A quick delve into the background of the Home Secretary:
He remains a relatively isolated figure even within New Labour. Without Blair's blessing, he'd be in the wilderness. He is more of a functionary than a potential leader; an apparatchik. If we had a Politburo instead of a cabinet, Reid would probably be running the State Security Division.Written in 2002. Prescient I think you'd call it.
A few months before his Ulster posting, he was the first senior cabinet member ever to be severely censured by the parliamentary commissioner for standards, Elizabeth Filkin. It was a tangled affair, but in essence he was accused of using parliamentary allowances, taxpayer's cash, to pay the salaries of staff, again including his son, in his constituency office, knowing that they were really working for Labour's electoral campaign. In the course of the inquiry, it emerged that Reid had held "discussions" with other witnesses, which in plain unparliamentary language sounded a lot like threats. Conveniently for Reid, Filkin's censure was overturned by a Labour-dominated House of Commons committee. It was a political fix that undermined her office, and diminished the notion of independent parliamentary scrutiny of MPs' conduct. Filkin was eventually forced out of the House of Commons.
Ah yes. The scandals come and go so quickly, one forgets. I wonder how many MPs he’ll be “discussing” things with if he runs as Blair’s successor.
In the international arena, Reid, during his drinking days, fell into bad company in the Balkans with the Bosnian Serb mass-murderer Radovan Karadzic, who tops The Hague's International War Crimes Tribunal list of wanted men. Reid has admitted spending three days in 1993 at a luxury Geneva lakeside hotel as a guest of Karadzic. "He used to talk to Karadzic, he admired Karadzic. He mistook the Bosnian Serb project as the inheritor of the united Communist ideal," says Brendan Simms, a Cambridge academic and author of Unfinest Hour: Britain And The Destruction of Bosnia.
via.It looks like the “anyone but Brown” crowd really do mean anyone. Reading this put me in mind of Nixon, oddly enough. Both seem to have the same propellant, rising through a high-octane mixture of resentment and cunning. Paradoxically, this secures Reid an air of competence because it follows that a man clearly capable of anything (Watergate) is also capable of doing something sensible (visiting China) from time to time. The whole tenor of Toolis’ article is that he’s a thug who gets things done. I suggest the following campaign slogan: John Reid – at least he’s our sonofabitch.