The ‘inspiring’ David BlunkettDecember 19, 2008 at 2:20 pm | Posted in British Politics, New Labour | 3 Comments
When Martin Kettle tells his friends & colleagues that he still ‘rates’ David Blunkett, they apparently react with shock, even surprise. Sure, he can understand why people didn’t like the ‘lapses of judgement’ which forced him to resign from the cabinet (twice), he can sympathise with people turned-off by his sneering arrogance and he even concedes that he might’ve been a little ‘populist’ when he was Home Secretary. But shouldn’t we forgive all this and welcome back a ‘genuine thinker’ who is ‘one of the most inspirational leaders that Labour has got’?
*Cue the sound of crickets*
This is Kettle at his most cloyingly euphemistic. When he admits to Blunkett’s ‘lapses of judgement’, he means that on one occasion he abused his power by giving his ex-lover a taxpayer-funded train ticket & speeding up her nanny’s visa application, and on another failed to disclose a potential conflict of interest and ignored three seperate requests to make himself accountable.
When he laments Blunkett’s “tendency to arrogance”, he means that he had a habit of slagging off his colleagues behind their backs & was found by ex-Scotland Yard chief Lord Stevens to be a ‘bully and a liar‘.
And when he regrets Blunkett’s “instinct to play the populist game” he means that he joked about toasting the suicide of a prisoner in his care, opposed lowering the age of consent for homosexuals, imitated the right’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, introduced proposals for ID cards, detention centres for asylum seekers, removed the automatic right to trial by jury, created the world’s largest DNA database and gave authorities the most widespread, complex and unworkable surveillance powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. Oh, and if you opposed any of this, then he’d dismiss you as little more than an ‘airy fairy libertarian‘.
So yes, Martin, Mr Blunkett may well be ‘one of the most inspirational leaders that Labour has got’, but with his tarnished integrity, his thuggish authoritarianism and his smug insolence towards all who disagree, the most he inspires is contempt.