Extract from an article by Niall Ferguson in today's Sunday Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/04/15/do1504.xml Yet in one important respect, our world is not so different from the world of HMS Pinafore. The principal butt of the operetta's humour is the First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Joseph Porter, a political hack who has no naval experience whatsoever: When I was a lad I served a term As office boy to an Attorney's firm. I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor, And I polished up the handle of the big front door. I polished up that handle so carefullee That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee! Of legal knowledge I acquired such a grip That they took me into the partnership. And that junior partnership, I ween, Was the only ship that I ever had seen. But that kind of ship so suited me, That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee! I grew so rich that I was sent By a pocket borough into Parliament. I always voted at my party's call, And I never thought of thinking for myself at all. I thought so little, they rewarded me By making me the Ruler of the Queen's Navee! If that sounds familiar, it's because it's uncannily like the curriculum vitae of Defence Secretary Des Browne. Having risen through the ranks of the Scottish legal profession, Mr Browne was handed the safe Labour seat of Kilmarnock and Loudon in 1997.