Tuesday, June 03, 2008
John Reid........Next Labour Leader?
According to Political Betting, Mike Smithson has just put £20 on John Reid to be the next Labour leader. Scary...........or what? Just as we thought our bleary eyed mornings were free from the grating tones of the aptly christened "attack dog"..........we are threatened with his potential return.
Yes. John Reid. Remember him? He of the reasoned argument, measured tone, gentle ways?
My abiding memory is of my encounter with him on the night the Commons voted in favour of the war in Iraq. With apologies to those who have heard this tale before......it was he (in full attackdog armour) who was wheeled out to account for the government that night. He did his usual piece to Sky camera, justifying the unjustifiable, but was interrupted by a protester. He asked the guy to stop and said he would come back and answer his questions when the interview was over. As the interview finished he went to walk off. Leaning over the barrier I shouted after him that he had promised to talk to us. He came back, looked down on me disparagingly and said (clearly resisting the temptation to pat me on the head!) "When I was your age I was out protesting against Vietnam (subtext, you will grow out of it)...I know, young men fighting old men's wars" ......my response "I'm not that much younger than you (dear reader, before you say anything, it was dark!)..." We then got into a barney, he trying to justify the unjustifiable - trying to claim UN support on the one hand and then justifying ignoring the UN on the other. Sky asked if they could continue filming (wonder if they still have it) Reid continues to try and fight his corner, until finally (to my mind) he admits defeat, stamps his foot and says " I said I would come and talk to you, NOT enter into a debate!" Turns on his heel and scurries off back to the warmth and security of the Palace of Varieties.
That was my only personal encounter with him, I found him patronising, sexist, bullying and arrogant; characteristics, I have it on good authority, he has apparently also displayed in office. A former Communist and by his own admission a Stalinist, one would be forgiven for thinking that whilst Gordon Brown may have changed from Stalin to Mr Bean, with John Reid it could be more like changing from Pitbull to Stalin?!