Monday, May 25, 2009


Johnson and Ed Miliband Hint at Leadership Availability

I see two Cabinet members have apparently stuck their heads above the parapet today. First up is Ed Miliband, Climate Change Secretary, and the second is Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary. Miliband has often been spoken of as a more compelling candidate for leadership than his brother David, who made such a poor effort of nudging Gordon aside last autumn. Ed is alleged to have a more natural political style and maybe he thinks the Miliband family deserves a second run at the top job. Johnson, however has long been the bookies' favourite and seems to have the qualities- modesty, competence, political savvy, good television manner and a back story to die for- needed to lead the Labour Party.

Miliband suggests a major programme of constitutional reform will be needed to restore voter faith in politics but his proposals are quite modest: more powerful select committees, abolish antique language and clothing in Commons, return to twice weekly PMQs and extend parliamentary sitting times. What is interesting is that Johnson seems to have gone for a heavyweight transformation: a pitch on PR. He suggests, in a novel twist, a referendum on the issue should be run alongside the next general election. My favouite columnist Peter Riddell suggests, like the wide old fox he is, Johnson has a particular eventuality in mind:

If the outcome of the general election were a hung Parliament, but voters backed AV plus, there would be a strong incentive for the Lib Dems to support Labour, since the Tories would oppose the change. So what Mr Johnson is really talking about is an attempted Labour rescue plan or lifeboat in the face of the storm of public disillusionment.

I think the 'back story to die for' is a symptom of what is currently wrong with British politics. Johnson's 'back story' should be irrelevant, it simply reflects our obsession with a trivialisation and celebrity based approach to politics which will probably see morons like Esther Rantzen and Joanna Lumley get elected at the next election.
Respectfully disagree. Johnson's life story shows someone who has astonishing drive and resilience; the very antithesis of 'trivialisation and celebrity based ' approaches to politics.
Agree with Linda. Don't think anyone really cares where people come from any more. Inverted snobbery died in the 90's. John Major proved that rising from little doesn't necessarily prove you have the talent required. As for Rantzen and her type: we have enough morons in politics without importing them from the prole media.

Johnson is vastly overrated and misunderstood. He has described himself as a Marxist and we hardly need that sort of thing. And his life doesn't seem to be that tough. Went to a Grammar School(pity the future generations who he would deny that to). Worked for a trade union(ie. took the easy life at the first opportunity). And he'll be sixty next summer, nearly twenty years older than Dave. Not in this day and age, style over substance and don't forget it! In any case, Labour are going out for a few terms. Johnson will have his bus pass before they are competitive again. When the time comes(when Gordon gets slaughtered next summer), it'll be Miliband senior. Blairite on most things and sensible. Establishment type figure with more experience and track record.

Anyone who really cares who the next leader of HM's Opposition is?!
An insightfull post. Will definitely help.

Karim - Mind Power
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