Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Keep her for entertainment, say I

I have been told by one of the less entertaining readers of this blog that I have out-Thornberried Ms Emily Thornberry of whom I had actually heard even before the low-grade scandal she was involved in that made her name so well known. Not many other people had. As insults go it is not much. I have had far better ones in my life but I do think a short paragraph about the former Shadow Attorney-General is a good way of starting a posting about entertainment in politics.

The whole Thornberry saga showed her stupidity, the ease with which her Leader could be thrown into panic and the general dullness and, as I said above, low grade of politics in this country. That, as it happens, is a good thing. Dull politics enlivened by the odd bout of entertainment is an excellent system to live under. A good many countries are envious of that, their politics being considerably more exciting and frightening. I do not wish to change things, not even to satisfy the People's Will.

All the same, entertainment is needed from time to time and the departure of Cherie Blair from the public scene has taken a good deal of it away. That is why we are so grateful to Ms Thornberry for brightening our days (just a few of them, to be sure, but it is better than nothing) as the new recruits to the People's Army are not likely to do that.

There is, however, another female politician who provides some entertainment (not on the Cherie scale but that was a superlative effort). I speak, of course, of the egregious Cathy Ashton or Baroness Ashton as she is better known, former High Panjandrum of the EU's Common Foreign Policy and before that many things, particularly Treasurer of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament though, apparently, she had no idea but none at all, where some of the funds came from.

As this blog mentioned before, la Ashton may have been superseded as the High Panjandrum but was staying on to "complete" the negotiations with Iran. Readers of this blog will not be surprised to hear that although, according to Secretary of State Kerry the negotiations have gone on very well, the deadline has again been pushed forward to next July.

The EU is now wondering what to do with la Ashton. Do we keep her till then, assuming that the deadline will undoubtedly have to be extended again?
For her part, Ashton - the EU’s former foreign policy chief, who has chaired the nuclear talks for the past 12 months - on Monday read out a joint EU-Iran statement and left the press room without taking questions.

She stepped down from her EU post on 1 November, but was kept in the nuclear talks until Monday’s initial deadline.

Her new boss, Italy’s Federica Mogherini, told press in Strasbourg the same day that she is consulting with the US and Germany on whether to keep Ashton in place until July.

“That’s for me to consider”, Mogherini noted. “It will be decided in the coming days”.

She added there is “a little bit of disappointment, we were all hoping for an agreement tonight [but there is] … also a little bit of hope”.

"It's important that negotiations will continue”.
Federica Mogherini is the new High Panjandrum and she has already provided us with one good story: on November 7 RFE/RL reported that her chief spokesperson, Catherine Ray, married a partner in a Brussels public relations firm that lobbied for Gazprom. Love, of course, can blossom in the most unlikely conditions but is there not a hint of a clash of interests here? Goodness me, no, announced the EU. Everything is ship-shape and Bristol fashion. I am rather looking forward to what else Signora Mogherini and her office might produce by way of entertainment.

However, we cannot rely on them solely or on Ms Thornberry whose days as a comedienne may well be over. We need Baroness Ashton as well. We also do not want her back in the House of Lords, demeaned though it has been by this and the Blair governments. Keep her on as negotiator-extraordinaire with Iran, say I.

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