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Hurrah for John Prescott

The Deputy Prime Minister is in trouble again. Apparently he has had a rest from the toils of office to play croquet at his grace-and-favour mansion. This has lead the something-must-be-done crowd to accuse him of slacking and call for his resignation. Apparently ministers – even ones without portfolio – are supposed to spend their every waking hour governing us.

Since Samizdata’s point of view (generally speaking) is that we would really rather be governed less, then I submit this is the sort of ministerial behaviour we want to see more of. With luck, it might spread to the Senior Civil Service, and stop the more serious business of the bureacratic dictatorship. Then Prescott would merit a dukedom. Meanwhile he certainly gets marks for making Britain a worse place more slowly than he might, and at the same time showing up the miserable priggishness of his political colleagues.

Or would you choose a world where a pleasant afternoon is better spent in a committee meeting figuring out how best to control other people’s lives, rather than enjoying a gentle game in the open air?

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19 comments to Hurrah for John Prescott

  • Paul Marks

    If only your article were true. In fact Mr Precott has been a hyper active minister – if we mean by this someone who makes (bad) changes (rather than just reading reports and going to meetings).

    Such things as his “Code of Conduct” (which restricts the right of local councilors to vote or even speak against govenment policy) are well known.

    However, even in his dying days in charge of the Office of Deputy Prime Minister (his Empire has now been reduced) he was busy causing harm.

    For example, as the “Sunday Telegraph” reported yesterday he personally ordered a farm in the southeast of England to be bought by the government (at the cost of millions of pounds) and then ordered it ruined – many attractive plants destroyed by high strength weed killer, and ground nests of birds smashed to bits.

    All because he wanted to create a “childrens play area” (in spite of the fact that there were already three parks within a mile of the farm).

    I know most people think Mr Prescott is amusing, but he is not.

    As for his social activties.

    It has always been the mark of an effective minister (for good – or, more normally, for ill) that they have plenty of spare time.

    It is the ministers who (as I mentioned above) who read endless reports and go to meeting after meeting who never get anything done.

  • guy herbert

    That was then. Now he’s relatively harmless.

    His vile former department survives, sad to say. It were better it had been abolished altogether. Most departments have some valid functions, but I can’t think of any reason for it to exist at all, though I’m ready to be corrected.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes you have a point – Mr Presott (if he really has had his powers taken away) may be fairly harmless (so I must admit that I was wrong above).

    However, I am still unable to think of his as a figure of fun (although I accept that we might get rid of him more quickly if we all just giggled at him).

    There have been too many stories of him sexually touching women (without their consent) for me to find him amusing.

    On the point about most government departments having useful functions, I do not agree with you.

    However, I do agree that nothing in Mr Prescott’s empire had any useful fuction.

  • RAB

    Here’s what Littlejohn has to say in the Mail.

    “Two Jags, with his, er , two Jags, his four homes, his concubines, his foul breath, his croquet lawns, his gutbucket waistline, his nasty politics of resentment and entitlement, his kleptomaniac approach to office; this disgusting thick yobbo is the snarling, belching, wheezing, secretary- molesting incarnation of what Blair and Brown and the entire corrupt cabal of “New” Labour gangsters have done to Britain.
    Things can only get better.”

    Just thought I’d mention it.

  • veryretired

    More croquet, less government.

    Has a nice, light-hearted ring to it. I’ll drink to that.

  • John K

    I was just looking at an old article in The Spectator from 1987. It contains a profile of Bryan Gould (remember him?). He had just been given the job by Neil Pillock of drawing up a programme to cut unemployment, described as “a direct snub to that most unattractive of politicians, John Prescott, the shadow employment spokesman.”

    Prescott has always been a shit, it’s finally catching up with him. If the coup de grace comes because this obtuse thug has been snapped playing croquet, then the irony will be delicious.

  • No the irony is the fact that his socialist supporters are turning on him for being seen playing the “upper-class” sport of croquet.

  • Croquet….hoe…er..upperclass.

  • I do hope he pisses off and enjoys a lot more croquet, preferably on his own dime, as the Americans would say. An acquaintance of mine once went for an interview for some sort of accountancy gig at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and was flabbergasted when he learned that they employ over 6,000 people in the department. It’s now been rebranded the “Department for Communities and Local Government” and given, their website says, “a powerful remit to”, well, screw things up even further. Great. Just what we all need.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I personally think that it is a sign of a well-adjusted man or woman who can take time off to play a game. Eisenhower was mocked for his golf passion, as was Gladstone for cutting down trees, or Heath for his musical conducting and yachting. But I think it is a good thing if a politician has interests outside public affairs. I suspect there is a hint of snobbery here: (“what is a northern oik doing playing croquet?”)

    By all means bash this unpleasant man, but let’s do so for serious reasons, not petty stuff like this.

  • guy herbert

    You couldn’t go very far wrong with a reform that involved abolishing every government office or public institution, and making everyone redundant, that has the word “community” or “communities” in their title.

  • Or Guy any government office that includes a particular type of person. IE Minister for Women etc…

  • Julian Taylor

    This has lead the something-must-be-done crowd to accuse him of slacking and call for his resignation.

    But exactly what would Mr Prescott actually resign from? While the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister may not be, to quote Garner out of context, “not worth a pitcher of warm piss” Prescott’s office is now known as the ‘Department for Communities and Local Government ‘ (meaning, of course, exactly the opposite of that) and he doesn’t even get a mention – rather Ruth Kelly gets the glory for that department. It might have been far better to state that all this sad creature gets to do is to play croquet while subsidised at an approximate cost to the British taxpayer of £1300.00 per day.

  • Andrew Duffin

    Guy I concur entirely, with one reservation; if you think croquet is a gentle game, then one must conclude that you have never played it…

  • John K

    By all means bash this unpleasant man, but let’s do so for serious reasons, not petty stuff like this.

    But that’s the joy of it. After all the mess this monster has left in his wake, the tipping point might be a game of croquet.

  • watcher in the dark

    Even I, as a working class Yorkshireman, knows that croquet is a good game but requires a lot of decent-to-good lawn to enjoy it fully.

    I suppose Two Jags has a well manicured lawn at his disposal. However don’t by fooled by his lack of political activity while using the mallet – he will have a tub load of departmental minions and state lackeys preparing his “plans” in detail while he relaxes.

  • The word “community” or it’s plural is the ultimate political gimme word – it can be defined along Humpty Dumpty/Alice in Wonderland lines (“When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less”). Thus Muslims become the “Muslim community”, we get the “alcohol-consumption community” (formerly known as a pub) and other politically convenient descriptions that mirror reality about as much as the current government’s economic policies do.

    I’ve been contemplating emigration to the States. John Prescott is one major tick in the “leave” column.

  • Well at least he is not perving anyone’s mellons when he is playing Croquet.

  • rc

    “is that we would really rather be governed less, then I submit this is the sort of ministerial behaviour we want to see more of.”

    You think? Yeah, he didn’t destroy the last remnants of nearly 1000 years of progress towards parllimentary democracy today because he was a little stressed and needed a game of croquet to unwind and besides, he can always catch up tomorrow…

    Whew! What a relief? The world needs a boat-load of these guys!