Just got back from a Fabian Society conference on "making EU enlargement work." The event turned into a bit of a love-in for good old Geoff Hoon. The acting head of the Romanian Embassy Raduta Matache declared "If only there were more ministers like Geoff Hoon". Well, he does need all the loving he can get at the moment.
But Hoon wasn't generous enough to share the love with his own governmental colleagues. When asked about the new system for "managing" migration from Bulgaria and Romania he mumbled something about the "transitional problems" of the last accession and likened them to the experiences of provincial towns which have been flooded with students in recent years.
Tellingly, he refused to publicly support the limits that have been placed on Bulgarian and Romanian workers instead saying, "I see [Immigration Minister] Liam Byrne is speaking this afternoon - perhaps you should ask him about that." According to one insider Geoff and Liam had "stand-up rows" over the issue... Hoon is obviously still feeling a wee bit sensitive about it.