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Tony Blair's upward mobility [Jan. 27th, 2010|12:50 pm]
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A light-hearted knockabout at Prime Minister's Questions today. Gordon Brown has been stuck in Northern Ireland since Monday, trying to prevent the collapse of the devolved government there. I hope he packed enough shirts. So we had the B team of Harriet Harman and William Hague. They locked horns (gently) over Afghanistan and a little more angrily over how to reform the banks. Harman does a nice line in self-deprecating humour. After her recent brush with the courts over a motoring offence, she said of Hague: "His reversing [on policy] is even worse than mine."
The most interesting exchanges came when Vince Cable, who is the Liberal Democrats' deputy leader as well as Treasury spokesman, raised today's major study showing that Labour has not closed the inequality gap since 1997. This was clever politics because it allowed him a pop at the Tories as well as Labour. Harman, who commissioned the study, naturally gave a rather selective version of it and blamed Labour's inheritance from the Tories. A bit rich after almost 13 years in power. So, literally, was Harman's unwitting description of Tony Blair's mega earnings as an example of social mobility. That brought guffaws from everyone, including Harman's ministerial colleagues. If only we could all be as socially mobile as Blair.