Rod Liddle

Succour for John Thomas

Succour for John Thomas
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The “Most Irritating Politician” stuff was meant to be a bit a laugh, and I think most people took it as such. I think the appalling Harman (who has actually done quite well as stand-in leader,) was a fairly deserving winner, even if I thought you lot were rather too doctrinaire in your voting. But then, this is The Spectator, not The Herald. What do you expect, etc? And I agree with most (although not all) nominations. But contributor John Thomas has set a steeper challenge in the thread below. Name a few politicians of the last fifty years who have been sort of, you know, good.  So here’s some succour for John Thomas. All John Thomas’s need succour, every now and then.

Here’s my list of politicians I’m grateful have been around. My guess is you will be in much less of agreement with these – they are all historic, rather than extant, apart from the last:

1. Clement Attlee. Welfare state, nationalisation, decency.

2. Denis Healey. Intelligence, wit, humour, hinterland. Good chancellor.

3. Barbara Castle. Principle, intellectual honesty.

4. Paddy Ashdown. Servant to his country many times over, as a soldier, MP and diplomat.

5. Neil Kinnock. Rescued Labour. Fairly honest.

6. Peter Shore. Right about Europe, long before most of the rest.

7. Michael Howard. Brilliant Home Secretary, perhaps the best we’ve had.

8. Winston Churchill. Post 45 only a figurehead. But what a figurehead.

9. Nigel Lawson. A fine and clever chancellor.

10. Caroline Flint. Well come on, you would, wouldn’t you?