Friday, June 15, 2007

Johnson, Benn and Harman Shine on Question Time

Last night Question Time featured the six Labour Deputy Leadership candidates. It was a fairly gentle affair, partially ruined by David Dimbleby's constant - and generally irrelevant - interuptions. I thought Alan Johnson, Hilary Benn and Harriet Harman came across the best, while Peter Hain seemed to be going through the motions. Jon Cruddas seemed slightly detached, almost as if he wished the whole thing were over. Hazel Blears was perhaps a little too combative and loyalist for her own good.

I do enjoy the sight of Harriet Harman dissing the very government she has been a fairly prominent member of for ten years. She is, however, developing a long overdue sense of humour. I suspect it will disappear from whence it came after 27 June.
It seems to me that the order of voting will be something like this:

1. Alan Johnson 2. Hilary Benn 3. Harriet Harman 4. Jon Cruddas 5. Hazel Blears 6. Peter Hain

But I'm usually wrong on these things...


verity said...

O/T and slimey apologies - but is it true that the Chinese have been putting antifreeze into name-brand toothpastes to give them extra flavour? I have this on authority from Houston. I'm still up in my part of the world, and I'm trying to find out the brands.

These are the same people who poisoned pet foods with contaminated gluten.

If I get some more news, I will post it ... and apologies, Iain. Please excuse.

Now, back to Question Time.

Laurence Boyce said...

Yes, Bumblebee was very tiresome. But wasn’t Harriet gorgeous? Not like that’s a relevant consideration or anything . . .

verity said...

Didn't see it, but Harmon's a fat,know-it-all, corrupt big mamma. I thought there was a programme to gun down fat people, now that the smokers have been take care of. Why is Harmon still walking around with her stupid, self-satisfied smirk? She's a fatty. Like Tessa Jowell.

I thought fat people had been outlawed? Did you see her and the Blair manatee in those sarees at the opening of thrilling and successful - since abandoned - Millennium Dome? Fat John Prescott and fat Harriett Harmon or is it Tessa or is it Teresa - Jowell had big plans for a fat people's gambling palace? Wide aisles for waddling around? Extra large chairs to lean over the tables, with not one, but two extra-large beverage holders?

No smoking, of course!

Anonymous said...

I am going to be a party pooper by making a relevant remark or two. Alan Johnson, man-of-the-people came out best; Benn is too vicarly; Blears has more principle than the others; Harman is clever but untrustworthy; Cruddas is a true lightweight and Hain is truly horrible.
If these are best the party has to offer then the country will do still worse over the next couple of years with Lbaour at the helm.
Clergyman in the audience called them to order when he decried their use of "we have been in power". He didn't like that concept and wanted them to recognise that they had been elected to serve the country, not rule it.


mitch said...

I wouldnt give any of em the time of day.didnt answer questions except with pre written rubbish.

Adrian Yalland said...

They were all a bit annoying - but strangely, I found David Dimblemy a bit off putting, which is odd as I usually really like him. He seemed irritated!

Hilary Benn is a decent sort of chap and I liked his honesty, but I am not sure he has enough personality.

Ms. Harmon was just unbearable - exhibiting all that is bad about a Blairite babe over promoted. Ms. Bleary was dreary!

Peter Hain makes my skin crawl - I really, truly do not like him.

I thought Crudas was out of his depth, but sincere and un-spun.

I actually liked Alan Johnson as a person, and although I suspect I would disagree with pretty much all of his policies and politics, I hope he wins (shortly followed by Benn).

The person I want least is Peter Hain, who is unbearable.

Blears would be fun though - soap box anyone?

Man in a shed said...

They all fail for putting their vanity in front of common sense and courage by applying for the Gordon cheerleader non-job.

Lets hope its then end of all their political careers.

Even Roy Hattersley was quote on R4 this morning as saying there should be no such post as deputy leader.

