The shock waves are reverberating around the world following the announcement that the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Defence Secretary had resigned citing the strategy being adopted in the war in Afghanistan. Survivors at Westminster, the epicentre of the political explosion, were first to comment.
“The resignation of Eric Joyce is a very serious blow to the war office of Gordon Brown,” said Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. “Joyce was key to assisting the Defence Secretary in assisting the cabinet in assisting the Prime Minister. Key. And what’s more always used to make sure everyone was brought together for leaving presentations and had a slice of cake.”
Further afield the news has been received with shock, bewilderment and genuine concern for the future of Britain's role in Afghanistan.
“I cannot imagine the Ministry of Defence without Joyce being at the heart of organisation and planning,” said Afghan President Hamid Karzai. “Without her, won't Gordon Brown's secretary have to get the Prime Minister’s coffee himself?”
The Ministry of Defence denied that Mr Joyce's departure would have a serious impact on Britain's war effort, but conceded that an emergency re-shuffle had been undertaken to ensure that the Defence Secretary's office continued to run smoothly.
“Right after Joyce left Bob Ainsworth ran out of post-it notes and Joyce was the only one who knew where the key to the cupboard was,” said a spokesman. “However it turned out to be next to a copy of ‘Guns and Ammo Weekly’ that Mr Ainsworth had been looking for all day. So we struggled through.”
Despite assertions from the government that it is business as usual, Joyce’s decade of experience at assisting secretaries will certainly be missed in Whitehall and will be felt in Afghanistan.
“Whilst my birthday card from the MoD was signed by Bob Ainsworth himself, I think it certain that it was Joyce that would have bought it in her lunch hour,” said President Karzai. “I have spoken to Bob since she left and he says the office is a bit of a mess without her. No one has brought any cakes in and the filing is in complete disarray.”
The effects of Joyce’s resignation have been felt as far away as Washington, where Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth hosted a dinner last night in honour of the 1000th newspaper headline celebrating a remarkably low number of troop deaths for an armed military invasion.
“It was clear that Bob was still coming to terms with the loss,” said a fellow diner. “He didn’t know any of the foreign diplomats’ children’s names and there were clearly some flecks of fluff on the lapels of his dinner jacket.”
Following the shock resignation, Joyce was said by friends to be coping well and has spent the last few days helping with planning for a church fete in Perth.
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