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  1. World
  2. Middle East
16 November 2007updated 05 Oct 2023 8:33am

The books are open for Jacqui Smith’s replacement

Owen Walker on the Home Secretary's political woes, the Lib-Dem leadership contest and Hossein Derak

By Owen Walker

In a torrid week for the Home Office, Jacqui Smith found herself the hot topic in the blogosphere. A tip off emerged over on The UK Daily Pundit: “Preparations are said to be underway in Downing Street to replace Jacqui Smith as Home Secretary should she fail to quell the ongoing media onslaught over her alleged role in the latest blunder by the Home Office and the subsequent cover-up that followed. If she does resign, Des Browne is expected to move to the Home Office and Ed Miliband is being tipped for the Defence Secretary’s job.”

While, Mike Smithson at Political Betting finds Smith’s chances of surviving until the 2009/10 election “slim” and weighs up possible replacements based on the latest Betfair odds: “I quite fancy Edward Miliband but 4/1 seems far from generous. Alan Johnson (2/1 favourite) could be asked to switch – he’d probably be a safe pair of hands and could give a bit of stability to a post that has become Labour’s poison chalice.”

As the two Lib Dem leadership candidates went tête-à-tête on Question Time this week their verbal bout drew rave reviews across the net. The Liberal Democrat Rumble in the Jungle is reviewed by Bernard Salmon and condensed to: “My scores on the doors were: Vision – Clegg 7, Huhne 8; Detail – Clegg 8, Huhne 9; Charisma – Clegg 8, Huhne 7; Passion/forcefulness – Clegg 7, Huhne 8; Pressure – Clegg 6, Huhne 9. Totals: Clegg 36, Huhne 41.”

For Nich Starling, Hunhe “just edges it”, while Linda Jack believes “Clegg [drew] first blood”. As for Chris Paul’s verdict: “Goodness me these two are big pants.”

Over at Lenin’s Tomb, the tale of Iran’s Blogfather, Hossein Derakshan, is recounted. Derakshan is the subject of a $2m law suite from a pro-Washington Iranian commentator, Mehdi Kalaji, over comments he made on his blog. Derakshan has also faced a backlash from his peers for removing criticism of the Iranian regime from the English section of his blog in retaliation of the West’s demonisation of Iran.

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Lenin concludes: “I think it would be a pity if some neocon theologian was able to silence Derakshan’s blog. There is a huge wealth of background information on it that Western leftists would do well to get acquainted with.”

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