I decided to treat myself to a couple of days’ annual leave after a wonderful visit to Rome, in order to recharge the batteries and be lazy. It was blissful until my desire to be pretty well informed kicked in, and I popped on Sky News and BBC News 24 to be assaulted by… well, I haven’t the first fucking clue what it was.
First was this unpleasant apparition:
Rt. Hon Bob Ainsworth MP.
Well, I ask you. How the fuck did that happen? Gordon Brown’s walking, talking (or rather, stumbling, mumbling) insult to the Armed Forces was in one image standing in MOD regulation jumper in the sweltering heat in Iraq or Afghanistan, silently joking with troops, and in the next was delivering the most lacklustre statement to the House of Commons it has ever been my misfortune to be subjected. Absolute proof of the dearth of unalienated talent in the Labour Party is given with the appointment of Bob Ainsworth to this job. In the past, one could have counted on a few decent MPs lining up for Defence who would have been able to operate under a Prime Minister, even a hated one. Apparently, every decent alternative to Ainsworth told the Prime Mentalist to fuck off when offered the job, for there is no way I can believe that Gordon Brown is quite feckless enough to have made this strategically shaved chimp his first choice. Wait a minute… No, genuinely.
I have genuinely never witnessed a man answer a question as badly as I saw the Secretary of State for Defence respond to Liam Fox in the House. Admittedly, Fox had a good media run-up to the question , and the MOD had a line to put out, but the question ‘When your government made a 1.4bn cut to the Helicopter budget, was it a mistake?’ should be meat and drink to a halfway decent MP, let alone our Defence Secretary.
When Fox asked the question, I thought it so generic as to have probably been dealt with verbatim in his briefing notes, but apparently not. Bob Ainsworth, instead, just opened his mouth and vomited out a lengthy gobbledygook of arse.
Would John Reid have done that? John Reid would have torn his questioner a new arsehole and made him apologise to the House, then stomped on his career. Maybe not Liam Fox, admittedly, who is a sure-footed inquisitor and will make a great Cabinet Minister. John Reid was as tough as we need as a Defence Secretary, and I say that as a Tory. But this cookie cutter moron Ainsworth was just so poor as to make me genuinely angry with the depressing lack of talent in this government.
Of course, even Brown knows that all the talent in his party would sooner self-immolate than serve in his cabinet, and that the few untapped veins of unalienated ability there are gearing up to save themselves come the day of the avenging electorate. Bill Rammell MP, an armed forces minister himself, would be better than Ainsworth, but, by the unhappy accident of Ainsworth’s status as a potential disgruntled former cabinet minister, and the lack of a hunger for a reshuffle, the armed forces are destined to be lumbered with the current guard. Depressing.