John Reid in charge - official

JOHN Reid's lead role in the Government's response to the terror plots is not the superbly executed coup to marginalise Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott that many might imagine.

By Graham Dines

JOHN Reid's lead role in the Government's response to the terror plots is not the superbly executed coup to marginalise Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott that many might imagine.

The Home Secretary knew for days what was afoot, and told the Prime Minister who in turn alerted President Bush and the American administration.

Confident everything was under control, Mr Blair headed for his delayed holiday, with firm instructions to Whitehall that the ultra-Blairite Home Secretary had his full authority to handle matters.

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Having watched John Prescott's awful, 91 second television broadcast on Friday on behalf of the Government, I wonder just how much longer Labour MPs will tolerate the DPM. His appearance in front of the cameras was little short of an affront to our security services, the police, and the tens of thousands who had their travel plans disrupted. I can imagine the reaction of those trapped at Heathrow when his statement was screened throughout the four terminals.

Should the Prime Minister have gone on holiday? On balance, yes - everyone is entitled to a break, although it might be more diplomatic if he holidayed occasionally in his own country as his heroine Margaret Thatcher used to do.

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I BOW to no-one in my support for a Palestinian state. Anyone who opposes a free Palestine should look up the description of tal al-zataar - the hill of thyme - in John Le Carré's defining novel The Little Drummer Girl to discover the horrific conditions in the refugee camps.

However, I make no apologies for once again reiterating that Israel has the right to live in secure borders, free from the hassle of attacks by suicide bombers and Hezbollah rockets, and without the constant fear of being obliterated by the clients of Tehran and Damascus. That right extends to self defence

The sooner an agreement is implemented for the international community to police south Lebanon, for the Lebanese to expel Hezbollah terrorists, for the Israelies to pull out of the Golan Heights and the West Bank, for the Arab League to recognise Israel's validity and borders, for an independent Palestine to recognise its western neighbour, the sooner peace will be restored to the region.

To blame the current crisis on Israel, which is the position of many on the non-Zionist left in this country, is to insinuate Israel should not exit and blindly ignores just why Israel was established, and by whom.

Hezbollah, that “state within a state” inside Lebanon acting on behalf of its masters in Iran and Syria, bragged yesterday of its victory as the United Nations brokered cease fire came into force. “Congratulations to you on the big victory, with the support of God, the mujahedeen (holy warriors) and your patience,” it bragged to the Lebanese.

Enough said.

THE late lamented creator of Peter Simple was always raging against the “thinking classes.” I'm grateful to Alex Deane from Bury St Edmunds, former chief of staff to David Cameron, for this updated definition of the always correct, sneering, soft left wing liberals who live in middle class neighbourhoods: rocket munching Islingtonistas.

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