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Really, one does despair

Posted by Helen Thursday, January 06, 2005

GQ Magazine, one of Britain’s leading lad mags, which, as it happens, is seriously infected with the anti-Bush bug, has conducted a survey on who are the most powerful men in Britain. Setting aside odd decisions like Wayne Rooney at number 14 (a good footballer but how powerful is the lad?), let us look at the top runners.

At the very top are Tony Blair and George W.Bush, who has, according to the magazine, “inveigled himself into British life like no other world leader”. Really? Have these people not heard of Commission President Barroso? Not a household name, perhaps (though his predecessor was, sort of) but with a great deal more power in Britain than Bush has.

Number 3 is Alan Milburn, the former Health Secretary, present Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (an all-purpose title), who is expected to run the Labour elections campaign and, possibly, be Blair’s successor in the sometime future. (Milburn’s appointment did raise one or two questions. After all, he has been brought back into the Cabinet and given a good salary as a Minister to do party political work.)

Number 4 is Gordon Brown, who was top last year. I doubt if Gordy is all that upset by such an inadequate survey and its results.

The Daily Telegraph quotes the reasons for GQ’s elevation of President Bush in British life:

“He now has the power to control our troops in Iraq, change the course of our foreign policy and impact upon our policing and attitudes towards terrorism, for where Bush goes, Blair surely follows.”
Which planet do these people live?

Our troops in Iraq are controlled by our own MoD (and a right mess they make of things from time to time) though, clearly, in a coalition joint decisions are taken. Incidentally, the Hoon “reforms” that will change the whole course of British defence have little to do with the United States or President Bush and a great deal to do with the building of “European defence”.

Attitudes or no attitudes, policing and security policy in Britain are steadily becoming more integrated with the EU, what with the growing and changing nature of Europol and Eurojust, the European Arrest Warrant and other suchlike delightful matters. Has all of this passed GQ and its readers by?