25 March 2006

Dinner with Harding.

Paul Burgin has set the challenge; "which ten political leaders from the three main parties since 1945, living or dead, would I invite to dinner?"

You've narrowed the choice a bit there, haven't you Paul?

I mean there isn't much room for picking anyone other than who you have chosen. In total there is only 10 Labour leaders to choose from and 10 Tory leaders (5 in the last 8 years) and the Lib Dems have had 5 leaders since they formed in 1988, the Liberals before them, 4 leaders and the SDP 3. A total of 32 leaders to choose from.

But for the record...


TONY BLAIR (to see if he really can play the guitar).

MARGARET BECKETT (Because very few people know she was the only ever female Labour leader - for 2 months).

MICHAEL FOOT (he was greatest leader and the press were bastards for picking on a man for wearing a dufflecoat - also once wrote some great lyrics for a song about him).

Michael Foot was a great bloke, I don't care what they say.
Just because he wore a dufflecoat on remembrance day.

GEORGE BROWN ('cos I haven't got a clue who he is).

Tory Scum:

MARGARET THATCHER (because I want to test out Morrissey's theory that her head really would lok nice in a guillotine).

(sir)ANTHONY EDEN (I always thought those Harry Enfield sketch's of the pompous 1950's twats were great. Now I could meet one in real life).

IAN DUNCAN SMITH (Find out if he knows anything at all about alleviating poverty, Cameron has put him head of his poverty commission for some unknown reason).

MICHAEL HOWARD or WILLIAM HAGUE (Doesn't matter which, although getting Howard to say 'peeple' would be a good laugh. Either would do just to remind me how great recent Tory leaders have been (for us, ha ha!) and also to make me feel less bald).

Liberal thingy parties.

JEREMY THORPE (But I wouldn't allow him to bring a gun, in case he shot someone's dog)

Finally...Monster Raving Loony Party.

SCREAMING LORD SUTCH (To add a bit of sanity to the discussion)

Definitely wouldn't invite...

CHARLES KENNEDY (wouldn't be able to afford all the booze!).


  1. > MARGARET BECKETT (Because very few people know she was the only ever female Labour leader - for 2 months).

    I knew - I voted for her!

  2. Well I suppose quite a few Labour party members know, but I bet if you asked in a pub quiz who was the Labour leader immediately before Tony Blair, not many would get it right.

  3. Definitely wouldn't invite... CHARLES KENNEDY (wouldn't be able to afford all the booze!).

    Then you might what to think twice about inviting George Brown.

    (Actually, you should think twice about it anyway - by all accounts he was a deeply unpleasant man, and I think he ended up joining the Tories .)

  4. He definitely joined the SDP, and died in '85, so he would only have seen the worst of the Thatcher period.

  5. BBBBC Parliament occasionally show highlights of election nights from previous elections. One of the ones I saw was from 1964 when George Brown (then the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party) was interviewed by Robin Day and I have to say that he was one of the most unpleasant and rude politicians I have seen interviewed and that is saying something. His inhability to control his temper, coupled with his drink problem I am surprised Wilson tolerated him for so long and if I were in Wilson's place, no matter how sympathetic, I would have sacked him or accepted his first resignation attempt (Wilson accepted his fifteenth).
    But then Brown was popular amongst some in the Party and 103 MP's (inc Jenkins I might add) voted for him in 1963.
    Which reminds me, some do, but I would not classify Brwon and Beckett leaders as such. They were acting, or rather interim leaders, who acted a prerequisite of their role as deputy in full, until a new leader was elected following the death of the previous leader.

  6. I wish I'd seen those, Paul - makes it hard to comment otherwise - but having read about his background I'd probably border on the 'apologist'. You can imagine how he would have been popular in the past, but couldn't survive nowadays. That said, having spent some time in his patch myself, I'm not sure his 'robust' views wouldn't have stood him in good stead today.

  7. I can see, in some respects, why he was popular. Like the immortal Jemmima, when he was good he could be excellent, but when he wasn't (which was, sadly, all too often) he could be foul.
    On one level I can see why many Gaitskellites voted for Brown in 1963. a) He was on their wing of the Party and b) He wasn't Harold Wilson. That said, many from both wings of the Party have mentioned that he could be an unpleasant and rude bully and many in the public became aware that he was a bad-tempered alcoholic. I am just surprised that Wilson (although I can see that he felt that Brown had many allies on the right) ended up making him Foreign Secretary, but then, he did self-destruct in the end and resigned.

  8. The epitome of charm as grace as per...

    Re Anthony Eden: If you'd lost two brothers on the Western Front, were yourself injured in Flanders, suffered reduced lung capacity following a gas attack, endured lifelong agony after a scalpel slipped and virtually destroyed one of your vital organs, read poetry in its original Arabic and Persian, I think I might pause to think for a moment before throwing around insults like 'pompous 1950's twats'. There was a bit for to the man besides an unfortunate Nasser obsession.