Monday, 27 December 2010

it should have been him

all I can say really, and repost John Rentoul, as follows:

My entry for Embittered Plonker (I think it means Blairite) of the Year is my essay on the uninevitability of politics in The Independent on Sunday today, in which I take a sideswipe at James Callaghan.
It is written in praise of Alan Johnson, He Who Should Have Been Prime Minister, and in mourning for his fatal modesty, which means that he is not prime minister and someone else, who is no better than him but who possesses vast self-confidence, is.
It identifies 6 January as the fulcrum of the year (although the idea of great determining turning points is, I suppose, part of the inevitablism against which I inveigh): the moment when Gordon Brown could and should have been replaced as prime minister by AJ.
But the testing moment for AJ came seven months earlier, in June 2009, at the time of James Purnell’s resignation. That was never likely to trigger Brown’s fall, as I have argued before, because it would have been hard to resist the pressure for an early election, which Labour MPs did not want.
AJ himself gave an on-the-record interview to Anthony Seldon and Guy Lodge for their Brown At 10 (page 273):
Johnson was sitting on the front bench during PMQs. Before Brown began speaking, he thought to himself, ‘I might be taking Prime Minister’s Questions next week,’ as he was the current front-runner to succeed Brown. The idea was not unappealing to him as an ambitious man who enjoyed the limelight. He thought very seriously about throwing his hat into the ring. Aspects of the job of prime minister appealed greatly to him. So why did he pull back? His own explanation is that he was so impressed by Brown’s bravura performance that day at PMQs that he was left wondering whether he could match that level. To clear his mind, he wandered up and down Victoria Street, thrashing out his options. His conclusion was that he did not believe he could do it, so decided he would continue to support Brown’s premiership … ‘I remember thinking about Gordon in action during the financial crisis and thinking, “Could I really do that?”‘
To which, of course, the right answer was Yes. And it is very great shame that AJ did not reverse the decision to which he came on that walk up and down Victoria Street.


dreamingspire said...

AJ the man who has been banging on that we do not have enough rock salt in stock, when we did and do? No thanks.

Anonymous said...

No - I'm sorry , I can't stomach this.
Politics ( especially Labour poltics) is stuffed to the gills with 'lost Leaders' - ' the best Leader Labour never had' etc etc etc.
Such individuals are usually unpleasant and embittered individuals, assiduously cultivating popularity at the expense of the incubent. Sniping to whatever journalist emerges with an empty notebook is their stock in trade.

So come on - lets now hear it for Denis Healey; John Smith; James Callaghan ( who did succeed,eventually, to disastrous effect) and Gordon Brown - see above comments on Sunny Jim.
Alan Johnson is but the latest in a long line of those who feel 'It couda been me'. And if the experience of Jim and Gordon is anything to go by - we must say that thank God, in the majority of cases, it wasn't!!

AJ makes an effective 'Slick Willie'. And that is about it. If he has such doubts about Ed Miliband then, come on , Al, baby - resign and mount a challenge! But you won't will you? No. It is much nicer and easier to bask in the plaudits of the journos without ever being tested. After all, you have the precedents of Jim and Gordon to keep you warm.

Much nicer talking about loon pants and Arctic Monkeys to whoever will listen, whilst dripping acid rain .

Anonymous said...

I voted for AJ in the Deputy Leader election. If he had won, he would have been in a good position to replace GB, but he lost to HH. She was the only option to replace GB in the run up to the election.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

A Johnson all over papers today - displaying his stupendous lack of knowledge of economics (well, not necessary to be Chancellor) - and Labour's economic policy ( this is more important).

Also pictured quaffing and hogging in The Savoy with ex PR aide.

I am all in favour of hogging and quaffing. And The Savoy is a nice gaffe. We are not in an extreme bible-bashing US state after all - although at times, the media seems to think that we are. Or that everybody other than the Fourth Estate lives under such a regime. But that is another story...... inolving the usual amount of vomit/legal and illegal drugs etc etc ad nauseum est.

But perhaps it is time for AJ to retire the childhood poverty/bare-feet at school riff that always seems to surface (next to loons and the Arctic Monkeys) in inteviews. Can he for starters, stop the journos peddling these sad old props? At least the much-maligned John Prescott (actually, I am a fan), had the courage to cut through the crap some time ago and say that, by the way, he was now middle class and ahd been for many years. Quite so. You don't live his lifestyle or that of any senior politician and keep on pretending that you live in a cardboard box and make regular 'of necessity' visits to the soup kitchen. Unless, of course, that you are the singing postie - a man on an errand and on a mission, so to speak...

Anonymous said...

Well - clearly he thinks it shouldn't have been him.

I am no great fan of Alan Johnson's abilities, but I am angered at the thought that - yet again - someone's prospects in public life have been blighted by family matters that are outside their control.

He shouldn't be judged by his wife's behavour - but knows that this would inevitably happen and that the existence of this scandal - not of his making - would weaken him.

This is the real shame and disgrace. In this respect, we have regressed, rather than advanced as teh eyars have marched on. Everyone knwe about teh antics of Lady Dorothy - or the drink problems of Sarah Chrichill - but these unfortunate matetrs were not allowed to stand in the way of the careers of Macmillan and Churchill. And Churchill's father died of syphillis and his mother was a bye word for sexual laxity.

Nowadays, not only the politician, but everyone connetced with them are expected to be replicas of Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

It is about time this country grew up - abolished its dirty postcard mentality and allowed politicians to be human - with human families and friends.