PS The Mole thinks Harman's a shoe in whatever the result. Why did Blair let such a talent go in his first cabinet reshuffle ;-)

Man in a shed said...

For once, the BBC are harder hitting than you Iain.

Harriet -I have no Y chromosome so vote for me- Harman gets the worst comment, IMHO.

Ned said...

Each time I've watched Jon Cruddas I am even more impressed by his relaxed presentation, candour & integrity.....a rarity in today's Politicians. The other wannabe's generally come across as hypocritical & selfish sycophants.... A Tory's view!
Tonight they have a beauty parade on "Question Time"...should be interesting.
My Question , Why give so much airspace to those who are competing for Deputy Leader of the Labour Party?..... nothing to do

Ned said...

....nothing to do with Governance!!

Anonymous said...

Interesting that none of the candidates chose the pompous Hain when asked which of the other candidates they would endorse, despite him being single-handedly responsible for the N.I. resolution...

Also, power to Blears as she doesn't play the 'gender card' like the tiresome, over-promoted sexist "I'm a lady" Harperson. Blears is content to be voted for on her ability, not her chromosomes.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't disagree more. I was pleasantly surprised by Blears, thought Cruddas was the real deal, and by contrast kept haven't to look away in embarrassment for Harman, who I thought bombed. Alan Johnson and Hilary Benn showed their pedigree and didn't get involved in the pettiness. It was when Harman asked Dimbleby whether he was going to ask Johnson about whether he'd be a "Patsy" that I just thought she should have been taken off stage and shot. Peter Hain is still dreadful. The whole sage does confirm to me why I'm proud to be a Tory though

Anonymous said...

Yes Anon 0845. Did you see the evil look on Hain's face when Dimbleby referred to his lack of support from the others.

They'd better watch out if he gets the job!!

Harman is an insufferable middle class busybody.

Why should I care, the more they squabble, the more Jo(e) public will see them and their gangs for what they are.

Andrew Ian Dodge said...

Is it me or has Hazel Blears grown her hair? She looked almost human on Daily Politics yesterday. I think someone might have told her that the skin-head look on a woman does not work for a deputy leader.

She seems to have toned down her regional accent as well.

Newmania said...

The work towards the resolution of NI was begun by John Major and basically it has been bought with colossal UK and EU funds. More is now demanded.
Hain is the pits I only wish he were more prominent in the Labour Party then there would be no chance of them ever forming a government.

What infuriated me was the constant reference to the need to “save “ , the country form the degradations brought about by the Thatcher period . is there anyone outside the Labour Party activist loon compound that believes this . Blair always acknowledged his debt to Margaret Thatcher and the little this government has positively contributed to the mediocre success of the economy has been in not undoing her Union reform and handing control of the interest rates to the B of E . Apart from that the Government has not made , sold or exported a damn thing and I get sick to death of them telling us they have “Given “ us , economic success. They have held it back. They were bequeathed a healthy exchequer a fit economy and a solution to their own misguided Nationalisation, the unemployment they always mention was a consequence of the 1970s and the disastrous inflationary and distorting policies of Callaghan and the co ruling Unions
The so called health of the economy is , in any case , now in considerable doubt .The public Services have been hosed with money to no good effect and Education is a National disgrace. Housing and Benefits Policies are the same 'throw-money-and-hope' deal and Taxes have risen from 39 % to 45% of GDP hitting the marginal working population hardest. At £487.5 net a week single motherhood has become a desirable lifestyle and by this means they claims to have ”Lifted children out of poverty” , has simply been achieved by taxing the productive population to death and throwing the money at the most “Needy”. From Defra to Doctors delivery has been a clown show Parliament ignored , sovereignty ceded , political life degraded and the English conned over the Devolved settlement . Immigration has been out of control , crime , at low levels is misrepresented by the Police allowing them to claim good results and at the same time require ever greater State control and surveillance. The figures are a lie and the Police themselves know they are impotent to deal with the problems
Labour have reached the point where almost no-one working in the private sector and self reliant would dream of voting for them and the truth is that Peter Hain is far more representative of the Party than any of the other candidates. He wants to increase taxes . That is what they will do . it is what they have done and it must be fought .
To sit and listen to those smug fatuous fools congratulate themselves on the last ten years was almost unbearable and on Europe they unanimously agreed that “cooperation on climate change “ was worth handing over the country to the rule of unelected bureaucrats .
How Iain can you maintain such urbane equanimity confronted with such blandly poisonous enemies amd how can COnservatives hand them weapons over the arcane Grammar schools spat ?

