Friday, June 29, 2007

Margaret Beckett Summed Up

A great line in the Financial Times editorial on 'Brown's Team of Some of the Talents'...

Aged just 41, Mr Miliband is a more substantial figure on his first day in
office than his predecessor, Margaret Beckett, was throughout her tenure.

Class.

26 comments:

Diablo said...

I think we'll find that David Miliband is full of more spin programmes than my wife's washing machine. (I still don't know how to work it.)

And she will not allow me to watch the TV if there is a whiff of Gordon Brown being on. She hates him more than she hates washing my underpants - but that's another story!

So much for the women's vote.

Anonymous said...

Seems like a stupid comment to me after one day.

Miliband's Defra is an even bigger shambles after hus spell in charge than when Beckett was our boss.

verity said...

diablo - "my wife's washing machine. (I still don't know how to work it.)"

You don't have communal property in your home? If I were you, I'd find out how much more she's got in her name!

Diablo said...

Oh dear, Verity your are at it again.

It was a self-deprecating joke my dear lady - don't take it too seriously - the point was David Miliband is a spinner just like Gordon Brown. And a serious point that women don't find him attractive - which is not a sexist point.

As it happens my wife and I have equal shares in all the property we own. And we have made sure that Gordon Brown can't take it off the last one standing.

Don't you understand that men and women can actually agree? Or are you really Harriet Harman in disguise?

Reinhard Heydrich said...

Funny and yet true. Milliband is a long way better than Beckett - even a casual TV interview would tell you that(though the criticism of Israel will have to stop if he wants to be taken seriously by others).

mitch said...

I think the words "vile old trout" pretty much sums her up.
as for milliband if he screws this up 10% as bad as defra there will be a war.he is a profesional politician and therfore has no grip on reality.gordo is just setting him up for a big kick right out of the park.

Anonymous said...

So the great office of state is to be run by a boyish oik who doesn't know the English language has the letter t and doesn't seem to have too many ties in his cupboard. A long way from Cook, Rifkind and Straw.

The Foreign Minister in some ways is in the country's shop window. So we drop from Harrods to the Coop.

Glyn said...

Harrods stopped being our shop window in about 1985 when that unpleasant fake fakir took it over and filled it up with greasy shop assitants who spoke with the oleagenous charm of the bazaar. My god mother worked there for 20 years and left soon after in distaste. The overseas buyers and the noveau WAG types never noticed. Anyway Miliband is less Co-op than Gum, was not his father, in whose house he lives to this day a devout communist? As was the father of Mrs Browns former business partner - there is deep seated socialism here. And the way Mrs Beckett ran Defra could have been a soviet 5 year plan.

Andy D said...

The Foreign Minister in some ways is in the country's shop window. So we drop from Harrods to the Coop.

Beckett is Harrods?.....More like Quik Save...

Charlotte Corday said...

Rather ironic that Mrs Beckett warned young Miliband that he would be "a human sacrifice" if he ran for leader against Gordon.
Now she's become the human sacrifice - booted out to make way for Miliband.

John Marston said...

A cabinet of the grey and incompetent. And in the outside world, while the Labour political dance grabs the headlines? Inadequate funding on flood defences and a shambolic approach to the current massive flood emergency in the Midlands and Yorkshire.

Hughes Views said...

This choice of clip suggests that perhaps you've started to acknowledge that Mr Brown is bringing the higher quality people into his cabinet. But I think you still haven't woken up to a fundamental change that is underway; bad news for many bloggers but the days of one-liner simplistic politics are over, at least for now.

anyonebutgordon said...

Billy the fish would be a more substantial figure than Margaret Beckett

Anonymous said...

Is it because I is Jewish ?

Chris Paul said...

Seems like a stupid comment to me also. Margaret was put there by someone who ran the Foreign policy all by themselves. Brown doesn't want to do that. On a related matter I noticed that someone had briefed the press about Miliband's Lebanon strafing position. He was against it and not afriad to tell Blair.

I think the FT remark is probably from someone being deeply sexist and unpleasant. Mili D is going to become a class act however.

Thank goodness there will be no more Foreign Affairs crises until he is grown up.

Laurence Boyce said...

Miliband’s brief statement to the cameras yesterday was pure Tony Blair. Very creepy.

nadds said...

Brown spinners no doubt happy that their 2 key messages of female home sec and more changes than night of the long knifes were repeated ad nausium on al beeb and in all the papers.

