Jacqui Smith’s old job as Chief Whip has gone as a part-time occupation for Geoff Hoon, the Europe minister who wasn’t allowed to speak on Europe, and the Defence Secretary who was never there when decisions had to be made. Shall we go to war? Should the troops have some body armour? Sugar in your tea? Where’s Hoon?
He is only being Chief Whip some of the time, and being Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury for the rest – the perfect excuse always to be somewhere else when there is a decison to be made.
It doesn’t say much for Gordon Brown’s wish to have a “ministry of all the talents” that he has to give not one but two of the jobs in his gift to Hoon.
Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish that man would go away.
Hughes Mearns (1875-1965)