This is my rant of the day.
What's going on?
For a long time now I've been a fan of Prescott's. I think he is exactly the kind of person who people mean when they say "We should have more ordinary people in Parliament." I think it's great the fact that he used an official car to drive his wife 200 yards so her hair didn't get blown about is superb, and exactly what an ordinary person would do for their wife (not withstanding what has subsequently come to light about him).
I remember, back in University, we would have many a discussion about Mr Prescott in one particular seminar instead of whatever the actual subject of the seminar was meant to be. (Either Mr Prescott or Anne Widdecombe - our tutor had a bit of an obsession with both.)
However, much as I supported his actions, I was amazed by what occured in Swansea? during the 2001 general election. It seemed to me that the headline "Deputy Prime Minister Punches Voter During Election Campaign" would almost certainly spell the end of said minister's political career. Instead Tony Blair laughed it off with "Well, John's John you know." And I would have imagined this as a response from his own party. But no opposition politician, of any party, called for his resignation or even chastisement. He was transformed into a hero in my eyes. A man who was ridiculed on an almost daily basis but who was seemingly impervious to criticism, to the extent that no one even voiced that criticism. Here was a man, I thought, who knows where the bodies are buried. It can't simply be a case of knowing too much about the Blair-Brown Deal, because the opposition won't touch him either. Until today, and a fairly innocuous statement from George Osborne, more aimed at the Labour Government than Prescott in particular, no one outside the Labour Party has broached the subject.
And now here we are with another storm in a teacup, Prescott playing croquet when he was "running the country". As I understand it Tony Blair was not actually out of the country at the time in question, therefore was still "running the country". Also, for all we know, Prescott had been at his desk since 6am and decided he wanted a game of croquet over lunch. It wasn't as if he was drunk or on drugs, he could have been contacted any time had anything been required of him.
Yet, as a result of this, his own party are calling for his head ?
I'm afraid this could be the beginning of the kind of Labour in-fighting that saw the Tories stumble out of office without credibility as a working government. I think Labour MPs should think hard about exactly what this airing of their personal opinions in public could do.