One Rant at a Time

Whatever heaves into view........better keep its head down.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Labour office politics

If anyone ever needed proof that politics is a venal, grubby unpleasant occupation, I hope that the events of the last few days have convinced you.

The unedifying sight of a Prime Minister under siege from a baying pack of politicians and journalists and being forced to announce a departure date, followed by a series of resignations from former supporters, simply underlines the fact that politics, no matter what anyone may say, is a career just like any other.

And just as in any other large corporation there is office politics (sic), gossip around the water cooler, smarmy, toadying drones applying their noses to the buttocks of the directors and dark, ambitious forces eddying around the door of the boardroom.

Consider this: Since Blair (or people assumed to speak for him) indicated he would step down in early/mid 2007, one junior minister and seven parliamentary secretaries have all resigned, while the calls from the margins for him to go now are growing ever louder.

If we assume that those that have resigned were Blair loyalists, why the need to resign? Oh yes, to begin the arduous task of removing their faces from one set of buttocks and join the feeding frenzy that is building between another pair of cheeks.

If these people had principles, they'd accept that once "their man" no longer holds power, they too should go. There used to be something called "collective responsibility" whereby the government as a whole stood or fell together.

Nowadays though, that's an expensive indulgence. Politics is no longer the preserve of the moneyed or titled classes as it was 200 years ago, but a highly sought-after pit-stop on the way to a lucrative career in consultancy or lobbying. It's a career in itself for many people, too.

Remember the recent scandal over former ministers not vacating their Government lodgings? Just greed.

And once you've got your arms and legs tightly wrapped around the greasy pole at any height off the ground, you're damned if you're going to jump off.

Hence environment secretary David Milliband, a Blair appointment, has already nailed his colours to the mast: "The smooth transition to Gordon Brown, the energising, refreshing transition to Gordon Brown - not to anyone else - is a transition that is about ideas and values more than about dates."

I was always under the impression that politicians and civil servants ran the country; nowadays though they look more like contestants on the X Factor.


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