Hypocrisy has never been a barrier to Baron’s ambition

COMMENT: Bandstand event is a victim of its own success

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Baron Prescott of Kingston-upon-Hull in the county of East Yorkshire would like it to be known he did not get where he is today without apparently being able to spot a passing gravy train and leap aboard.

Fortunately, it appears he thinks hypocrisy is something to do with an oath taken by doctors, so it has never been a barrier to ambition as far as he is concerned.

Therefore, having railed against preferment and privilege all his life, he did not hesitate to accept a peerage when the offer duly arrived.

His principles did not prevent him using public money to pay the council tax on his government flat at Admiralty House, or to purchase mock Tudor beams for his constituency home.

Irony is another concept with which his lordship has only a passing acquaintance.

He once used a chauffeur-driven limousine to travel 250 yards from his hotel to a conference centre, where he gave a talk on how best to encourage the use of public transport.

However, his ability to deliver on the pledges he makes remains open to question.

When New Labour came to power in 1997 and Prescott was made responsible for ‘an integrated transport policy’ he said: ‘I will have failed if, in five years’ time, there are not far fewer journeys by car.’

In June, 2002, car travel had increased by seven per cent.

Now, this paragon of virtue and self-control, who admitted an affair with one of his secretaries and once threw a punch at a member of the public, has been lined up to become a police and crime commissioner on £100,000 a year.

The fact that he was once a leading member of a government which fiercely opposed the introduction of such posts is neither here nor there, of course.

One can only wish the best of luck to the minutes secretary if Prescott actually gets the job.

Such is the man’s shaky command of English that it is said the team of Hansard copy-takers in the House of Commons (at least those who had not already been reduced to foaming wrecks) threw a party when the great man finally bade farewell.