Sunday, 29 April 2012

Jeremy Hunt is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep

I was back in church for the final reading of the banns today. The reading was from John's Gospel, Chapter 10. I was quite taken with verses twelve to thirteen:

But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 

These verses put me in mind of of something I heard on Radio 4's Profile programme this morning. I normally avoid Profile, a programme that supposedly offers 'an insight into the character of an influential figure making news headlines', but is often little more than a sycophantic hagiography of some establishment bigwig from the world of politics, business, the civil service or religion.Today's prog had special topical interest, being a profile of disgraced* Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.

According to a civil servant who used to work for Hunt:

 I shall never forget the first time I saw Jeremy Hunt. He came in to say how pleased he was to be here, and the usual stuff, and then moved swiftly on to the now familiar theme of "we're all in this together" and "we've all got to make sacrifices" and then he said the department could face cuts of up to fifty percent, and he swiftly added 'We've already given up our ministerial limousines'. And there was stunned silence. When there was an opportunity for staff questions, he was asked 'Are you really saying that fifty per cent of us are going to get the sack?' Still smiling, Jeremy replied, 'Oh, possibly, yes'. We were all thunderstruck. Absolutely incredulous. That beneath that smooth, smarmy manner he had the callous, crude insensitivity of David Brent, Ricky Gervais's character in The Office. You know, he was just saying 'Well, we've given up our car rides, and now you can give up your jobs I mean what could be fairer than that?'

You could dismiss this as the account of a hacked-off ex-employee with an axe to grind, but it's quite consistent with the ruthlessness of an ambitious member of the gilded elite (Head Boy at Charterhouse, PPE at Magdalen, management consultant, well-connected general purpose entrepreneur, yada, yada), who'd happily throw an underling to the wolves in an attempt save his own skin. You didn't really think we were all in this together, did you?

He may not be Culture Secretary for much longer, but to me, he'll always be the unofficial minister for rhyming slang.

Of course, he's not all bad; according to Michael Gove he's a great guy and 'his lambada is something amazing'. So that's all right, then.

*David Cameron might be behaving as if Jeremy hasn't been caught red handed, but even he must have realised that he's not fooling anybody.


Meridian said...

I don't think an endorsement from Michael "do we really need to educate the plebs?" Gove is a Good Thing.

Andrew King said...

I wouldn't disagree with you there. In fact, I almost prefaced the words 'Michael Gove' with 'that weird little fecker', but thought that might be labouring the point. Which just goes to show, it usually pays to go with your gut instinct.