Thursday, July 27, 2006

Margaret Beckett: Still an Old Leftie at Heart

I've been thinking a bit about this rather ridiculous row between Margaret Beckett and the Americans about the planes laden with bombs landing at Prestwick en route for Israel. It seems she's not complaining about the fact that planes full of bombs are landing here, merely that they didn't fill in the right forms. Seeing as Britain has sold £25 million of arms to Israel in the last 12 months she hasn't really got a leg to stand on. The question is: did Downing Street approve her remarks? Because if not, Tony Blair will go into full apology mode when he meets Bush tomorrow in Washington. This is the first time Beckett has made an impact on the headlines since her surprise appointment as Foreign Secretary nearly three months ago. What people seem to have forgotten is that Margaret Beckett is an old leftie at heart and in her gut she's anti American. And it's a further sign of Blair losing his grip on power that Beckett feels able to speak out in this manner, because you can bet your bottom dollar that Jack Straw wouldn't have done so.


Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. Witness her disgraceful comments about President Bush on BBC Question Time on local election night(the day before her appointment - which shows that it was a surprise to her as well as everyone else).

The presence of such a woman in one of the main offices of state says more than anything about the feeble nature of Blair's Government. She clearly hates America and Israel, and that is just not in our countries interests. I trust Brown will pack her off to the backbenches when the time comes. And there endeth her awful career.

Theo Spark said...

Foreign Secretaries should be neither seen nor heard. Especially this one!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps she has been looking into her crystal ball??
Take a look at Theo Sparks take on Beckett on Holiday Its brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Living in Margaret Beckett's constituency here in south Derby fills me with quiet fury; she hardly lifts a finger over Derby issues; every story in the local paper is met with some platitude or other; she is both lazy and indifferent. Her sole interest is radical-left politics and she has not abandoned that, but instead has smeared over it a sort of relentless fawning obeisance to the Blair and Blairina which has advanced her rapidly. The current dispute is a case of her deep-seated leftie loathing of all things US managing to overcome her fantastic servility towards the Great Fettesman. So tangled insider her head must it be, to quote Yoda. All very uncomfortable for Blair who got rid of Straw for precisely this sort of insubordination. Also as with Straw, most of her voters are Muslims and they have their own agenda, resulting in their mass-defection to the snake-like LibDems last time, rendering Derby South virtually marginal; this bit of politicking with it's worthless charm and empty theatricality is a nice sop to the local loony vote commanded from Damascus and Tehran. And I thought I lived in noble England amongst free people!!

Tapestry said...

If Blair is not in control, and Brown is not yet secure (although he enjoys the support of Murdoch), who is in control?

John Prescott appears to be calling the shots at the moment!

Anonymous said...

its cynical posturing thats all. Its a non issue but is trying to make out that the Govt is not pro israel or pro US and will stand up to them. Headline grabbing stuff which is all a load of balls cos they are supporting Israel and US in reality. I just wish they would be straight with us than try these juvenile games to alter our opinions. Playing the anti-america card is poor form and not good for public perception in the long term.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Theo Spark said...

Thanks for the plug Maggie Fan

Anonymous said...

Beckett is one of politics' great survivors but those teeth and that caravan!

Anonymous said...

When Mrs Beckett takes a caravan holiday does she sleep in it or have to pull it?

Anonymous said...

Theo Spark is nearly right.

Foreign secretaries should be neither seen nor Hurd.

Anonymous said...

I'm just about prepared to forgive the likes of Boateng and Hodge for their transmogrification from hard lefties to Blairites, as they've only changed once, but Beckett's multiple flip-flops on Labour's internal left-right spectrum are ridiculous (and fail to conceal that she's a leftie at heart). She's one of the most untrustworthy politicians in the House of Commons, a serial opportunist with no charisma and thoroughly bad judgement.

No, Hillary Benn should have got the FCO last May. He'd make an excellent future Labour leader, and shame on Blair for his utterly pathetic vindictiveness in refusing to promote him. What is H Benn's crime? Being well-regarded by Gordon Brown. Benn isn't a Brownite (probably more a Blairite, in fact) and the reason Brown regards him highly is that he's doing a good job in a field in which Brown is interested.

Meanwhile, an utterly mediocre Brownite, Des Browne, was given Defence, in which post he's utterly out of his depth (as, indeed, he was at mere Minister of State level in the Home Office). He's got so little personality or gravitas he might as well be a hologram.

Even Alistair Darling would have been better at the FCO or MOD.

And Baroness Scotland would be a far better Leader of the Lords than Baroness Amos.

I don't know if Brown will be any better at Cabinet reshuffles than Blair, but I doubt he'll be any worse (let's just hope his Newcastle-based namesake returns as Chief Whip rather than being given a department to run, given the balls-up he made of foot and mouth when he was Agriculture Minister).

Paul Linford said...

Is it not an example of how narrow political debate has become that making a mild criticism of America now makes you an "old leftie?"

Anonymous said...

She's a woman and therefore not so
mealy-mouthed. Anyway, who decided it was ok to talk in abusive and insulting terms about some countries and in toe-curlingly obsequious terms about others. We need a bit of real politik.

