Sunday, 29 November 2009
IT'S GOODBYE TO BROWNE, THE WEEKEND ONLY SCOTTISH SECRETARY
So Des Browne is stepping down from parliament in 2010, after a 13 year career in parliament, serving as a minister in the governments of Blair and Brown.
The MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun announced his intention to stand down last night to a meeting of his constituency party.
He was for a short time both Secretary Of State for Defence and Secretary of State for Scotland and was roundly criticised for ineffectiveness in both roles. At one point he was asked how he managed to run two departments of state, particularly as the Ministry of Defence was, at the time prosecuting not one, but two wars. He replied that he looked after the Scotland office at weekends (which more or less let us know what he, and the government, thought about us here in “North Britain”). It also left me wondering when he ever had time to get any constituency work done.
He was thought by some to be a rather lightweight politician, controlled by the puppet master Blair, and later Brown. He was relieved of his ministerial responsibilities in 2008 after rumours that he was suffering from exhaustion.
He has decided to spend more time working for multilateral disarmament and conflict resolution, maybe a strange career path for a man who was in charge of two wars and voted for the renewal of Trident. His experience in conflict resolution got off to a bad start when Gordon Brown appointed him as Britain’s special envoy to Sri Lanka, without consulting the Sri Lankans. As a result the government of Sri Lanka rejected his appointment. Gordon, in his haste, had perhaps forgotten that the days of Empire were over and that the Sri Lankans aren’t any longer obliged to take whatever we throw their way.
Oh well. Another 'honourable gentleman' leaving the sinking ship that is the London Labour Party... and indeed the London parliament.
Doubtless, someone, some place, some time will miss him. Probably.