After 13 months of manufacturing decline and with unemployment heading towards 3 million, the unelected British PM has promoted the equally unelected Business Secretary, ‘Lord’ Peter Mandelson, to First Secretary of State in a clear signal that his ‘democratic renewal’ measures mean exactly the opposite. Mandelson, who is really calling the shots at the fag end of this ruptured government, wanted the job of Foreign Secretary but David Miliband, who led a failed coup against Brown last autumn, refused to move. Meanwhile, fingers-in-the till Chancellor, Alastair Darling remains in his post because Brown’s choice of replacement, smeary Ed Balls, would have catalysed a full scale revolt. Blairites James Purnell and ‘Europe’ Minister Caroline Flint resigned in high dudgeon, the latter claiming that women were seen as ‘window dressing’ in the Brown cabinet. Ms Flint had posed as a vamp in a red dress in the (left-leaning) Observer Magazine fashion magazine the previous month. Both she and Purnell have serious questions to answer about the creative use of their members’ allowances.
As for women as window dressing – Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary also ‘resigned’ on Thursday. We first highlighted her part in the arrest of Conservative MP Damian Green (Thus passim) as a cover-up for her own abuse of second home allowances several months ago (Thus passim). In the hail of muck and bullets, the passing of Tony McNulty, Employment and Welfare minister, went almost unnoticed. The surveillance society and anti-transparency cheerleader McNulty, who allegedly gouged over £60,000 by claiming mortgage interest relief on his dad’s house (Thus passim) also played a leading role in the diversionary firestorm which saw disgraced Speaker of the House Michael Martin authorise the attack on Damian Green (for uncovering widespread manipulation of immigration statistics) all those months ago.
Back to window dressing. We’ve got an economy to fix. Who better to do it than Brown’s close personal friend ‘You’re fired’ Alan Sugar? He can break the news to the millions who will lose their jobs, perhaps even to Gordon himself. Promoting him to the House of Lords and parachuting him into the job of helping Mandelson sell what’s left of the business sector into the hands of Billy Big Time ‘oligarchs’ who turn out to be short of readies when the bill arrives displays perfect synergy. Both are preening fantasists. Sugar’s manufacturing legacy is terrible: Amstrad PCs, clock radios, rebadged video recorders and plastic phones that didn’t work, mostly manufactured in Asian sweatshops and assembled by monkeys in Neasden. Amstrad shares recorded a record loss in the 1987 stock market crash, when people suddenly woke up to the fact that they were unlikely to make money on products which would represent poor value if you found them in a Christmas cracker. Sugar’s resurgence came as a result of hosting a ‘reality’ TV gameshow, ‘The Apprentice’ where he breaks every rule of employment law and encourages barrow boy antics as a way of doing business. It is difficult to project the true horror of this man, so for the benefit of non-UK readers, here is an insight to his management strategy and business ethics, presented in cruel and unusual fashion by CassetteBoy. This is New Labour’s role model of a business leader. There is nothing more to add.
Except that Gordon got one thing right. Sugar is five times as popular as he is. CassetteBoy vs the Bloody Apprentice has so far had 550,000 YouTube viewers. The equally compelling Gordon Brown has only attracted 116,000 viewers. Joking aside, the country needs a General Election, not because Brown is a monster (he is) but because New Labour and its infighting, self-aggrandising, authoritarian second-raters have impaired democracy beyond recognition. It won’t get one without a fight for precisely that reason.