PS- Dimbleby was being annoying to stave off the accusation that the BBC were hosting an advert for the Labour Party .Its abit late for that

Anonymous said...

The question about what poverty really means was brushed aside in a bit of a hurry.
If I heard correctly the answer was something about being able to hold dinner parties for your friends at least twice a month!

Chuck Unsworth said...

Great to see the comedy show. As others have commented, Dimbleby - charismatic as he often is - does tend to get in the way sometimes, maybe in the interests of 'moving the debate on'.

But I feel that this process of 'selection' is, in reality, a charade. As always, Brown's acolytes wil be very hard at work behind the scenes rigging everything. So it may well come down to who Brown feels he can 'work with' (i.e. is most compliant).

Off topic:
Verity - Well, Chinese toothpaste now is similar to some French wines, then. Although the frogs apparently hopped into action to stop this practice...

Newmania - is the Caps Lock stuck?

David Boothroyd said...

Harriet Harman hasn't been a member of the government for ten years. She was a member for one year, then out for three years, before rejoining in a much more junior role. Dimbleby was absolutely useless last night, interrupting interesting remarks and demanding that panellists answer questions they had clearly already answered.

PS Iain, you were very keen on posting reports of Martyn Jones' libel case. Now that he has won it, how about acknowledging that and making it clear the Mail on Sunday was despicably fabricating a story just to get at a Labour MP?

Anonymous said...

Harriet - vote for me I'm a southern woman - was dire; she failed to answer any question directly. Hain is a pompous fool. Benn too earnest and fighting old battles. Cruddas a bit old Labour but at least self-deprecating. Blears and Johnston not a bad show.

tapestry said...

I bet Gordon would prefer Hilary Benn. No possible threat unlike Johnson. And another loon about handing billions to African dictators.

Dimbleby's a charming old English eccentric, who's not quite connected up to reality. Keeps things from getting to heated.

Little Black Sambo said...

Newmania 9.35
A wonderful comment, even for you, & bold type ENTIRELY appropriate.

Anonymous said...

All a waste of time, as Gordon will give the post of Deputy PM to ...Gordon Brown.

Also in Gordons cabinet, as Chancellor.. Gordon Brown, and as a sop to his "government of all talents" as Foreign Secretary, Ming Campbell [he's moaned about Iraq for so long - let him sort it out!]

Londoner said...

Johnson was the class act. Benn moderately likeable, and would do little harm. Like others on here, I disagree strongly with Iain about Harman. She got lots of airtime but came across as slimey, pandering to the Labour Party electorate, and generally pretty horrible.

Blears' refusal to join Harman in playing the feminist card the whole time was refreshing, and she is also quite likeable, but I suspect she is too right wing (in Labour terms) to be elected. Johnson may be not much different but his style is more emolluent and he provides the southern appeal that Harman is trying to capture, but won't.

If the Labour Party is serious about retaining power, Johnson is a shoe-in. Let's hope they elect Hain! The look on Hain's face when he was the only one whom no other candidate commended (they were asked to state a major political achievement of another candidate) was a delight to behold. Somewhat in favour of the other five that they have realised he is an utter shxx too, I suppose...

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one to find Dimbleby's show increasingly an excuse for him to indulge his ego and behave pompously, as he tries to cram a quart into a pint pot by badgering his 'guests' with interruptions and snidey remarks to make himself look of a superior intelligence. He is failing miserably as he is becoming the story.

