Blunkett is toast

by Chris Bertram on December 15, 2004

So “David Blunkett has resigned”: . I felt pretty sympathetic to him concerning his private life, but let us all hope that his policy agenda departs with him.



Kevin Donoghue 12.15.04 at 7:14 pm

“Anyone who says four times that he won’t resign, will” (Galbraith, endorsed by D-squared)

Was anybody counting?


harry 12.15.04 at 7:54 pm

Yes, I liked him less as Home Sec than as Ed Sec, even, but he never seemd dishonest, and I too had sympathy over his private life issues. But he has done well by resigning. Imagine, imagine, a member of a US Cabinet resigning over something like this.


Deb Frisch 12.15.04 at 7:59 pm

Here’s a post about Blunkett’s scary attempt to make it a crime to say that Christianity’s kooky.


dsquared 12.15.04 at 8:46 pm

I was counting, and including his statement on the lunchtime news, I make it a Galbraith score of 3 (once at the beginning of the whole thing, once in response to Diane Abbott and once today). Either there’s been structural change since the 1960s or Blunkett jumped the gun.

I have to say that I don’t share the sympathy about his private life; you lose basically all my sympathy when you send lawyers to harass a seven month pregnant woman. There is some room for hope regarding the policy agenda; Clarke is not short of bluster, arrogance or mindless populism, but I don’t think he actually hates people in the way Blunkett seemed to.


jdsm 12.15.04 at 8:48 pm

I think his policy agenda was misunderstood. My sister, who actually works for the met, told me ID cards would actually help a lot. As for all this nonsense about the new bill on religious hatred, if ever there was a storm in a tea cup it was this one. All it’s intended to do is put Islam on a par with christianity. It’s poorly written but that’s not what most of the complaints are about.


Matt McGrattan 12.15.04 at 8:52 pm

Good riddance to him.

Frankly couldn’t give a monkey’s about his personal life but his actions as Home Secretary have been unforgivable.

Unfortunately, I’d be very surprised if the authoritarian policy agenda changes. Blunkett after all was continuing, in a more enthusiastic manner, with the policy set under Jack Straw during his tenure as Home Secretary.

I’d imagine Peter Hain might be a natural choice as next Home Secretary. Good leftie credentials, perfect for ramming home the Blairite law and order agenda.


nick 12.15.04 at 9:50 pm

Can anyone name the last un-authoritarian Home Secretary? Hurd, perhaps? There certainly seems to be something about the Home Office that brings out the truncheon in politicians.


Martin Wisse 12.15.04 at 10:39 pm

I do not feel sympathy for his attempts to wreck his ex-lover’s life, his obssession with getting what HE regards as HIS rights and dammn the consequences to anybody else; he reminds me of nothing as much as those clowns in Fathers for Justice.

He had a massive sense of entitlement only matched by his hypocrisy.

He was a crap home secretary, authoritarian, with more thought for the headlines than for good policy.

Good riddance.


Giles 12.15.04 at 11:09 pm

While I didn’t agree with much of what he’s done, personally I have a lot of respect for the guy. Leaving aside the fact that he dragged himself up through an extremely difficult background, he was, from labors perspective a highly effective Home Secretary – responsible in part for putting Labor ahead of the Tories on home issues.

Although a lot of people are critiscing him for not being “liberal” enough, I think this misses the point. His policies probably played well in the “conservative” labor heartlands i.e. oop north and without him, the labor government, from Salford, probably looks a little overloaded with islington latte lads. I expect that the Lib Dems, and BNP, are going to scent some opportunities here.


dsquared 12.15.04 at 11:13 pm

I’d also add that fiddling your expenses is actually theft, which is not really a trivial crime, and a full fare first class train ticket is about a hundred quid. People do go to jail for this sort of thing, particularly if they’re members of the working class who Blunkett was so keen to talk about.

Speaking as one of the victims of this crime (ie, I pay UK tax), I wish that all those bloody Hampstead liberals who are keen to overlook it would think about the victim for a change. Tough on crime? …


dsquared 12.15.04 at 11:24 pm

Giles, do you have any figures to support the assertion that authoritarian policies are popular in the North of England?

I know you’re wrong about “Islington Latte Lads”. For one thing, you’re being pretty ignorant about the London Borough of Islington here; it’s no posher than Salford and contains some of the toughest estates in London (your Mancs would not last ten minutes down Green Lanes). For another, the Cabinet currently contains precisely two MPs for London constituencies (Tessa Jowell and Paul Boateng). Since we account for rather more than 10% of the UK’s population, I think this is actually pretty poor.


mikes 12.15.04 at 11:25 pm

Aren’t memories short. Have you all forgotten dom Blunkett’s tenure in Sheffield and the fact (I know these are in short supply at CT) that his erstwhile constituency is still bleeding from his evangelical socialism.


mikes 12.15.04 at 11:59 pm

Such short memories. The budget of Sheffield met council still bleeds it’s taxpayer’s money thanks to Dom Blunkett.


