was leaked to the Press as the source of a BBC story into the Government’s claim that Saddam Hussein and his many doubles were personally on their way over to Britain to murder us all in our sleep.

Although neither the BBC nor, if truth be told, Dr Kelly has emerged from the inquiry with much credit, it is the Government that is likely to suffer most from the outcome, especially if Blair can be shown to have lied about his role in the naming of Dr Kelly.

Howard, Brown, Hutton, the Grim Reaper… The sharks are gathering.’



Posted: 23rd, December 2003 | In: Broadsheets Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink