Saturday, 8 December 2012

Bob Ainsworth

pic: BBC
is to stand down from Parliament at the next election.  He says it's time.  Well, maybe, but it seems good people like him should stay in politics if they can.  Bob was Defence Secretary for the last year of the Labour Government.  He got to Cabinet at the wrong time, not his fault.  He left school at 15 and worked in the Coventry car industry for 20 years, then got the chance to represent his native Coventry for Labour in Parliament, which he always saw as a privilege, never as a right, as his smugger and posher Labour colleagues often did (step forward, Ed Balls).  I knew Bob ("Uncle Bob" to those who liked him, and we were many, despite the venom to be found on Labour List and elsewhere) best when he was deputy chief whip, in 2003-4.  He was deputy to Horrible Hilary, the vile, crabbed virago, possessing no discernible political intelligence, and nothing to recommend her at all, she having attained her position by virtue of who her father was, misogynist language entirely intentional, yes, I mean Hilary Armstrong, Chief Whip who presided over several of Labour's major disasters.
photo of this ghastly old bag: PA
Uncle Bob did his best to undo the damage that Horrible Hilary was doing, and went out of his way to treat people - all people - with the decency and respect everyone deserves.  And I include Hilary Armstrong in that.  I am treating her with anger and venom.  Some people deserve that too.

I wish Bob well in his retirement, or in whatever he chooses to do next.  Thanks for the drink that time at Conference Bob, and thanks for the chats in the Smoking Room.  I learned a lot from you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A fine tribute to a great Labour colleague! I learned a lot from Bob too. He was shrewd,loyal, able in every post that he held and also incredibly fair and treated everyone with respect and courtesy.

I was delighted when he made the Cabinet and sad that his skills were not recognised because of the implosion of the Goevnrment's credibility at the very time that he was appointed. He gave politics a good name. I was grateful for his help, wisdom and just niceness. Being tough and nice is not an easy feat. Bob managed both and politics at Westminster will miss him.