Former Secretary of State for Wales, now ambassador-at-large for the Sleep apnoea Society, Peter Hain has been recognised in the 18th edition of 'Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable'. For centuries, sticking 'like shit to a blanket' has been used as the industry-standard shorthand for an unwelcome substance which cannot easily be removed. Ironically, the long-lasting phrase has itself been deftly usurped in the Christmas stocking favourite's 2012 edition by 'Like Peter [optional] Hain to news tragedy'.
The editors referenced Hain's distinguished body of work over many years in front of camera, whether invited or not, but particularly commended his inspirational, standout 'Wales Tragedy' appearances in 2011. By the time that TV camera crews arrived at Gleision Colliery in September,for example, Hain was already installed on site. His skill at moving deftly into shot when others were being interviewed brought high praise from many experienced hands "It was almost like watching Michael Jackson," said Sky News cameraman Gerry Hitchin "his legs didn't actually seem to move independently, he just sort of slid in sideways behind a miner's worried mother and then started frowning and nodding sagely, like a counsellor. But without joss sticks and wind chimes obviously. It was a real privilege to watch a master, working at the very top of his game".
Hain, known as 'Pop-up Pete' because of his frequent and unwelcome appearances on screen, somewhat lost his 'mojo' with the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa. However, in recent years the clipped tones of his boyhood land have been replaced by more than a trace of welsh lilt as Hain has increasingly focussed on appearing even more Welsh than his safe-labour-seat constituents; upon whom he was foisted in 1991.
Although considered by Westminster insiders to be less obviously oily than many of his fellow MPs, Hain showed his own support for the petro-chemical industry, rather than Welsh coal mining, claiming more than £6,000 worth of home heating oil on expenses.
Brewers noted that Hain does not rest on his laurels. In order to gain a Gary Speed tribute slot on Sky News, Hain managed to hurdle a host of footballers, several dozen fans, a couple who'd once been to Wales on holiday and a bloke who thinks he once sold a newspaper to his uncle. "Look you now boyo, there's saaaad isn't it?" said Hain with his trademark perception "Have you got my best side to camera?"
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