Fantasy Joinery 56

I should like to think that John Major’s attack is a sympton of the establishment washing its hands of Tony Blair, as the US extablishment once backed away from Joe McCarthy after worshipping him.

I hold the deeply unfashionable view that John Major was the best Prime Minister in my lifetime, out of a deeply depressing bunch. I was born in 1958.

Assuming you might find that thought surprising, I might surprise you further by my solution in a little fantasy game – compiling the best possible Cabinet from current parliamentarians.

Prime Minister Malcolm Rifkind

Deputy Prime Minister Andrew Mackinlay

Chancellor Kenneth Clarke

Foreign Secretary Charles Kennedy

Home Secretary Simon Hughes

Defence Secretary Jeremy Corbyn

Education Sarah Teather

Health Hilary Benn

DFID Baroness Chalker

Trade and Industry David Davis

Environment and Rural Affairs Alistair Carmichael

Lord Chancellor Lord Phillips of Sudbury

Transport and Communications Dai Davies

Chief Secretary John Redwood

Work and Pensions Vince Cable

Energy and Climate Change Alan Whitehead

That’s enough of a Cabinet to be going on with, and organised differently to the current and shadow ones. No, I’m not joking. Dai Davies’ key task would be to renationalise the mail and railways. You can guess my reasoning on the others, if you can stop spluttering.

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56 thoughts on “Fantasy Joinery

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  • Subrosa

    Would agree with you about John Major Craig but not about Malcolm Rifkind, unless you mean how he was 25 years ago. He was certainly an astute and charismatic politician in these days and one of the best debaters around.

    12 out of 16 for you then. Not bad and an interesting exercise.

    (No devolution minister?)

  • Dave Weeden

    I don’t know if I agree that Major was the best PM of my lifetime (I was born in 1962); that may have been Wilson (kept us out of Vietnam, for one thing), but of my adult life – certainly!

    Also agree with Subrosa that Rifkind is long past his best, and have never felt confident of John Redwood’s sanity, but a very good list.

  • anticant

    I’m glad you like Sarah Teather. She’s my MP and a bright, honest, non-troughing thoroughly hard working one. She not merely acknowledges correspondence from constituents promptly and at length, but often sends a follow-up brief on action she’s taken. I wish there were more like her.

    I was born in 1927, and I’m not sure who was the best PM during my lifetime – I could make a case for Baldwin, who was a social healer though woefully inept on foreign policy. No prizes for guessing the worst, though – Tony Blair!

  • tony_opmoc

    Anyone who suggests anyone for the Department of Climate Change, should also suggest someone for The Ministry of Silly Walks


  • Craig

    It’s a couple of years since I last met Rifkind, but unless anything happened in the interim, he very much had all his marbles. I think we badly undervalue age and experience in our politicians. Rifkind made perhaps the best speech against the Iraq War.

  • anticant

    Blair worse than Chamberlain? Yes, indeed. They were both self-deceivers, and manipulative operators, but Chamberlain was utterly sincere though purblind and I doubt if you can say the same about Blair. Chamberlain vainly sought to avoid more senseless slaughter, while Blair appeared to relish it.

    Another strong candidate for best PM is Attlee – still a much underrated one but a better and less devious Labour leader than Harold Wilson.

  • John Major

    This is the most not inconsiderable bogus sham in peacetime since the war and that is the unanimous verdict of us all. What we wunt…

  • Leo

    Major’s a stinking hypocrite and an opportunist.

    Funny timing to denounce the war, when it’s past the point where it’ll affect the war and yet convenient to help the other party at the coming elections.

    Major says he believed Blair based on the evidence Blair showed at the time. What evidence? There was none. Now Major says that new information sheds doubt on that evidence. New information, like the UN weapons inspectors saying AT THE TIME that there was virtually no chance of Iraq having WMDs?

    Many of the people I knew AT THE TIME saw through the lies; surely Major could have as well, especially given he would have been privy both to more inside information and to the workings of the US and UK governments and the schemes and lies people would try to pull.

    There is no way in hell Major didn’t know the war was predicated on lies unless he is a complete and utter moron, which I doubt he is.

    Major would have supported the 2nd gulf war just the same as he supported the 1st.

