Recycling minister wasted

Tuesday 22 September 2009 16:56

Saving the planet appears to take second place in politics. That is probably an exaggeration as recycling and waste management is nowhere near as high as second place in today’s political turmoil, as proved by former waste and recycling minister, Jane Kennedy, throwing away her job.

Apparently, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in his determination to retain his grip on power, demanded a pledge of loyalty from Jane Kennedy. Clearly her response was inadequate and so she has gone.

Politics is a dirty game and recycling politicians is remarkably uncommon except for the lucky few such as Peter Mandelson who has been recycled at least twice if not three times. But, for Jane Kennedy, it looks as though she has been sent to landfill on the Government’s back benches where she can boo and cheer and double-check her expenses until an election is called. Of course, waste and recycling may not have looked like a major career move for Ms Kennedy who seemed averse to getting her hands dirty during her short tenure.

Jane Kennedy’s swift departure meant that she did not speak at the Futuresource exhibition and conference hosted by ExCel in London. Bearing in mind, on her own admission, Ms Kennedy knew very little about recycling, perhaps she left her ministerial post to avoid making a speech?

Stepping into Jane Kennedy’s shoes is Jim Fitzpatrick, who is taking up his ministerial post in Defra and, clearly, has no problem pledging his allegiance to the Prime Minister. It appears to have escaped the politicians’ notice that their allegiance is supposed to be to Queen and country and pledging allegiance to Gordon Brown is simply one servant of State pledging allegiance to another servant of State.

Jim Fitzpatrick entered parliament in 1997 representing the East London constituency of Poplar and Canning Town. At the time of writing, it is not yet clear whether Jim Fitzpatrick will be taking ministerial charge of waste and recycling. His former post was in the department of transport with a wide remit including responsibility for road safety and shipping. During his twelve years in parliament, Mr Fitzpatrick has been minister for London, and parliamentary under-secretary of state both at the DTI and at the office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

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