Anonymous said...

redeye - calm down! It's my understanding that Blair offered Benn a promotion but Benn declined, saying that he wanted to finish what he started at International Development.

Is it possible that it is you who are being "utterly pathetic" and "vindictive" in your assumptions?

Anonymous said...

Leaving aside the pro-American and anti-Yank mouthings, bet the Scots are de-lighted that Dubya's made Prestwick a Muslim militant target.

Anonymous said...

We do not have a Foreign Secretary. We have Blair's poodle(oxymoron?),a caravaner with a 78 year old husband/driver/adviser who collects the £133k pa for inhabiting the office but with bugger all power. This odd looking broad goes by the name of Beckett. . She claims to have been a contender for No 10 when Labour was Labour and she was on the left. Now she just wants a fat pension like the rest of the time servers in the so called cabinet.

Anonymous said...

im afraid paul linford is right, its the age old trick goering spoke of in labelling people who oppose you and a mark of how the political debate has been polluted on both sides by name calling. much easier to just brand someone a socialist or fascist than to listen to an argument.

what if one of these aircraft had crashed in an urban area? there are rules for how arms are supposed to be shipped because of just that. i dont fancy the offside chance that a plane with 50 bombs on board comes down in the middle of london, you can imagine the mess it would cause. i dont like beckett either but for once, and probably the first time, she's right.

Anonymous said...

"No, Hillary Benn should have got the FCO last May. He'd make an excellent future Labour leader, and shame on Blair for his utterly pathetic vindictiveness in refusing to promote him."

According to Diane Abbott, Benn was offered Work and Pension Departement when Blunkett resigned, but he refused it.

Anonymous said...

I don't care what Hilary Benn's barely perceived talents might be. He's a sanctimonious po-face trading on the family name who adds nothing to the gaiety of the nation. We've already got one Benn cluttering up public life we don't need another one.

David said...

"Because public opinion is firmly against Israel's actions the Government is posturing.

When the images of little children maimed by so called precision bombs come on the box this sad excuse for a Government wants to be able to say “we tried to stop it”."

So the little children mained by unguided rockets in Israeli don't count then? Off you go and picket Moscow Airport or Beijing then! What? Still here?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (at 2:49) said:

"what if one of these aircraft had crashed in an urban area? there are rules for how arms are supposed to be shipped because of just that. i dont fancy the offside chance that a plane with 50 bombs on board comes down in the middle of london, you can imagine the mess it would cause."

Probably no more mess than a regular cargo aircraft crashing with a load of the same tonnage. (Though efforts to recover the cargo would no doubt be pretty assiduous!)

These weapons (whatever they might be) certainly wouldn't be armed during transit and would be designed to be safe in the event of a crash.

I'm not quite clear what the US is being accused of here. Is it that they are alleged not to have followed the correct procedures for the carriage of such materiel (sic)? If so, what exactly did they do wrong?

Andrew Ian Dodge said...

Yes, one does wish should would retire to her caravan in the middle of no where and just stay there. Her opinions on matters internation are as out-dated as her caravan.

Benedict White said...

Iain, Firstly we only sell non lethal "arms" to Israel, as in radar systems and ejector seats. We do not sell any thing that can be used for repression.

Secondly, the last time I checked we were a sovereign nation, and it is customary to seek permission for the trans shipment of such items.

If you object to the first complain to the government, if you object to the second, move elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Re Hillary Ben, Desperate Dan said: "He's a sanctimonious po-face trading on the family name who adds nothing to the gaiety of the nation."

Well, he added a great deal to the gaity of this nation when he made homosexual sex in public loos legal as long as the door to the cubicle was closed.

Old Cynic says: "even the people who supported the removal of Saddam can’t stomach the current Israeli onslaught."

Oh, really?

What I can't stomach is the continuing existence of Hezbullah in Lebanon and the Lebanese government being so weak that the Israelis were motivated to come in and do the job for them. I can't stomach Hezbullah firing rockets into Israel. They're a terrorist organisation, remember? They need to be rooted out and exterminated.

Re the "innocent women and children" who are wounded or killed, what kind of a big, brave terrorist organisation hides itself in towns, in normal houses, behind the skirts - ooops! - burqas of women? Eh?

Jeff said...

These commnents have been made on the back of the speculation about Blair bring Bushes poodle.

It is nothing more than Labours way of trying to show their teeth.

As with their policies and behaviour, it has as usual been a laughable and weak attempt to show they are in control

Anonymous said...

Might I suggest the old girl looks at the Prestwick Airport Website about its special cargo certification - unique among civilian airports in the UK ?

Perhaps she could remind us that Prestwick fulfills a military function of refuelling USAF and RCAF aircraft

Now, can I be Foreign Secretary ? I know a bloody sight more than Mag Beckett and could do the job much more effectively than this washerwoman

Anonymous said...

Oh, stop picking on her ! Go and read the 'caravanning' article in the Telegraph today instead - far more amusing...

Anonymous said...

Beckett's also a bold-faced, smirking liar.

