Wednesday, October 18, 2006

In Praise of... Charles Clarke!

My first "be nice about someone day" is dedicated to Charles Clarke.

Hello Mr Clarke, you used to be home secretaryOK. Long ago, in a land not unlike this one there were once a band of thieving trolls. They were called the Tories. These trolls were hated up and down the land, none more so than the Home Secretary troll, Michael Howard, who was the ugliest and meanest of them all.

Then one day the trolls were driven from the land and sent into a large, black, smelly hole and we all said "hurray" and "things can only get better" and we were particularly glad to see the back of Howard who liked to pick on single mothers and immigrants. He found their blood particularly tasty.

Howard was replaced by that lovely Mr Straw, and people said "Ooooo, he might not be perfect but he must be better than that horrid troll" even though Straw used to hide under bridges and eat people when they tried to cross.

He particularly didn't like disabled people because the wheels of their chairs were hard to digest and "Squeegy Merchants" because the bubbles made him burp. He would make comments about them in the press whilst secretly grinding their bones into flour to make bread. Then Jack's time came to leave and he was put in charge of foreign affairs, although he wasn't allowed to do anything because he wasn't trusted with all the bombs and pointy things.

Jackal StrawWe all went "hurray" and "things can only get better" when that nice blind troll Blunkett was put in charge. The Tory trolls had hated him because he was in charge of the "Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire" a utopia of a place where urchins kicked the backsides of judges with impunity and cackling old ladies knitted as aristos were given humiliating Chinese burns in the public squares.

"Oh dear, can we have Jack back" we said when we realised that Blunkett was, in fact, a crazy wizard who loved nothing more than to lock people up without trial in the deepest dungeons in the land and he hated immigrants even more than Howard ever did. Blunkett would prance up and down the offices of state wearing the disgorged remains of his enemies in a state of sexual tumescence, and he had a picture of King Herod on his wall.

Then one day the chief troll said "Hey, I like the way you kill, maim and horrify the people but stop putting your bits into places where they shouldn't go" so he was out. In fact, he was in so much trouble he was sacked more than once. Again and again he was sacked - now that was just mean and it made him cry.

In came jolly Mr Clarke. Although the policies remained the same and advanced on the paupers of our cities like an enraged plague rat he wasn't a happy man. He didn't enjoy it the way his predecessors had. He kept thinking about what he was doing and although the boss kept telling him to ratchet up the rhetoric it moved from blood curling glee to the mournful demenour of the torturer's apprentice. He didn't believe ID cards were a good idea, but did it out of loyalty. He didn't think juries were THAT bad, but still ordered his gangs to hang around the law courts whacking them with their cudgels.

Obey John Reid or face an indefinate control orderHis days were numbered for sure and eventually he was chucked out of office for letting foreigners run about the country stealing our apples, marrying our daughters and weeing in public fountains. So for a small brief period the people of the land could get on with being squeezed in the vice without having their noses rubbed in it, and just to make sure we all knew the difference between Clarke, the humble and thoughtful poker of eyes, and a truly terrible troll they brought in "Chopper" Reid to replace him.

John Reid was an ex-Communist Party troll and so really knew how to stomp on heads and set fire to hijabs. There he sits to this day in the Home Office, gorging himself on the feet of small boys and staring at heart shaped pictures of Enver Hoxha.

When all is said and done, and looking at our home secretaries as a group Clarke was the best since 1979, he put a human face to the erosion of civil liberties and at least he had the grace to feel bad about what he was doing, even if he didn't feel so bad that he actually stopped doing it. Bring him back I say, and put "Chopper" Reid down that dark and smelly hole.

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