Apart from the removing of the dead, its just a deckchair shuffle - what outside talent?

Like the view from Theresa may on Newsnight which is worth repeating

labour wonk - "we've listened and we need to change"
"there's no need for an election as we got a mandate only 2 years ago"

Hold on say May, cannot have it both ways - if we need change, you haven't got a mandate, if you aren't really changing, you're talking bollocks - I paraphrase, of course

Chuck Unsworth said...

Chris Paul: "Margaret was put there by someone who ran the Foreign policy all by themselves. Brown doesn't want to do that."

So nice to get the inside info from someone who is clearly on first name terms with these remarkable and truly talented people. You're obviously offering your personal guarantees here, shall we hold you to that, then?

Frankly anyone who believes that Brown is not a complete centrist control freak had better watch out. Just take a look at his ten year history in the Treasury - and before. All this bollocks about 'all the talents' is smoke and mirrors. What's Brown's definition of 'talent', for example? An innate obedience to his rule? An ability to jump when told?

If you believe that Blair was bad, just wait until these guys have been in harness (advisedly) for a few weeks. You ain't seen nothing yet.

Richard Havers said...

Pencil case man substantial? He's got the gravitas of our three year old Springer.

Although on reflection as the old saying goes, Labradors are born half trained and a Springer dies half trained. Milliband is a Labrador!

Paul Linford said...

It's an accurate comment. Miliband may be 41 but he has already been seriously talked about as the leader of his party and Prime Minister. Margaret Beckett actually did lead her party in an emergency but even then no-one really thought of her as a potential PM.

I think Blair did her a great disservice by making her Foreign Secretary. She was a competent middle ranking minister, the proverbial safe pair of hands, at the Foreign Office she proved a living emboduiment of the Peter Principle.

Anonymous said...

More to the point - Is Gordon preparing to change British Foreign Policy vis a vis Iraq ? By appointing Milliband and Malloch-Brown to the Foreign Office and John Denham( a Labour Minister who actually resigned over Iraq) back into government is he sending subtle signals to the Americans and/or the British Public that his "changes" will also include foreign policy ? As a US spokesman said " Irrespective of the size of UK force the effect of total or speedier British withdrawal or severe reduction in the proposed remaining UK residual force at Basra Airport would have a "seismic effect" on American public opinion. The US administration fears that Gordon may just do the "unthinkable" . Worrying times for "Yo Blair"'s old pal - George

C4' said...

I can think of a single four-letter word to sum up that old hag, it begins with a 'c' and ends in 't'.

dearieme said...

Neigh, neigh, and thrice neigh.

Anonymous said...

"Beckett is Harrods?.....More like Quik Save"

Or even Kwik Fit

David Lindsay said...

Rubbish. Beckett was the most Eurosceptical Foreign Secretary since Bevin, and without her we might well have been stuck with an EU Constitution that Heath, Thatcher or Major could have signed. Imagine that, if you dare.

The first time I met Miliband, he was Schools Minister and I was a supply teacher. He asked what I did, I told him, and I then added (truthfully, at the time) that the worst school in which I had ever worked was in his constituency, so what was he going to do about it?

I then heard him speak soon afterwards, in which he described the disparity within schools (often as great as, or even greater than, that between them) as "which teacher you are given"!

His original pitch for Leader ended up being published in the Daily Telegraph for a laugh, after the Guardian refused to print it beacuse it was so bad.

And if he had really had doubts about Iraq or Lebanon, then he should ahve resigned, and deserves nothing but scorn and contempt for his failure to do so.

Iain, please get off the bandwagon of those who insist that a PM must have an Oxfoird degree or no degree at all, the basis for the BBC's campaign for Miliband, astonishingly still going on. They are now beaten.

bgprior said...

The main skills required of the Secretary of State at DEFRA - the ministry of responsibility without power - is to be able to talk a good game, not do too much damage, and get out of there with your reputation intact. Not having access to the levers that matter - the financial ones - Environment Ministers are often tempted to pull the levers that they do have - regulation - even when it is ineffective, costly, bureaucratic and counter-productive. There were signs that Mr Miliband might get itchy fingers to start pulling levers - the proposed Waste Strategy is a triumph of wrong-headed dirigisme - but on the whole I'd say he's shown a fair amount of political skill in maintaining his reputation in an awkward position. Now we'll start to find out if there's substance behind the facade. I suspect there is. But I am surprised that anyone thinks we know enough yet to pronounce firmly. Beckett, on the other hand, I think we know enough about...