POLITICS is a rough business - certainly in New Labour, where Jack Straw's little passport difficulties are evidently amusing ministerial colleagues.
David Blunkett was on fine form as he unveiled his eagerly-awaited, revolutionary etc White Paper on post-16 education to a panting press corps. He arrived without his ever-present guide dog, to much puzzlement.
"Where's Lucy?" he was asked, answering: "She hasn't had a walk all day - somebody's taken her out." News of Lucy's confinement did not impress hacks who accused him of cruelty.
"Yes, it is cruel; it's wicked," Blunkett replied. Deadly pause. "But at least she's got a passport."
Blunkett, of course, was earmarked for Jack's job at the Home Office before the Kosovan war intervened.
Incidentally, the Government seems to have resorted to plagiarism with said White Paper. Its title, Learning to Succeed, was the title of the 1993 report by Sir Claus Moser's National Commission on Education.
Not so revolutionary, then.