Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Brown's bad week and it's only Tuesday

Gordon Brown is "leavin' on a jet plane" this morning for the UN in New York where he will bestride the world stage along with other global leaders like, er, Colonel Gaddafi.

It will be the Libyan leader's first visit to the US since he came to power in a coup 40 years ago. He will undoubtedly be paraded as the face of nuclear non-proliferation as he agreed to abandon his weapons research programme. I 've written about the tightrope Brown has to walk in today's Herald, which I've tried to link to below in an imaginative style. (Forgive me oh grand designer).

He leaves behind a bit of a mess - a hasty mini-reshuffle that doesn't include the dismissal of Baroness Scotland as Attorney General for breaking the law when she hired an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper. Number 10 is attempting to brazen this one out but the right wing blogosphere and the prints will be howling like wolves all day and all night for her.

Back in to government comes Margaret Hodge as Minister of State at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. She replaces Barbara Follett who is being moved to Communities and Local Government and takes on the the post left vacant by Sarah McCarthy-Fry MP, who moved to HM Treasury in June.

None of this affects Scotland, the nation, but it's not over for Baroness Scotland by any means. Mr Brown is satisfied that the Ministerial code has not been broken and there have been profuse apologies from the Baroness but this will now become a battle of wills between Downing St and the opposition, along with the press. Just how long can the Prime Minister have a chief law officer who has broken the law?

At the morning lobby briefing we were told there was nothing new to report on troop numbers in Afghanistan, even though the Times reports that there will be a request for 1000 more UK soldiers for the General McChrystyal troop surge. Climate change and the economy might be the theme of the speech in the UN but you can guess what will be talked about on the sidelines. It's never quiet here.

The Herald
22 Sep 2009

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