updated November 5th 2005
DECEMBER 1st 2004
What is the point of the Conservative Party's hounding of David Blunkett over a residence permit for his 'lover's' nanny, and why are even respected media commentators like Andrew Marr interested? Is it because they have nothing better to do? For the Tories, perhaps it is to try to regain support from their erstwhile followers who have rightly given up on them as being incapable of putting up proper arguments against even such asinine legislation as the ban on fox-hunting.

Seeing the chaos in the immigration department at the time, any civil servant worth his salt would surely have seized on the fact that one of the applications had been seen and checked for authenticity by the Home Secretary and taken the opportunity to remove it from the immense pile that had to be subjected to further months of scrutiny. This could only save time that could then be spent on sorting out other applications. It certainly could not have caused a delay for anyone else. Besides, since when did we not give precedence to dealing with the transport and general facilitation of those we charge with important work for society and the state? It is perfectly in order that the commander of an army gets fast-tracked to the front if he so requires. Helicopters are at the disposal of ministers to make best use of their time. We expect a lot, and we give them the means to do it. Such people are not in commercial competition with the rest of us, they are public servants whose every shortcoming is jumped on by the media. Making sure that he did not have to wait unnecessarily for his child's nanny to have resident's status would seem to be an unexceptional courtesy, undertaken probably by an as yet anonymous administrator using a bit of initiative, because it was possible.

David Blunkett was fooled, as have many men been, into thinking that his girl friend would put his responsibilities to his job above her personal interests. Fat chance, I fear. Clementine Churchills are rare these days and this woman doesn't give a rat's arse about the effect on his job anyway. As for David Davis, he remains the complete waste of space he has always been. The disappointment, for me, is with those commentators who should know better than to cheer on the sidelines so as to be seen to have backed the winner, whoever it might be - because there will be none.

UPDATE DEC 12th 2004
Perhaps this story is more interesting than I originally thought. Blunkett's thumbnail judgements on his colleagues are rather amusing. They are not nearly as damning as they might appear to an incautious reader ot listener hearing them all at once out of context, but they do tell us how high David Blunkett sets the performance bar himself. One might accuse him of being obsessive, but I always think this is a silly complaint usually made by people who are not really geared to top level performance themselves. To be really on top of your brief when the situation is critical (and for the Home Office the situation always is critical) you have to be obsessed with it. That should not prevent you from keeping a level head and being aware of all the other angles of view and focus that affect the priorities of others. People are asking "can he survive?" - the answer is of course he can. But he can also be brought to the point where he would resign if he thought most people in the country had lost confidence in him. On the other hand, this country can certainly not afford to throw away competent and dedicated politicians unless they want to end up with opportunists and demagogues.

The man who is seriously miffed though is Jack Straw, and perhaps with some reason. The Home Office has grown over the years into a very tricky beast, dependent for its functioning on a very large staff which had developed its own in-house cultures. To sort it out so that it retains some sort of internal coherence and yet reports and responds to ministerial control and initiatives is something that could challenge anyone. Blunkett should have refrained from comment in general on his colleagues, and on this in particular.

UPDATE DEC 15th 2004
Well he's resigned, ostensibly because people working for him carried out their work with greater efficiency than they could do for every other individual. Of course that is not the reason he has to resign. The reason is he has made too much news and cast aspersions on the effectiveness of his colleagues, all of which has been used by the opposition to bring him down. If the Tory Party thinks that is the job its supporters voted for it to be doing, rather than making sure the country is as well governed as possible, then it is just further evidence of their uselessness. This is probably the most effective thing David Davis will ever do in politics, and is not in anyone's interests - not even his own. They must be the most useless bunch that ever occupied those seats in the history of parliament. As for the BBC: "His reputation for honesty shot to pieces" says Robin Lustig this evening. What? The more you read that, the more you become aware that our media is in the hands of people who are no longer familiar with the meaning of words, either in their literal or metaphorical sense.

DEC 21st 2004
The opposition reaction to Alan Budd's report makes one wonder if the can take either the Tory or Liberal party seriously ever again. The conclusion of the report is that there is no evidence that anything of any consequence occurred, and that since the events examined took place many months ago it is not surprising that nobody can remember all the details.  My interpretation, covered in part in the first entry here on December 1st, is certainly correct, arrived at after 10 seconds thought and speaking to nobody at all. The Home Secretary used the example of a letter from the Home Office saying that there would be a long delay before an application could even be looked at, to blow his top. He was after all responsible for getting the backlog sorted and here he had in his hand a perfect example of the department sending out letters that indicated there was no progress at all being made. The result was the papers in question were looked at and dealt with. Because they concerned the nanny for his own child, the consequence is he has committed a breach of Parliamentary and Ministerial code.  So technically he is guilty of that. Nobody would have cared if the ridiculous Fortier woman had not deliberately tried to bring him down with public accusations. John Sargent summed her up at first sight of course, but David B, being blind, had no opportunity to see her coming.

NOVEMBER 02  2005
There is little use in expecting our media, printed or broadcast*, to explain the resignation today of David Blunket, for the second time. It was Lord Nolan's opinion that must have decided it. The code of behaviour is designed to deal with those who would deliberately try to avoid it, and for that reason it has to be respected by all. It is supremely unlikely that David Blunkett did anything wrong other than failing to understand that truth. It is the bane of modern civilisation that honest men have to waste 50% of their lives dealing with bureaucracy designed to trap knaves or weed out fools, but that is the price we have to pay for the failure of society to inculcate a proper sense of values. The utter cynicism of our journalists is what creates the environment in which Lord Nolan is unfortunately right.  As time goes by, our journalists get ever more cynical as no decent person ever speaks to a journalist unless they have to as part of their job, so their knowledge of the world becomes more and more skewed. Whether at home or abroad they are only approached by those who have an axe to grind with authority, with anti-authority or someone of who they are jealous.  "At that moment, I had a story!" was the exultant cry of the reporter who discovered that Blunkett had not consulted the committee overseeing the code of behaviour. At that moment Blunkett's harmless mistake became a story and his failure became an offence - the offence of setting a bad example in public. It can be rightly said that he was the author of his own destruction, but only because an army of journalists were looking tor their own career at any cost, to any individual or to the public good.

* Though Michael Gove in BBC Radio 4's Week in Westminster did a good analysis of the personal reasons for Blunketts failure to handle a situation that could have stretched most sighted people. The loneliness of those deprived of sight is a factor sometimes overlooked. by others.