… as Donald Rumsfeld famously said. Who’d have thought that David Blunkett, the Home Secretary (that’s Minister of the Interior to non-UK readers) would have a glamorous mistress (who also happens to be the publisher of a right-wing magazine)? I always thought of Blunkett as the kind of serious chap who, when not devising measures for curtailing civil liberties in the interests of “law and order”, read the works of St Thomas Aquinas. It just goes to show that, as my dear Ma used to say, one cannot judge a book by its cover.
Mr Blunkett has now fallen out with his inamorata and is involved in a dispute over (i) paternity rights and (ii) whether he used his influence improperly to secure a visa for her nanny. Item (i) is meat and drink to the British tabloid press, while (ii) is of great interest to the chattering classes. Accordingly, his extra-curricular activities tend to dominate the news agenda, much to the dismay of his boss, Tony Blair, who had fashioned an entire electoral strategy around Blunkett and his tough, no-nonsense, law ‘n order agenda.
It all reminds me of something that Harold Macmillan, Britain’s most entertaining post-war Prime Minister, once said. A journalist asked Mac what he feared most. “Events, dear boy, events”, he replied.