Thankfully for those of who have been out of the country for the past fortnight, Graeme Archer has all the news.
1. Gordon Brown is still Prime Minister. We know this because he wrote anÂ article for The Times yesterday about The Digital Revolution, in which he claimed that the Internet is ‘as vital’ as water and gas. It’s not clear from the article what form of gas the PM believes to be equal in importance to the internet: oxygen, presumably, although given the miasma of lies and smears which passed for the last PM press conference (‘Did you want to replace Alistair Darling as Chancellor, Prime Minister?’ – ‘No, no, not at all’) it is conceivable that a more malodourous gaseous form, connected perhaps with lentil consumption, may have been on his mind. In any event, readers should not be alarmed: so far, the government intends to make us pay for web access for All Britons, rather than forcing us to choose between having either water, or broadband, connected to our homes.
2. Peter Mandelson is in charge of Everything, with the exception of gas and water. He has approximately 2,400 ministers, including Baroness Esther Rantzen of Luton Parkway (the Five Genitally-Shaped Fruit ‘N VegÂ Per Day Tsarina), Lord Amstrad of Spurs (the Buy-To-Let Property Tsar – this government knows how to ride a wave!) and Shahid Malik MP, unless it transpires, as seems plausible, that Mr Malik is ‘renting’ one of his several forgotten offices from an outpost of the Amstrad Empire, in which case Mr Malik will once again step aside while his expense claims are once more cleared by Sir Basil Wire-Brush, the Prime Minister’s ‘Transparency and Whitewashing’ Tsar.
3. There is to be an Enquiry into Why The Iraq War Was Brilliantly Conceived And A Total Success In Every Dimension, which will be the first Public Enquiry established under the PM’s New Doctrine Of Transparency. So transparent is the enquiry that we can all see right through to its conclusions, years before it’s due to report! When asked about the legitimacy of an Enquiry to be conducted in secret, with no powers of attribution, the PM’s spokesman smiled gnomically and muttered something about trees falling in forests and the clapping of solitary hands. ‘A triumph for the democratic process’, writes disinterested observer Lord Hutton.
4. ID Cards will be scrapped, hint shadowy friends of new Home Secretary Alan Johnson, whose famous capacity for intellectual rigour (‘Like my new shades?’) leaves Tories trembling with fear. Asked why this vital tool in the War Against (domestic) Terror should suddenly be given the heave, after being the central plank of New Labour’s Transparent Terror Strategy for what feels like the last ten thousand years, Mr Johnson crooned a reply while strumming his guitar: ‘We’re gonna read all yer emails anyway, matey-boy, so who needs the plastic card? Fank you very much’.
5. Ed Balls and Liame Byrne are so completely aligned in their view on future government spending that there’s simply no need anymore for the Chief Secretary to the Treasury to give press conferences – all government spending plans (‘It’s gonna be massive!’) will be shared with the public through the near-constant stream of lifestyle interviews in ‘Hello!’ with cuddly, loveable Schools Secretary Balls. Mr Byrne, locked in his Treasury Office (‘This way, Mr Byrne, through that door there, that’s it’ – click) wiles away his time with his ultra-effective Twittering strategy (‘David ten percent Cameron will sack eight million nurses LOL #labourfail’).
6. Harriet Harman is to announce [that’s enough government round-up – Ed].