    And for him to then complain about spin and slogans when he government kept harping on about “back to basics” and delivering bullshit like “we need to understand a little less and condemn a little more…”

    Major may have been the best PM of recent times, and he may be telling some convenient truths today, but that doesn’t make him a good PM who would have done the right thing if he was in Blair’s shoes. Being the best PM is like being the serial killer who killed the fewest people.

  • tony_opmoc

    Harold Wilson may well have been devious, but he is the only Prime Minister I have seen standing on a soap box in Winston Churchill’s and William Cobbett’s old constituency Oldham in the Open Outdoor Market…who told America to go and do one and kept us out of the Vietnam War which my older Active Young Conservative Brother fully supported…

    And so far as The Department of Climate Change is concerned, imposing legislation with regards to how the Sun is going to behave is as sensible buying one of the most powerful computers ever for the Met Office who are about as good at forecasting anything as the BBC’s propaganda.


  • anticant

    Well, Tony, my grandmother’s Victorian forebears came from Saddleworth and two of them were Town Clerks of Ashton-under-Lyne for many years. The elder – who started as a Liberal but fell out with the mill owners and became a stalwart Tory – once made a speech saying “I have taken part in many elections, not always with clean hands”!

    What we need now – but won’t get – is a new PM who will say “a great many wrong policy decisions have been taken during the past 20 and more years, so I am ordering a complete rethink of domestic and foreign policy and won’t hesitate to make drastic changes if necessary.”

    Alas, our so-called democracy doesn’t work like that any more.

  • Vronsky

    Best idea is goverment selected by lottery. It’s an old Greek thing – those ancient buggers were so right about so much. The folk who understood incommensurability easily deduced that elections don’t work and simply observed that people who want power shouldn’t be given it.

    So Craig, your selected cabinet is in fact self-selected – they’re all worthless arseholes who have positioned themselves to seek only their own greater fortune, and are perfectly happy to ride towards it on the back of that pantomime horse we call democracy.

    We could make life impossible for them, and just cut cards. Serious suggestion.

  • tony_opmoc


    I remain the eternal optimist, and whilst I realise you are 82 and not in the best of health, I reckon your spirit is strong enough for you to live long enough to see a positive outcome to the changes that are currently happenning.

    I heard Early on New Year’s Day, that the Guy who taught me to Fly has broken his hip from his niece in the pub and has had a hip replacement operation (my Mother-in-Law has bust both of hers and is still dancing)

    This was just after watching the Blue Max – in which he flew the most hairy stunts.

    I reckon Derek Piggott will make a full recovery and still be flying his Glider upside down 10 feet above the ground on his 100th Birthday


  • tony_opmoc


    I suggest you go back to school/college/university and do a PhD in Physics and Maths – so that you have some understanding of real science and also in Psychology so that you have some understanding of Propaganda.

    Its never too late to learn and change your mind based on evidence rather than political or religious propaganda

    Can I now explain my New Religion?

    To my Amazement Prot mentioned it in the 2001 Film K-Pax

    I thought FFS how does Kevin Spacey know about this – then realised that my friend at College – who we jointly developed the theory of life, everything and the universe had probably become highly influential


  • Roderick Russell


    The assistant to a top Canadian politician (who is a household name in Canada) complained that I was putting her boss “on the spot” simply by asking for justice on my issue. Indeed a political strategist (conservative) here in Alberta tried to help. He explained that I was wasting my time trying to involve politicians in my issue stating to me “I’ve been around politicians for over 30 years, and I have never met an honest one yet” My experience in Canada can be viewed by clicking on my name to see the short article I wrote just before Xmas “Canada’s Moral Dilemma: Torture by CSIS – A Crisis in Democracy”.

    My experience in the UK was 10 times worse than in Canada and I find it hard to believe that any honest politician would be allowed to reach front bench rank. Craig, the answer to the ideal government is none of the above. What is wrong with electing the government directly, or are the people too immature to be trusted with some real democracy?

  • hawley_jr

    “John Major was the best Prime Minister”?

    “Criminal Complaint Against the United States of America and Others for Crimes Against the People of Iraq for Causing the Deaths of More Than 1,500,000 People Including 750,000 Children Under Five and Injury to the Entire Population By Genocidal Sanctions.


