Anorak

Anorak | Short Circuit

Short Circuit

by | 1st, March 2004

‘TONY Blair eats babies, boils live kittens and makes his children listen to the Ugly Rumours’ Greatest Hits double album before they go to bed every night.

The Right Horrible Clare Short

And those are just the mildest of the claims made recently by former International Development Secretary and Toy Thrower Clare Short.

In an interview with Jonathan Dimbleby yesterday, Ms Short went as far as accusing the Government of trying to gag her – or more specifically reminding her of the oath she swore when she joined the Cabinet and was made a Privy Councillor.

Brandishing a piece of paper in the manner of Neville Chamberlain, she said: ‘I’ve had a letter from the Secretary of the Cabinet…saying I mustn’t give any interviews and otherwise he reserves the right of the Crown to take further action.

“So that’s a threat – and I am here.’

As threats go, the letter from Sir Andrew Turnbull reads more like a report from your fifth year geography teacher than a visit from the Mitchell brothers.

‘I have to admit to being extremely disappointed by your behaviour,” Sir Andrew says.

“I very much regret that you have seen fit to make claims which damage the interests of the United Kingdom.’

But what should the Government do about Depleted Claranium, the woman recently described as “a loose cannon with a sense of direction”?

In the Independent, Bruce Anderson argues that a more blatant breach of the Official Secrets Act was hard to imagine and, if Short is not prosecuted, the Act “is a dead letter”.

But the Telegraph says there is no guarantee that a jury would convict her because “a dispiritingly large number of people share her soggy ‘UN good, HMG bad’ prejudices”.

Instead, it urges the Labour party to deselect the member for Birmingham Ladywood, thus depriving her of both her platform and main source of income.

“As she demonstrated when she refused to leave the Cabinet last year,” it says, “these matter to her more than anything.”

The Guardian suggests a third way and one that it expects Mr Blair to take, namely expelling Short from the Privy Council.

Job done. After all, if anything is likely to shut Short up, it is surely being forbidden to put Right Honourable in front of her name.’



Posted: 1st, March 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink