They're under starter's orders.....

The race to succeed JP seems to be kicking off. Their under starters orders and their OFF!

In the running is the favourite and newly appointed Home Secretary who said he would work 18 hour days to solve the fiascos in the Home Office.

coming up the rear is Jack Straw (the demon headmaster) who was BLAIR'S right hand man during the IRAQ war but got it horribly wrong with the DODGY DOSSIER.

Coming up in third place is Peter Hain, who has come on in leaps and bounds since joining the power brigade of central politics. Former Welsh Secretary and leader of the house, it seems that he is a dark horse in this open race to succeed JP's role of  'two slacks.'

Then making a creepy advance on the inside is a real outsider, minister at the Home Office, Hazel Blears has decided the saddle fits well and takes up the reins on the inside.

Now for the bets?

John Reid - a 2-1 favourite - but the odds may increase if he fails at the Home Office

Jack - 5-1 is a good bet but dont undesitmate the power of those devlish determined eyes!

Peter Hain - 20-1 , a long shot but again an avid Blairite and you know Tony is just going to want to have a Blairite hand man

Hazel Blears - A REAL LONG SHOT - We await with interest how the punters bet in this eagerly awaited contest!

IT all seems so far from JP's mind as he escaped the media taunts and jostlings of power trivia and flew to America at the weekend for an important conference. Laid on are the buckshee hotels, delicious food fit for a ....WELL Deputy Primeminister! A kingsize bed all to himself - hmmmm where's the secretary?

OH well ....If in trouble you can always escape the country and pretend you are on business. After all we all need to recharge our batteries from time to time. In JP's case, the batteries are still full - from doing nothing!