    “2. The United States, its President Bill Clinton and other officials, the United Kingdom and its Prime Minister John Major and other officials have committed a crime against humanity as defined in the Nuremberg Charter against the population of Iraq and engaged in a continuing and massive attack on the entire civilian population in violation of Articles 48, 51, 52, 54 and 55 of Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Convention 1977.

    “3. The United States, its President Bill Clinton and other officials, the United Kingdom and its Prime Minister John Major and other officials have committed genocide as defined in the Convention against Genocide against the population of Iraq including genocide by starvation and sickness through use of sanctions as a weapon of mass destruction and violation of Article 54, Protection of Objects Indispensable to the Civilian Population, of Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Convention 1977.”

    These charges were issued by Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General of the United States, at the International Court On Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the UN Security Council on Iraq held in Madrid, Spain on the 16th and 17th of November, 1996. The panel of judges consisted of many legal and human rights experts from around the world.

    Info from ‘Behind the War on Terror’, by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed.

    Formal criminal charges here:

  • Courtenay Barnett


    The idea of the same old system continuing in the same old way ( even if you put new names to play the same game) will not really change anything.

    You are a highly intelligent man, with a lot of credibility. I find your thoughts interesting, and never having met you, none the less, I have a sense of affection and respect for you. Thus, you find me blogging here.

    I think that the crisis goes well beyond shuffling the cards/faces in the parliament. There are some pressing global issues that require some profound changes – not merely face changes. Otherwise you end up with an “Obama” result. Different face – same wars.

    The planet is being stretched to the limits by environmental degradation and the wars – well – resource wars – oil wars – human beings being killed for no good reason. The issues go far beyond – face changes ?”for the sustaining of a so-called “democracy”.

    Listen to Chomsky – and – if you disagree – let me hear why so?

    Watch this….

  • amk

    Speaking of Chomsky, the below is a quote from him:

    “In December, a conference in Copenhagen is “to sign a new global accord on global warming,” which will tell us “whether or not our political systems are up to the unprecedented challenge that climate change represents.” I am quoting Bill McKibben, one of the most knowledgeable researchers. He is mildly hopeful, but that may be optimistic unless there are really large-scale public campaigns to overcome the insistence of the managers of the state-corporate sector on privileging short-term gain for the few over the hope that their grandchildren will have a decent future.”–.htm

    Chomsky, for decades a champion of the poor and powerless, sees AGW as real and sees the selfish interests of the rich and powerful being to resist measures to combat climate change – precisely the opposite the conspiracy theory Tony advocates.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    When the planet is stretched to the limit and oil as the energy source leads to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – then the real processes by which this world operates will reveal the difficulty our presently organised dysfunctional system faces.

    Consider that India, China, Russia and ultimately Africa are supposed to be on the same trajectory of an oil based system of economic development that the US was built on. Truth be told, it is not feasible. The planet cannot sustain the environmental degradation. The point I am making ( at least trying to) is that the dysfunctional environmental processes that the world is witnessing are in competition with the dysfunctional political processes that promote these wars.

  • Courtenay Barnett


    The system that you were a part of as a diplomat – is not a functional system ( not if you start to count the welfare of billions of people around the world as an essential part of the purpose of government). You have to advance to a process of thought that realises that the superimposition of a bullshit parliament on the “sheeple” is not going to address the issues that Britain within the global system can sensibly rely on to address real issues affecting us ( the global community) all. If you doubt me then listen to this guy speak in a parliament that he gave up on…

  • Gordon Bennet

    “I hold the deeply unfashionable view that John Major was the best Prime Minister in my lifetime”

    LOL. Murray just gets funnier every day, even if not in a good way.

    Major was a born non-leader, reactive rather then proactive, which already means that he was a useless PM. He was also promoted well beyond the point of the Peters Principle.

  • Craig

    After fifty years, I can say beyond doubt that the quality I most desire in a PM is quiet.

  • Courtenay Barnett


    Let me hear you reply on this one:-

    “The system that you were a part of as a diplomat – is not a functional system ( not if you start to count the welfare of billions of people around the world as an essential part of the purpose of government).”

  • Courtenay Barnett


    Let me hear you reply on this one:-

    “The system that you were a part of as a diplomat – is not a functional system ( not if you start to count the welfare of billions of people around the world as an essential part of the purpose of government).”

  • alan campbell

    Malcolm Rifkind?! The betrayer of Bosnia? I can only assume you chose him because he’s Scottish.

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