When these wise words emerge, the future of (as I write) our Deputy Prime Minister may have been once again amended. Or not but shortly will. Or may limp on.

John Prescott has (as a skilful commentator said) been "broken on the wheel of lime". This is often the case with political institutions. They are set up with a purpose but prove unable to justify it. Their "cover is blown".

Take the Practitioners Forum as an example, one of the consultative bodies set up some three years back to advise the Secretary of State on tire issues.

These replaced the Fire Safety Advisory Board for no obvious reason except (many surmised) that this body was becoming too big for its boots. …

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