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Thursday, June 28, 2007 

Cabinet resnore.

Around the only real surprise appointment in Brown's new cabinet was Jacqui Smith as Home Secretary, which resulted in both the nation and hacks asking "who she"?

In line with the last three home secretaries, Smith is both a bruiser and a Blairite, coming from her previous job as chief whip, itself previously occupied by that other aggravating Blairite, Hilary Armstrong. Her only real interaction with the public at large has been on Question Time, where she proved herself just as bad as her predecessor and fellow minister Hazel Blears at actually answering questions, instead of just spouting New Labour rhetoric. Her last appearance was noted for her egregious support of the Iraq war, using both the worthless if we hadn't acted Saddam would still be in power argument, followed up by the chestnut about everyone believing that Iraq had WMD, despite Robin Cook for one mentioning in his resignation speech that he didn't believe Iraq had WMD which was actually usable, as well as others such as Scott Ritter, a former weapons inspector who said that Iraq had been effectively disarmed. Doubtless she'll be expected to follow the hard line set out by Blunkett, Clarke and Reid, appeasing the Sun first and thinking about the consequences second, although with the creation of the Ministry of Justice, handed over to Jack Straw, she'll have a lot less to do than they did.

Speaking of Jack Straw, a former Blair ally who saw the way the wind was blowing and swiftly ingratiated himself with Brown, his appointment is despite his blatant lies over what he and the government knew about extraordinary rendition, denying that the government had been involved in the programme whatsoever, something subsequently proven by the EU report into rendition as completely untrue.

Keeping with liars and links with extraordinary rendition, Geoff Hoon has been made chief whip, despite his execrable performance both at the Hutton inquiry, which proved that while he was defence minister the MoD left David Kelly out to dry, contributing to his subsequent taking of his own life, and when he gave evidence to the EU investigation into rendition, which subsequently described him as distinctly unhelpful and evasive. More recently he gave an interview to the Grauniad which was notable only for its ignorance and belated conclusion that he and the rest of the government ministers had no influence over US policy on Iraq whatsoever. It only took them 4 years to admit it.

The Tory turncoat Shaun Woodward has been made Northern Ireland secretary, which should be a nice reward for 6 years of complete loyalty to the Blair regime. Hazel Blears, quite possibly the worst politician to ever hold a government post of any sort, despite her well-deserved drubbing in the Labour deputy leadership election, moves from party chair to communities and local government secretary, which must have mayors and councillors across the country groaning/reaching for the cyanide pills. Everyone's favourite member of Opus Dei, Ruth Kelly, moves from that job to transport secretary, where her religious beliefs shouldn't interfere too much, at least compared to when she was disgracefully given the equality brief.

For some reason known only to Brown, Tessa "I've never met my husband" Jowell, despite being removed from the culture secretary job, keeps her role in cocking up and increasing the cost of the Olympics, where she'll hopefully be more inquisitive about the figures involved than she was with the paying off and taking out of mortgages on her home.

About the only really welcome addition was John Denham's return from the wilderness after he resigned over Iraq, no doubt frozen out by Blair for daring to disagree with him in such a manner. He becomes secretary of state for the new department of Innovation, Universities and Skills, when he would have been much better suited to be either home secretary or justice minister, considering his well-respected chairing of the home affairs committee. As expected, Brown promoted the most obsequious hangers-on/friends of his, Ed Miliband the new Duchy of Lancaster, Nick Brown becoming deputy chief whip and minister for the north, Ed Balls to schools, Douglas Alexander taking over from Hilary Benn at international development, with Alastair Darling the new chancellor, while Des Browne stays defence secretary.

Despite the spin about Brown's government being one of all talents, so far only that wonderfully successful businessman "Sir" Alan Sugar has been appointed as "business adviser", which the Scum has already capitalised on with its quite brilliant witty take on the cabinet appointments, with Brown saying "you're hired!". I wonder how long it took them to think that one up?

Like yesterday, the whole thing was a predictable let down, which has left the BBC sexing it up by screaming "biggest cabinet change since second world war!" and "surprise changes!". Some of the Blairite deadwood might have been removed, but some has inexplicably escaped the chop, probably only not to cause immediate ructions between the warring factions.

As for that invisible member of the cabinet, the Sun has already told Brown what his immediate priority should be. Schools? The NHS? Pensions? Iraq? Immigration? Housing? Err, no.

In the first days of his Premiership, Gordon Brown must decide how to deal with the controversial treaty.

How so?

And if the new Prime Minister means what he says, he will trust the British people he so admires.

In a referendum on Britain’s future role in Europe.


Ah yes, with the people reliably informed by the nation's favourite and most truthful newspaper. Heel, Gordon!

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