The group of Ministers in the new JLP government got a new boy, yesterday: Master Everald Warmington graduated from the ranks of the ‘back benches’, or the prep school, to the high school of the ‘front bench’, where he would be acting as a Minister of State without Portfolio in the Office of the PM.Early press reports this morning indicate he will be in charge of the public works portfolio. Some would say he is a ‘piece of work’, so that’s may be Karma. But he’s no stranger to ‘working’, as pictures and reports of his Nomination Day revelry may attest 🙂 I dare not ask him if the reports are true because he has a reputation for the acerbic reply. Who will forget “Go to Hell!”? . All that for the word “unethical”? He, prickly is.
But, it was all done a bit on the QT, and the news came out during the weekly post-Cabinet media briefing. No prior advisory to media (except JIS) or public? It all seemed a bit odd. Word was that Warmy was miffed that he’d not made the first team squad earlier, and with a one-seat majority it wouldn’t be past the wit of a rabid mongoose that getting ‘he who bites first and checks the menu later’ inside the tent was no bad move. As Michael Corleone said his father told him, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. (Not that Warmy needs be an open enemy; it’s just that he has a short fuse and one never knows when he may explode.) After all, the man is a beast in terms of getting his constituency votes, last time with a bigger majority. So, his parliamentary shenanigans or other issues have not dented his popular support.
While Gordon House has Warmy, the British Parliament has Dennis Skinner, who this week was again suspended from the House for referring to PM David Cameron as “dodgy Dave” (regarding personal financial account revelations concerning the ‘Panama Papers’), during a typical exchange, which featured a lovely comical put down of a junior minister by The Speaker. But, Mr. Skinner has a long history of being a rebel, and his ‘unparliamentary’ language has often gotten him suspended, eg for calling a minister of agriculture “little squirt of a Minister” and a “wart” 🙂 He’s also a good wit and his quotes are some of the funnier things some politicians will say, such as “Ey up, here comes Puss In Boots!” when Black Rod was entering the House. Skinner is a solid Socialist, with red blood in his veins; I don’t think I’ve ever seen him without some red in his clothing. His background as a miner, from a mining community, whose father was a miner, puts him squarely and proudly ‘with the people’.Warmy is not that warm on the outside, and is not that witty, tending to the rude and crude, such as when he referred to Lisa Hanna as “Jezebel“, for which he was forced to withdraw his comment, and there were calls for him to be disciplined. But, there’s the rub. Calls have not been met with any or many responses, and if I recall correctly, the JLP is still ‘looking into the matter’. The new PM has made much public play on the need for his ministers to be respectful, and he went to great lengths during the swearing-in to let Mr. W know that higher standards are expected of him as a minister:
“…as a parliamentarian, you are a representative of the people, but as minister you have a higher duty of service and that means humility, respectfulness, honesty and integrity [my stress]….it is a general theme that I expect of the Government that I lead. It goes for everyone who bears the title honourable minister”.
So we will watch keenly to see how that works our for Warmy.
I have slightly mixed feelings about Warmy’s antics, and my current view is that he is an actor, who’s a little in love with the lights and the stage of public office, and for him theatrics just flow, but with a hint of profanity. Political correctness is not his forte, and for that we have to accept that his loose cannon nature can be as damaging to his party as to himself. Therein may lie much grist.
He’s iconic for his insults (the flipping of the finger to journamlists was flipping typical), and in a sense is pure WYSIWIG (what you see is what you get). Some politicians, including the equally iconic Damion Crawford, have lauded Warmy for his diligence and preparedness, which are important positive attributes, but not often seen by the public.
Being put into the full public gaze as a minister will be an interesting challenge. I’m sure that many are looking forward to his first press conference, given his open dislike and disregard for the media. But, when you need friends…
Author’s note: The Dennis Jones cited in the Wikipedia bio of Mr. Warmington is NOT me 🙂