07 November 2006

John Reid's Sense of Shame 1947-2006

Reid never wrapped himself in one flag when he could wrap himself in two of themIt is with enormous regret that As A Dodo must announce the death at the age of 59 of Home Secretary John Reid's Sense of Shame, which was struck down during Mr Reid's appearance this morning before inmates at Wormwood Scrubs Prison. While sources at the Home Office insist that The Sense had been discharging its duties in the normal way, friends and colleagues say it had been showing signs of massive stress and overwork for many years.

Born in North Lanarkshire in the years following World War II and educated at the Catholic St Patrick's High School in Coatbridge, John Reid's Sense of Shame was a vigorous youth, well up to the task of coping with a lad whose gentle manner and calm tones put the fear of God into all who dared to cross his path, whether he was contemplating demanding dinner-money with menaces from his teachers, or threatening to report his fellow 10-year-olds for hanging around with children near the school gates.

Throughout school and university The Sense was always at Reid's side, accompanying him during his PhD in economic history and further postgraduate studies in low-level political bruising and demagoguery as a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. While all seemed to be going well, it was with Reid's entry into the Labour Party and parliament that the pressures on The Sense of Shame's relationship with him started to show. Difficulties began in the mid-90's when Reid, keen for advancement, began to throw aside all his ideological baggage in order to join the vanguard of New Labour. Matters worsened as Reid, desperate to advance, began to use tabloid headlines to keep him going. As Reid worked his way up from Secretary of State for Scotland and the Northern Ireland, his appetite for "Redtop" increased more and more. As Health Secretary and Defence Secretary he was able to maintain some small control over his addiction, with The Sense's help, but with his appointment as Home Secretary his need to "chase the Murdoch" obtained an absolute grip. Soon he was spending most of his days in the gutter press, eager to menace a minority or beat up a judge for the price of one more hit - all the while blaming his troubles on civil servants, social workers and Jeremy Paxman.

Despite The Sense, Reid kept taking the tabloidsStrained almost to breaking point, The Sense did all it could to bring the Home Secretary back from the pit of addiction but to no avail. By Tuesday of this week Reid was accusing the House of Lords of pandering to paedophiles. By the early hours of this morning, he was on his way to Wormwood Scrubs to star in a topless Page 1 photoshoot for The Sun newspaper in front of an audience of prisoners. To the delight of assembled hacks and the bemusement of inmates, Reid launched into a performance of the dance of the veiled threats, blaming violent crime on Tory leader David Cameron, the probation service, namby-pamby-pinko-liberals, la-di-dah middle-class poshos, Jack Straw, David Blunkett, Charles Clarke and anybody whose name wasn't John Reid. It was as The Sense rushed up to stop him that Reid chose to assault his oldest friend, delivering the headbutt that would ultimately deliver it to the grave. Police were called to the scene but failed to arrive until long after the (frequent) offender had made off.

John Reid's Sense of Shame will be buried hastily and without ceremony. It is survived by reduced civil liberties and tabloid hysteria.