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Sugar and Flint

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

sugarGordon Brown may come to regret, not the cabinet changes which were forced on him by his colleagues, but his own choice of Alan Sugar. As Mandelson wrote in the leaked emails he is overly impressed by the celebrity culture. And he does like Sugar, who like his name, can be sweet as well as tough and ruthless. (I tried to find a picture which reveals his cuddly teddy bear side, but could not. But you have all seen flashes of it on television.

He may also live to regret not giving Caroline Flint the promotion she wanted. She is turning out flinty by nature as much as Flint by name. According to newspaper reports this morning she is going to make a fierce attack on him on Monday. She is not only angry about not getting the promotion she thought she had been promised. She is angry because of the newspaper reports that Brown was influenced by the glamour photographs of her in The Observer, which he did not like. (Probably it was the photo of her lolling on a couch, like Hollywood teenager seducing a teenager, but since I am a family blogger I have used here the primest pic from the pack.)

She is only one voice.

But the┬áco-incidence of Brown’s embrace of Sugar coming at the same time as his rejection of Flint has angered people inside and outside the Labour Party.

Sugar at flinthis charming is patronising towards women. And most women I know think his tough guy style is just what we don’t want in our businessmen, managers and politicians. (Indeed, part of the success of The Apprentice is that it is joke. ‘You’re fired’, is not at all like real life, when being fired means ending up without any job at all and nothing to pay the rent.)

Whatever the other Labour female MPs think of Flint, none of them will be happy with the reduction of the number of women in the cabinet (including the sacking of Margaret Beckett, who has never shown any inclination to pose for a glamour photograph.)

And most Labour MP’s, both male and female are very angry indeed at the increase of peers in the re-shuffled cabinet.