November 29, 2004

Blunket's Days Look Numbered

Far be it from Maggies Pants to suggest that a sense of schadenfreude greets the news that David Blunket is in deep trouble. First he embarrasses the government by contesting the parentage of (possibly) his illegitimate child with his former lover Kimberly Quinn - probably a first for a politician that one! Then he's caught up in allegations of sleaze. His accusers say that he used his position to aid the visa application Mrs Quinn's nanny. Blunket says he only looked over the papers to check that they were correct. He's also accused of sharing confidential security information with Mrs Quinn, giving her a first-class train ticket which had been assigned to him, using bodyguards at taxpayers' expense and using a government chauffeur to drive her around. At worst, if any of it is true, Blunket has to go. At best, if Blunket is telling the truth, he's still a liability to the government. The press smell blood and the vultures are circling. If he were to leave, few people would shed a tear. Blunket is, after all, the most authoritarian home secretary in living memory. He's presided over a set of security legislation that has stripped individual freedoms and turned the country into a virtual police state. An overstatement? Not if you think that the Police (and particularly untrained Community Support Officers) now have the power to stop, search and arrest anybody, anywhere, without suspicion under new counter-Terrorism powers. Indeed, the powers are greater than at any time during WWII. Still, there is one benefit to all this - whatever the result of the current scandal, it should at least have ended any lingering hopes Blunket had of becoming PM one day.