Magazine article The Spectator

In Spite of the Truce, the Cycle of Violence between Prescott and Reid Has Not Ended

Magazine article The Spectator

In Spite of the Truce, the Cycle of Violence between Prescott and Reid Has Not Ended

Article excerpt

At the time of writing, the UN seems to have brokered a fragile ceasefire between John Prescott and John Reid. But that does not mean that either will give up his historic claim to Whitehall in August.

Each accuses the other of provoking this summer's crisis. It began when Mr Reid chaired various ministerial committees and launched scores of press conferences and television interviews on the pretext of having discovered an Islamist plot to blow several aircraft out of the sky above the Atlantic. All at a time when Mr Prescott was supposed to be running the country. Mr Reid had been planning the meetings and interviews for months, claimed Presbollah. He was always going to strike once Mr Blair -- who plays the ineffectual part of Unifil in the PrescottReid conflict -- was out of the country. Mr Prescott hit back with a somewhat faltering statement to the press and television, mentioning Mr Reid as just one among several ministers who were working under him in this matter of the newly uncovered terrorist cells. Then Mr Prescott abruptly left without taking journalists' questions.

The Reid forces retort that for years Mr Prescott had been using Whitehall as a refuge from which to bombard the green belt with planning permissions. He has also preached jihad against vulnerable minorities such as Etonians and members of White's. All this is said to put off middle-class New Labour voters, driving them to David Cameron. Mr Prescott retorts that he has nothing against Whites, since he is not a racist.

A Reid spokesman said, 'The liberal press bangs on about how hitting Prescott with 20 television interviews in two days and 100 soundbites was disproportionate. But we are confronted by an enemy who hides among innocent female secretaries deep in Whitehall, a civilian area.

'Remember that picture of him with a secretary's legs wrapped around his neck? He claimed he was cradling her in his arms after she'd been hit by a Reid rocket supplied by the United States. Our intelligence people tell us that it was Prescott who supplied himself with the secretary. So we just had to act against him. Britain, if confronted by a Prescott, would have done the same during the second world war. We had no alternative but to remove him from being in charge during this terrorist threat to those planes.

Supposing he started instructing travellers at Heathrow and other airports about what to do. No Albanian drug dealer or Polish plumber would have understood a word he said, let alone the British.' A Presbollah spokesman replied, 'Use your intelligence. Read history. The fact is that Whitehall in August is our land. Its only ruler is John Prescott (may peace be upon him). John Reid was put there by the Americans. We shall not stop until every socalled greenfield site becomes concrete.

Reid was born of a bastard camel. We have won. Prescott is still Deputy Prime Minister and will rule Whitehall until Sir Cliff Richard sends Tony Blair home. Let Reid bite as much sound as he likes.' And the present ceasefire? There are signs of discontent among British voters that, after more than a week of fighting, Mr Prescott remains in control of vast stretches of Whitehall, however nominally; Mr Reid having at first promised that he could remove Mr Prescott in the television studios by hotair power alone. But the Reid forces reply that his capacity to wage war on the home counties, Glyndebourne and the Henley Regatta has been severely weakened. …

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