Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Great Orifices of State

Great Orifices
Donkeys led by...erm
To have a cabinet minister, even a senior one, find him or herself in a spot of political difficulty is hardly new and if I stretch my mind back far enough I can remember several instances of two simultaneously facing down the pen barrel of a hostile media.

My political memory does not extend back as far as some, but within my own recollection I cannot think of any other time where all four office holders of the four great offices of state have ended so far up into their neck in the brown sticky stuff in such a short space of time.

To see a Chancellor of the Exchequer face Commons humiliation twice in as many days is a pretty extraordinary, but when you consider how close this followed upon the heels of the Home Secretary's similar experience, it has been a remarkable enough period. Then you throw in the public humiliation of the Foreign Secretary by the holder of the most senior post of all, himself subjected to almost daily assaults on his fitness for the job.

To make a defence for any one is just about tenable, but overall the stench of the whole is even stronger than that of its component parts. It might be a smell of decay, not malice, but please God, don't let anyone believe any of self-selected tags such as 'competent' and 'talented' for the current Government ever again.

What may happen to polling data for the other parties in the coming weeks is hard to say, but I wouldn't mind betting that the raw data on the 'Best able to handle...' questions in polls over the next few months will not make happy reading for those sufficiently credulous to have any belief whatsoever left in Team Brown. These perceptions that can be a springboard to major change come general election time and that really can't come quickly enough.

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