“The job matters to the person who holds it, but to absolutely no one else.”

With the devolved Assembly up and running, for now, some of the NIO ministerial team were, obviously, surplus to requirements.. and so, with a hearty handshake, the Secretary of State for Wales etc, Peter Hain, sent back to their constituencies David Cairns and David Hanson.. [David Hanson also got a new brief – Ed] Still on board are Maria Eagle and Paul Goggins – who just happen to be members of the campaign team for his bid to become deputy leader of the Labour Party. He faces strong competition for that post though. Not least from Alan Johnson who today announced his list of the 64 MPs backing him.. including, you’ve guessed it, David Cairns and David Hanson. Of course there are those who argue the irrelevant position should be abolished..

The Labour deputy leadership is about as significant as the vice-presidency of the United States used to be in the days when one holder famously compared it to a bucket full of warm piss.

  • Yokel

    What a co-incidence that Hain shifts his two non supporters out.

    It probably is just circumstance but it could look like something else.

  • Surely, Alan Johnson has this job bagged up and ready to go.

    While “Deputy Prime Minister” is as specious as a polished jobbie, “Deputy Leader of the Labour Party” is definitely not analogous to John Nance Garner’s “bucket of warm piss” (no bowdlerising on Slugger, please).

    Assuming a bourgeois, Scottish academic Leader, the Party needs a Swiss Army Knife, wiv uh werkin clars Lunnun accent, preferably in sound possession of a Constituency not-too-far-north of the Humber, to keep the constituencies, unions and affiliates on side. And to smooch the National Executive. The job description does not fit the super-smooth pastry-fork of an ex-Young Liberal with a colonial background.

    So watch for the carve-up of the bonuses after 27th June.

  • Pete Baker


    You can blame Martin Kettle for the bowdlerising.

    But I’ve seen Alan Johnson repeatedly mentioned as the most likely candidate to be left holding that “bucket full of warm piss”..