Geoff Hoon: an apology

Firstly, a confession. My last post to this site - one of my shortest and least considered - was entirely taken up with gloating about Geoff Hoon's resignation. In my haste I overlooked something rather important. Geoff Hoon was one of the best Secretary of States we've had.

I know it's a radical position, but consider the facts. Hoon entered the Cabinet less than a year ago and made a massive impact. He seized upon Heathrow's expansion and made it his own; fighting Tories, backbenchers, environmentalists and pretty much everyone else to keep the expansion on track. And by doing so, he caused it to derail, spectacularly.

Hoon, you see, was such an unlikeable little shit that he made opposing Heathrow the obvious option. Watching him stagger about the Commons was enough to turn even the staunchest expansionist a deep shade of green. Nothing showed the strength of opposition to the third runway than Hoon having to round up his backbenchers at gunpoint to vote against an opposition resolution.

Look back over the last ten months: a motorway expansion programme left in ruins; airport expansion all but wiped out; every major Government transport initiative collapsing and Hoon's oily fingermarks everywhere. While lesser politicians might have given an inch, Hoon wedged himself into a corner and sat there chewing his own arm off like a rabid dog.

Now the great man is heading to Copenhagen. Environmentalists are scared: this is the climate change denier, they say, who wants to expand airports and tarmac the countryside. But they are wrong: for all his talks of "tree-hugging hoolah" he's obviously a deep ecologist hellbent on exposing the talks as a market-driven folly. After all, this is the man who destroyed any support for neo-Liberal interventionism by dragging us into Iraq. I wouldn't rule anything out now the wild card is in play.