Saturday, October 04, 2008

You huddled masses

For all you tired, poor and huddled masses yearning to breathe free after a long, hard, long (did I say long?) American presidential campaign - I bring you BRITISH POLITICS.

Yes, believe it or not there is politics out there and it's just as crazy - let's just look at a few developments this week.

1. London Top CoP gets the sack.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson (whom I supported) schemed and machinated to get the "top cop" Ian Blair ousted from his position as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

Labour Take: Ian Blair was a really cool guy and bad, bad Boris was sneaky and mean to him and hurt his feelings and fired him and we're all really pissed off because he was such a good guy.

As a recap, Ian Blair was the guy who was at the top when Jean Charles de Menezes was shot at Stockwell tube station. At first, I defended the Met, 'cause we knew for a fact there were a bunch of crazies running around trying to kill us, some had succeeded (7/7) and some were not so good at the mixing of the chemicals (21/7). And then an innocentBrazilian was shot (22/7). Alright it was a crazy time, mistakes happen. Inexcusable mistakes, but a mistake. The Met were prosecuted under Health and Safety law, and got a wee slap on the wrist. Ian Blair challenged that laughable prosecution when he should have just sucked it up.

Ian Blair was also the guy who said the media overreacted to the death of two little girls murdered by a sexual predator in Soham 'cause they weren't black. I'm not saying that crime against black people isn't reported in the same way, I don't know, but how the hell were the parents of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman supposed to feel about that?

Ian Blair is the guy who is under investigation for handing some kind of lucrative contract to a pal.

Same guy whose whole department seems to be alleging racial discrimination and harassment against him. I don't know if there's truth to it, but you don't generally find charges like that in a place that's well managed.

Labour is spinning and spinning against Boris on this one, saying he didn't follow the rules. (It's not entirely at his discretion to remove the Met Commissioner). But seems to me like he did. Boris, as chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, has the ability to call for a vote of no confidence. Then between the MPA and the Home Secretary (a Labour politician) they can remove him. The Mayor was about to call for a vote of no confidence and Ian Blair resigned before that could happen. Not so sneaky, sounds to me.

My take: Good riddance to bad rubbish. Though he did help bring back neighbourhood policing, which was good thing. He didn't seem to me he had the confidence of his force anymore or many Londoners. Buh-bye.

2. Gordon Brown is still a loser

Yes, people still don't like Gordon Brown. He's re-shuffled his cabinet. I won't bore American readers with the names of the comings-in and the goings-out. But there were two things of note:

2a The return of Peter Mandelson. I don't expect folks in America to know who he is, but he's a kind of shadowy master of the dark spin and an architect of the New Labour Project. Think Karl Rove of the Left. He helped Tony Blair win and win and the Tone rewarded him with Cabinet positions, which he had to resign twice because of corruptiony stuff (like no interest loans and so on). When he had to go the second time, he got some kind of sinecure in European Government which is a real opportunity to root around in the trough.

Well, he's baaaack. He and Gordo never got along it's not unfair to say they were politcal enemies in the constant power struggle between Blair and Brown, but I guess Brown felt he needed Mandy's sneaky charms. He's now got a position in Cabinet - as Business Minister. A real shocker. I guess keep your friends close and your enemies closer is the theme of this gov reshuffle.

2b A whole brand new ministry!!!! One of things that has never ceased to amaze me is the constant merging, coagulating, separating and invention of whole ministries and government departments. It's kinda my job to keep up with these things and it absolutely makes my head spin. For example, the department that I most often deal with has gone from:

DXYZ to DWZY to OXZP and then DCXG while several of its functions have been shipped off to the DLRR and then DERZ and DSKN. WTF? (Note: these aren't real departmental acronyms, but it matters not.)

Apparently the brand new Department of Energy and Climate Change is sucking the energy out of BERR and taking the heat out of DEFRA.

Until now, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Berr) had responsibility for the nation's energy strategy and ensuring the lights did not go out, while the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) had the task of trying to curb the rise of greenhouse gases and ensuring energy was used more efficiently.
What I want to know is this: Precisely what is the carbon footprint of setting up a brand new government department?

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