The Fickleness Of Politics

In Britain, the cabinet re-shuffle is a time-honored tradition. Careers are brutally culled, or made, or ignored. And sometimes, it can get truly humiliating. So this week, Michael Gove, a plucky, principled but controversial education minister got the sack and was demoted to chief whip in the House of Commons. But his bad day was about to get worse: he both lost his first scheduled vote and got stuck in the loo for good measure:

His mishap was highlighted by Angela Eagle, the shadow leader of the Commons, who told MPs: “I’d like to welcome Mr Gove … he hasn’t had the most auspicious of starts. Yesterday, he not only lost his first vote but he managed to get stuck in the toilet in the wrong lobby and he nearly broke his own whip.” … William Hague, the new leader of the Commons, defended his colleague, who was not present in the chamber, against the Labour mockery. “You made fun of what he was doing yesterday – knowledge of who is in the toilets in whatever lobby is a very important piece of information for any chief whip. I take this as evidence he was carrying out his duties very assiduously.”

Westminster will miss William, who’s quitting Parliament at the next election, and one of the most humane, sane and funny politicians ever to wield power in London. Yes, I’m biased. I’ve known him since our days at the Oxford Union together. The best prime minister Britain never had, as they say, and a rather gifted historian as well. Check out his biographies of Wilberforce and Pitt The Younger.