A few years ago, it was reported that during some critical vote or another (or maybe some crisis in her department), she had been caravanning in France and hadn't bothered to come back to vote (or solve some problem in her department; I can't remember). The story, as first reported, was incorrect. She had indeed been on a caravanning holiday, but in England, not France. The correction was not widely reported.

Well, she was on a discussion programme on TV and someone brought up this caravanning holiday, and she immediately held it out as an example of how the press told lies about her.

"They said I was on a caravanning holiday in France and this was an outright lie!" She went on to deny that she had been derelict in her duty by focussing on this "carvanning in France". "The press was insisting that I was caravanning in France at the time, which I most assuredly was not!" she whinnied. She kept deliberately appending "in France" to her denials, and it was dropped.

She was so strong in defining this denial that no one thought to say, "So were you on a caravan holiday in Britain, then?" which she had been.

She's a nasty piece of work, as are all socialists.

Anonymous said...

Sehr geehrte Iain

It is very worrying - I must be experiencing the mid-life crisis when I find myself again agreeing with the ever-incisive & informative Redeye on Senora Becket

Redeye & most of your Commenters will of course not remember the old Roman Empire

However, our Beloved Country increasingly resembles the Roman Empire, as it declines towards economic collapse

An Emperor (a Latin expression best translated as “the Prime Minister”) would not tolerate able subordinates

Competent generals found that life was "solitary, nasty, brutish -- and & short"

Surprising Mediocrities rocketed to the top, followed by the inevitable (& entirely predictable) disasters

Margaret presided over DEFRA while it caused yet more misery to the Countryside by DEFRA's relentless delays in making long-overdue payments to Farmers

Do we really want someone with this record of ineffectiveness as a Minister of the Crown to be our Foreign Secretary ??

Your obedient servant etc

G Eagle

Anonymous said...

i spy strangers... im sure youre aware that arming a device involves an electric charge. a device can also be armed by another method, a large explosion or an electrical fire which often happens right before the fuel tanks go up and is the cause of many crashed aircraft (and indeed motorcar) detonations. thats why ammunition dumps explode. now unless the israelis were shipping these out without explosives in them they WERE dangerous. what did the americans do??? they just broke the CAA rules and illegally overflew british territory violating our sovereignty. not much ;)

Anonymous said...

anonymong 12:20 - "they just broke the CAA rules and illegally overflew british territory violating our sovereignty. not much ;)"

Wait a minute ... since when did "rules" become laws? There may be a rule that you have to wear a school uniform. If you don't wear it, are you breaking the law? Hauled up before the beak?

In the grown-up world, we are an ally facilitating flights of one of our closest allies in order to come to the aid of another ally.

Anonymong - Tell us why this is illegal? We have treaties with our allies, one of which is the United States and one of which is Israel.

By the way, a humble request: do stop using vapid emoticons. They give such a clue into a trite, vapid mind. No fighter jet, guns or bombs for you! Reality tv outrage and call-in voting on a premium phone line! I despair.

Anonymous said...

G Eagle you seem to be copying my articles. Stop referring to the Roman Empire - that is my bailiwick!

Beckett is a wierd type no doubt about it. Here in Derby we know her well - she's the perfect politician, never misses an opportunity to evade where truth would have done, to cover tracks, to dodge, wheedle, to make crass remarks where common sense would have helped, to point-score and score-settle and do pointless manouvering where none were needed; she would be the next PM if it wasn't for Hain and Milliband. She is supremely unprincipled and therefore a genuine choice for any political job and she has no thought for anything except advancement, which makes her ideal for the modern age. She would do just as well in the Tory party and would have joined it but for the fact that when she started in politics, Labour were in office. She is clever in the sort of devious, ratlike sanctimonious half-thinking dreary way that characterises those who have never really learned anything, merely copied. She despises everyone and thinks only of her pathetic little caravan holidays. She is in short the finest Foreign Secretary Britain has ever had.

Anonymous said...

Harry Basset said...
When Mrs Beckett takes a caravan holiday does she sleep in it or have to pull it?

No she's too old for that she can't manage the hills. The Becketts are going to sell the caravan next year and buy a narrow boat instead. Giddap! :-)

Anonymous said...

Brilliant Martin Rowson cartoon of Beckett in today's Guardian:,,1284262,00.html

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:39am Owner of Roman Empire


Nihil rei publicae romanae desperandum est - do not despair of the Republic

I enjoyed your Comments

but I flatter myself that perhaps a point of disagreement between us is your favouring Senora Becket as our "finest Foreign Secretary"

Perhaps you might care to reconsider the merits of Castlereagh, Canning, Palmerston ... or even David Owen

As a resident of Derventio (especially if you live in Derby South), perhaps you could assist the Beloved Patria & help us all

This would be by encouraging your Friends in Derventio South to do the democratic & decent thing by Senora Becket by voting her out at the next Election

It is difficult to identify my debt to your Anonymous Articles - I thought I had been plagiarising Gibbon's Decline & Fall

Perhaps you could favour us with a code-word clue as to your identity

Then your articles might be found, with a view to improving my limited comprehension of the Empire

After all, there cannot be many still living in the old Roman Frontier Town of Derventio, who regard the Empire as their Bailiwick


G Eagle