Thursday, July 20, 2006

Only little parts left at Whitehall

Devastating political deconstruction. If I could write like this guy….

From The Daily Telegraph, Simon Heffer just takes British Foreign Minister Margaret Beckett apart in one of the most brutal and exact disassembling of a senior sitting political figure I have read in a long time. This is so well written and effused with facts that I don’t see how the Foreign Secretary can respond. If she is smart, she will ignore it and the interview where she put the hilt to the deck, the point to her chest, and slipped. If she wore one, I would tell her she needs to stop by and see Mr. Heffer – not only did he eat her lunch, he has her jock.
Hearing our Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, being interviewed on the Today programme reminded one of some of the reasons why they abolished bear-baiting. As Jim Naughtie probed her about Britain's response to the crisis in the Middle East, one could not be sure what Mrs Beckett was trying to conceal more: the general lack of a coherent foreign policy by the Blair administration or her own utter inadequacy in her role as one of the alleged titans of international diplomacy.

Even my children, aged 10 and 12 and not yet candidates for the Foreign Office exam, know that this is all part of the same problem, as does the entire electorate. … we have a Foreign Secretary as out of her depth as it is possible to be without actually drowning. … experience of foreign affairs has been limited to the more exotic excursions of the Caravan Club …

Mrs Beckett has a long parliamentary experience, during which she has for reasons either of conviction or self-interest passed through almost every imaginable incarnation of Leftist before attaining her present lofty position: Bennite, Footite, Kinnockite, Smithite and, of course, Blairite. Her sovietical ability to give utter loyalty to whomever is in charge of her party at the time, and to detect which way the wind is blowing before many of her confreres feel it rustling their
hair, explains where she is now.

Mr Blair long ago decided to be his own foreign secretary. The last incumbent, Jack Straw, was increasingly humiliated by this, demoted as he was to the status of bag-carrier and also-ran. Mrs Beckett has taken on these tasks with glee.

The Government's foreign policy is, not least in its divorce from our poor defence policy, incoherent in the extreme.

So we have a Government that awaits orders from America, an opposition that refuses to engage, and the makings of the third world war. Perhaps Mr Blair should "just talk", but preferably to some foreign policy experts, and tell the rest of us definitively where we are going in the world.
Even if only half on target; devastating. Almost as painful to read as the latest from Annapolis. That being said, there is one other great thing from this bit. A classic Churchill quote.
… (an) exchange between Selwyn Lloyd and Churchill when the former was appointed a minister of state at the Foreign Office under Eden in 1951. "I was flabbergasted. I wondered whether it was a case of mistaken identity. . . I said: 'But Sir, I think there must be some mistake. I do not speak any foreign language. Except in war, I have never visited any foreign country. I do not like foreigners.' He [Churchill] replied: 'Young man, these all seem to me to be positive advantages.' "

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