Tuesday, May 30, 2006

J.R. for P.M.?

A beleaguered Tony (don’t talk about the war) Blair came under more fire than he could handle last month, when the Home Office admitted that over 1000 foreign offenders, who should have been deported, were allowed to walk free.

What to do?

Easy, old man: sack the Home Secretary.

Well, yeah… It doesn’t take a lot of education to work that part out, does it? I mean, our Tony’s pretty well versed in the scape-goat solution, isn’t he?

But, I can hear him ask, who do we get to clear up the mess?

Who better than the then Defence Secretary, Blair’s one time political “bullet catcher” and cabinet “hard man”, John “attack dog” Reid?

Many thought former Communist Party member Reid had overstepped his mark back in 2003 when he accused “rogue elements” inside the security forces of undermining the government, after Robin Cook quit as Leader of the House of Commons in opposition to the Gulf conflict.

However, his performance was successful in drawing fire away from the PM, who faced the third degree regarding the presentation of intelligence in the build up to the invasion of Iraq.

He’s currently being promoted as a possible contender to Gordon Brown for the premiership (when Tony finally decides he’s had enough – we have, certainly), and, personally, I think that’s no bad idea.

Here’s a prompt-card sized profile of the man:

born in Bellshill, Glasgow, May 8, 1947, the son of a postman and a factory girl;

attended St Patrick’s Senior Secondary School, Coatbridge;

BA (Hons) History, MA History, PhD Economic History, University of Stirling;

became a member of the British Communist Party, 1973, but left after a few years to become a professional Labour Party activist and TGWU delegate;

research advisor to Labour Party Leader Neil Kinnock (1983 – 1985) and Labour Party research officer.

In the current Government he has held the posts of Junior Defence Minister (1997 – 1998), Junior Transport Minister (’98 – ’99), Scottish Secretary of State (’99 – 2000), Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (’01 – ’02), Labour Party Chairman (’02 – ’03), Leader of the Commons (’03 – ’03), Secretary of State for Health (’03 – ’05), Secretary of State for Defence (’05 – ’06).

Currently Home Secretary and, some would say Prime Minister in waiting.

But is he the hardest man in Britain?

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