Well how much is porn on the Internet, Jacqui?

February 28, 2011

Everyone is a bit puzzled as to why former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith chose to tell us about her ignorance of the porn industry. One would have thought that she would try and avoid headlines which included her name and the word “porn”, given that her disgrace was based in part on the fact that she claimed her husband’s X-rated videos on expenses.

Most of the comment, in fact, has been about the photograph with which the Times illustrated its article, showing Smith in a rather louche leather coat standing in a Soho Street, like a Madame on her way to inspect a new batch of recruits for her brothel. What caught my eye was the headline in the iPad version of the article. Where the print version was headed “I never knew the Internet was so full of porn, admits Jacqui Smith” the iPad version read “I never realised how much porn was on the Internet, admits Jacqui Smith”. The ambiguity in this subtly different version brings with it a clear reminder of that previous occasion when the cost of porn escaped her notice. Was the sub-editor having a laugh at her expense, I wonder.

Jacqui Smith in Soho

For myself, I do not particularly blame Smith for not noticing that entry on her domestic Internet bill. She was a busy woman and, as with Baroness Scotland’s unfortunate oversight in respect of her illegal immigrant cleaner, it is something easily done. They share a collective responsibility in that they were members of a government which was particularly unforgiving of our daily oversights, burdening businesses and individuals with a mass of petty compliance obligations and hordes of petty little runts-in-office to catch us out and punish us. Indeed, one of the best results of the Parliamentary expenses scandal in which Smith was the star turn has been that MPs now know what it feels like to be caught out for every trivial infringement of the rules. Read the rest of this entry »


Drying out Worcester Woman

July 24, 2007

“The Times has learnt that the Ministry of Defence was unwilling to supply lorries and drivers without being guaranteed payment for their services. As a result there appear to have been delays [in delivering] sleeping bags and food parcels to the stricken communities”

It took me a while to realise what this story in today’s Times reminded me of. Here were people driven out of their homes with no food or bedding, and a civil servant was refusing to deliver supplies without the right piece of paper signed and in triplicate. There was no shortage of supplies, but a dim little Jobsworth refused to make them available. Read the rest of this entry »


Home? Office? Secretary? Send for Jacqui Smith

June 28, 2007

So, one of the three great offices of state, whose previous incumbents have included Peel, Palmerston, Asquith and Churchill, is now in the hands of one Jacqui Smith. Read the rest of this entry »