Friday 18 April 2008

Angela Smith – who cares?

Am I the only one to really not care whether Angela Smith, Parliamentary Private Secretary to Yvette Cooper at the Treasury, resigns or not? Sure, Brown is in the, er…brown stuff, and he could certainly do without anyone drawing extra attention to the fury amongst Labour MPs at the abolition of the 10p tax rate for lower income workers.

But what are we really talking about here? PPSs by any stretch of the imagination are there to carry the books of their Ministerial masters, and not much else. Sure, some have used this as a springboard to a Ministerial post, but the exception tends to prove the rule.

The rather dithering Ms. Smith will no doubt use this episode to point to her “genuine concern” for the lower-paid employees in her constituency (and there are plenty in Sheffield), but neither her departure or lack of it is hardly likely to upset the workings of the Government.

I am reminded of Peter Mandelson’s contemptuous dismissal of the attempted ‘coup’ against Tony Blair, when Tom Watson resigned the day after a mysterious meeting with Gordon Brown, followed by a series of PPS departures:

“A junior Minister, five PPSs and a dog? Call that a coup?!”

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