Giles 12.16.04 at 12:27 am

No figures, just speculation that the people who are most likely to be victims of crime are the poor and so the poor tend to favor policies that are much tougher on crime. I’m using North – South as a metaphor for this as opposed to an exact geographical delimitation.

However given that most of the media/informed comment is biased towards being London based and given that Blair is a reasonably canny operator, why has he hung on to Blunkett for so long? Perhaps because he realizes that Blunkett plays well in the out of the way poor parts of Britain in the North that aren’t regularly canvassed for their opinions by the media. Interestingly these are also the places where the BNP does quite well.

And Milbank long ago removed the link that a local MP actually had to be from the area.


jam 12.16.04 at 1:45 am

Echo Martin Wisse’s comments on his private life.

But your hope that “his” policies will depart with him is forlorn. They are Home Office policies, not the property of any particular Home Secretary. I’m sure Charles Clarke (is that the new Home Sec?) will pursue them with the same vigour that Blunkett showed; ministers lose credibility with their civil servants if they don’t push the departmental line sufficiently strongly.


vik 12.16.04 at 8:56 am

Hm I think attacking his policies is fair game especially given their mean-spiritedness but claiming that Blunkett’s move in attempting to get access rights to his children, even at the obvious price of his career, is somehow negatively a “massive sense of entitlement only matched by his hypocrisy” rather than a surprisingly brave and moral decision from a politician is puzzling. Please say you have never had kids yourself as ignorance is the only even semi-plausible excuse for that sentiment.

As for him and his relationship with Ms. Fortier, I dont think any of us can really comment on it given our lack of facts, let alone go so far as to say his motivation is to “wreck his ex-lover’s life,” even were that relevant.


dsquared 12.16.04 at 9:12 am

Vik, do you not think that it might have been better to leave off the lawyers while Ms Fortier was in the final trimester?


reuben 12.16.04 at 9:20 am

your Mancs would not last ten minutes down Green Lanes

In the interest of science, I should point out that for the last two years, one of my best mates, a Manc, has lived on Green Lanes. He’s done just fine.

Re Blunkett, I was no fan of his heavy-handed policies, but on the personal level I think the chivalry being shown to Kimberly Quinn is more than a bit misplaced. If it’s BLunkett’s child, he has every right – and indeed a duty – to know and raise it. His desire to do so doesn’t make him a Fathers 4 Justice-type freak, and perhaps those who are condemning him for wanting to know his son should ask themselves what they would do in the same situation. If your answer is “walk quietly away from the child”, and you think that’s the moral response, well…

(And to those who feel that the cuckolded husband should be left to raise the child with the cheating spouse, with “Uncle David” visiting once a year with nice pressies for his “favourite godson”, how do you know that said husband wouldn’t have eventually found out, etc, possibly leaving the child in a particularly bad lurch? Given Kim Quinn’s track record, I wouldn’t opt for maritable bliss as my default position estimate.)

Re a possible return (surely it’s not too early in the news cycle to talk about that) I think it’s highly likely. Labour likes having a hard man who can appeal to the Daily Mail crowd; Blunkett fulfilled that role, and as soon as Labour start losing points to the Tories, I think they’ll bring him back in to shore up their “tough on criminals and brown-skinned immigrants” credentials.


reuben 12.16.04 at 9:24 am

Oopos – that’s Fortier, not Quinn. Where’s my coffee?


lth 12.16.04 at 11:25 am

Bye bye to the third-most evil man in mainstream British politics at the moment (behind Darth Howard and Kilroy-Silk). As has been commented, we will probably still end up with ID cards, which is a Bad Thing IMHO.


vik 12.16.04 at 11:45 pm


Yes that is a very good point…i think he should have waited until after the birth to go to the courts but i was under the impression that he had launched the whole court saga before it was known that she was pregnant..I’m not sure about that though but in either case, emotion has definitely won out over reason on both her and his sides in my opinion…

as to blunkett’s return prospects, i am conflicted about this. on the one hand, the manner in which he has left seems ridiculous and in need of correction but then again his policies are pretty obnoxious to say the least…maybe it would be better if he was put in charge of something where he couldnt do much damage if he returns though i can’t say offhand what that would be…

Comments on this entry are closed.