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Jack Cunningham - Herkey

Swiftly metamorphosing between hero and turkey, Jack is a her-key.

He is the first Minister of Agriculture since the war who has defied the farmers. Blackmailing pressure from the green welly lobby has wilted all past governments. They habitually donated barns full of cash to the rustics. Jack stood his ground. He told the subsidy-stuffed farmers to ?Go forth and diversify.?

But not all went well. Although he frequently boasts of a scientific training he perpetrated the scientifically illiterate ban on beef on the bone. His junior minister was crushed in a late night Commons debate, trying to rationalise the irrational, while Jack sipped whisky is his beloved Commons Smoking Room.

He has kitted out his office and those of his junior ministers, to a standard of opulence that has incited leaking betrayals from civil servants. He is an unhappy Enforcer. His extravagances have boomeranged. His main task has been to enforce self restraint on himself.

His ministerial career that peaked in agriculture is about to trough. The Enforcer has three poisoned chalices.

For a short time the pretence that the anti-drugs strategy is new, and needs time to work, will postpone judgement. Nemesis will come when all drugs problems increase.

To combat Britain's European record high number of unwanted pregnancies, Jack will fashion multi-disciplined, multi-faceted, multi-layered solutions. Multiplying errors will create multi-failures.

He will hit the social exclusion of homeless with another onslaught of jargon and perhaps a Homelessness Czar. The soft layer has already been removed. Jack will be dealing with the hard core of ?homeless? whose problems are the intractable ones of mental illness and alcoholism. Progress will be slow and unrewarding.

Jack has never been forgiven by classic Labour for his links with big business, especially the Nuclear Power Industry. He was opposition spokes man for energy during the Chernobyl disaster. His loyalty to the nuclear lobby bandaged his mouth and left Labour silent.

Yet still supremely confident and assured he processes along the path of his glorious career. Gasps of wonder and admiration greeted some of his recent statements to the Commons,

?In roughly one year as Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food I agreed to appear before the Select Committee on Agriculture four times.?

"This is where it is helpful to be an organic chemist: gamma hydroxy butyrate--the substance to which my hon. Friend refers--can cause damage to people"

"In reference to genetically modified foods. I agree...about needing to ensure that we do not stifle legitimate and effective opportunities for commercial exploitation."

"And still they gazed, and still their wonder grew, that one small head could compass all he knew."