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Return of the undead

But for the grace of God, are there any loathsome politicians out there who you sometimes feel you may have ended up like? I have one. His name is Alan Milburn, a man who I sometimes look like and sound like, which for those of you who know the difference really is quite a cross to bear.

Mr Milburn used to be the Secretary of State for Health, here in the UK, until his shock resignation in 2003. We may never know the real reason why he resigned. But when Alan visited me in a nightmare recently, in the guise of my former Marxist Dark Half, he told me he flounced out of government because Tony Blair had become incapable of protecting him from Gordon Brown’s prime ministerial ambition.

But it seems Alan is regretting his flounce and is trying to worm his way back into Tony’s ministerial cash box. This morning, on Radio4’s Today programme, he spent a lengthy chat with James Naughtie banging on about the glorious work-life balance achievements of Scandinavian-style socialism. You can imagine my joy listening to this nauseous bilge, as I circulated around the M25 on my way to earning yet more tax to pay for this Geordie parasite’s Chardonnay lifestyle. But one of his supposed claims really ate into me, as I mentally rehearsed the business presentation I had to deliver this afternoon.

This is the assertion that companies should lower working hours and improve child-friendly work policies, not because this is a nice socialist thing to do, but because this makes companies more productive and more efficient, if only the fools would realise it.

I suspect if this really were true, then all wildly successful business people would spontaneously adopt such measures without any need for Mr Milburn’s expensive regulatory touch, but then I had a wild spontaneous thought of my own.

If Mr Milburn’s work-life balance assertion were true, and British company bosses were being so stupid in failing to adopt its measures, this would mean that there are whole swathes of British industry laying wide open to entrepreneurs willing to adopt Mr Milburn’s ideas. If such entrepreneurs were as clever as Mr Milburn in realising how efficient they could become by following his ideas, they would quickly become far more successful than their stupid competitors and clean them out by providing better and cheaper services to consumers in every possible line of business.

So just what is it that is stopping Mr Milburn, and all the union leaders who also support his assertion, from taking over the whole of British industry with fully work-life balanced companies? Is it, perhaps, that Mr Milburn is talking out his derriere again, as he did for several years as Health Secretary, and would be incapable of managing his way out of a colostomy bag without a big fat government subsidy?

Or is this just a feeble plea, to Tony, to come and rescue Alan from backbench obscurity and a mere hundred and sixty grand a year in salary and expenses?

As Tony has now run out of useful idiots, as his New Labour lies have come home, expect Mr Milburn to be given a big fat job spouting defensive hot air for Tony sometime in the next few months, where Alan can spend five days a week at home achieving a big fat taxpayer-funded work-life balance. Nice work, if you are morally bankrupt enough to get it.

7 comments to Return of the undead

  • Charles Copeland

    Just thought I’d make your day, Andy!

    But you’re spot on. The Americans have a saying for it: “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?”

    In fact, this kind of patronising second-guessing on the part of the left establishment is somehow even more galling than the old-fashioned socialist appproach. At least old-school socialists were intelligent enough to realise that entrepreneurs weren’t so dumb that they couldn’t recognise their own best interests. The new-school is so dumb it thinks it could do the capitalist job even better than the business community itself — whether it concerns ‘work-life balance’, diversity, or whatever.

    Pathetic — Milburn is truly an insult to the brain.

  • Charles Copeland

    Sorry, Andy!

    I forgot to add something about how ‘race and IQ’ come into the picture. I was hoping the mugshot of Milburn might suggest he has some Sub-Saharan streak. BUT JAYSUS HE’S WHITE AS THE DRIVEN SNOW! HE’S EVEN WHITER THAN FRIGGING DETERGENT! He’s like something out of the Aryan Racial Purity Guide….

    I am shocked and dismayed ….

  • Verity

    “In the next few months” … Blair isn’t able to think that far in advance (except in his dreams of his coronation under the Arc de Triumph in a year or two). Once they’ve trailed this much notice, Milburn will be back in five weeks max. They’re that obvious.

    Blair’s moving ever more frenetically. He’s forcing things through as though he were Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria. Except Ludwig did not have a parliament and he had good taste and costumes Tony would die for.

    Why has Blair suddenly become so reckless? He has quickened his pace of destroying Britain over the last few weeks despite the accumulating knowledge that the British won’t back him. I’ve always said he looked mad.

    Doesn’t he know he can’t bind his successors? When we walk away from the EU, what are the brave earringed, hair-dyed and permanently-waved Dutch army going to do about it? Refuse to put up new curtains in the barracks?

    What Milburn’s back for, who knows? But Tony’s getting reckless. Over the last month he has become more and more reckless and imperious. He no longer has Cabinet meetings, he has “summits”. In his own home? Is he mad?

  • Julian Taylor

    I thought he resigned for “I want to spend more time with my family” reasons aka “no I did NOT have an affair with a researcher in my office and yes I AM aware of how old she was” …

  • You have my undying sympathy (but not for long). Have you considered plastic surgery and a voice coach?

  • HJ

    Andy, you may think you have problems. I look like Robert Fisk.

    Give me that old sub-Saharan look any day.

  • Andy Duncan


    How dare you imply such things. Next, you might suggest that Gordon Brown is a closet gay and only got married and had a kid so he could be Prime Minister. It’s shocking, it’s an outrage, I shall write to my MP! 🙂


    The plastic surgery could be an option, but if it goes really badly wrong I could end up looking like Robin Cook! 😉

    As for the voice, I think I’m stuck with it now (sort of a blend of Cumberland – which sounds to many like Geordie -, Yorkshire, and Army barracks English — it’s a long and very dull story).


    I recently heard Penelope Cruz was getting a bit tired of Tom, and looking for someone more cerebral, someone perhaps like Robert Fisk? It could’ve just been a rumour! 😉