Paul Boateng's appointment to a plum government sinecure in the South African sunshine has been greeted with widespread accusations of cronyism. Despite the fact that nobody else was invited to apply, Boateng reckoned: 'I have been appointed as a result of a process that has been used before by previous Labour and Conservative governments . . . I think the important thing is that for me it is the fulfilment of a lifetime's passion and conviction.'
Disgraceful of course, but par for the government course.
I'm just glad he's out of his job as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. That job used to be about knocking heads together in the spending departments to stop them burning every last bit of our money. It required a tough grey accountant, like John Major, who was Chiefie under Lawson.
A flamboyant lightweight like Boateng just doesn't cut the mustard, and sure enough he's presided over our biggest ever peacetime explosion in public spending.
Plus, against some pretty stiff competition, he was by far the most irritating member of Blair's cabinet.
Goodbye Paul, and good riddance.