Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Sack Bernard

One odd thing in all this Dr Kelly stuff has been the role of Bernard Jenkin, the supposed Tory spokesman on defence. If you look through the Google News Search for Bernard Jenkins and Kelly you get nothing. This is when Bernie’s opposite has been accused of helping to speed the death of an elderly scientist and the very premise for an unpopular war has been shown to be even more far-fetched than we thought. Where’s Bernard to put the Tory case?

Of course the Tories should be enjoying the show and not seen to be profiting from this tragedy, but there’s low profile and there’s non-existent. Of course Bernie’s got form for this. After the Hatfield rail crash he kept mum, even got John Prescott to thank him for not taking partisan advantage. And the government did not suffer for its transport mess – instead we saw a disastrous re-nationalisation which we will be paying for into the next generation. There goes a genuine John Major achievement because Bernie wanted to be non political. If that’s what he wanted, why didn’t he just stick to singing?

It’s rather admirable that he avoided the Portillo bandwagon in 2001 and backed IDS in the first round when no other shadow cabinet minister did, but this is looking more and more a sign of political luck rather than political judgement. Could you imagine if you had some shameless kitten drowner like Tim Collins or John Redwood shadowing defence at the moment?

Geoff Hoon’s memos would be in the planning stage.


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