Surprised you think Harman acquitted herself well - her main pitch for the job seems to be that she hasn't got a willy - and as she conceded Alan Johnson managed great things to improve the lot of woman workers despite him being a bloke.

Roger Thornhill said...

Harperson is awful. Mediocre. Corrupted. Nannying.

Blears is utterly mad in my view, but no fool - she is smart enough to curb her rabidity for the election. If she wins, just you wait...the Child Catcher will be revealed again.

Johnson is a...johnson. He is balanced - a chip on each shoulder. Nasty orld lerber.

Hain the orange stain. Nuff.

Mr Benn is likeable. With care...a leader in the making but he needs some cojones.

Jon Cruddas is the bloke I like best. I am not saying I agree with a word he says, but at least he appears sincere and transparent.

Who will win? Well, I see it as vote in regard to Deputy of the Party, as I suspect most think the Deputy PM post will be ignored or appointed separately. Maybe if the party hates Brown enough it will be Blears, who will nag Brown to distraction! hahahaaha.

Phi said...

Seeing as the whole thing was set up as a reality talent show, one might as well review it as one.

Clearly Johnson is the only one with the 'X-Factor'. You could imagine having a couple of pints with him (as a Tory) and enjoying it, while actually crediting him with a bit of gravitas and sincerity. His backstory, although overplayed, is impressive. Could you imagine going for a pint with Hain? Only if you wanted to glass him. Benn came across as smug, although he has that sort of face, and Harman and Cruddas were simply out of their depth, although at least the latter seemed to have some sincerity. Blears is likeable but desperate and lightweight. Hain and Harman are doing themselves no favours through this campaign and are just looking
like the dismal, uninspired career politicians that they are.

Unusually, Dimbelby got in the way rather than assisting proceedings.

Ultimately it's a big 'so what?' Unless you're actually in the party it's a non-job, so I don't see why we, or they, are so bothered about it. And as others have noted, Broon will just make sure whoever he wants to work with will get it...

antifrank said...

I thought Hain was truly dreadful, Blears was surprisingly good, Benn (as anonymous Victor said) too vicarly, Cruddas OK, Johnson terrified of saying anything interesting and Harman the best that I've seen her.

I suspect Johnson will win, but Cruddas should win.

verity said...

Man in A Shed and an Anonymous: What is a "shoe-in"? Cannot you see it makes no sense?

The phrase is shoo-in - as in, waving a pinafore or just one's arms to shoo geese or ducks over to where you want them. They always go immediately. It's easy; they run to wherever you're shooing them. Hence, shoo-in - certain and easy.

I agree with Adrian Yelland: Harriet Harman is absolutely unbearable. That well-padded body. That insufferably smug face. (Socialist women are often fat. Tessa Jowell's a fatty. And Ruth Kelly.)

The Huntsman said...

Cruddas is indeed out of his depth, but at least he had the grace to answer the question first time every time. The rest just would not do so, even where the answer was either 'yes' or 'no'.

Cruddas won't get it but he is plainly a lurcher to the left and so would be good for the Tories.

One suspects that the smart money will now be firmly on Johnson.

I think Harman may do worse than third. I have an interesting take on the role that Harman played in the Cash for Peerages on my blog which suggests a reason why she will not be breaking out the champagne anytime soon.

troymolloy said...

I really find it astonishing that so many people apparently find Hazel Blears acceptable in any way... the sooner she is relegated to party obscurity (and thus from our TV screens, where she seems to have appeared almost weekly for the last couple of years) the better. What an incredibly insincere and evasive asp she is!

Colin D said...

why dont nobody want to know that bumptious little twerp who fixed up NI. all on his own As for benn jr. I've heard the record before, several too mant times. All second stringers.

tapestry said...

colin - gordon prefers second stringers as they present no threat to his position. he won't want johnson as he's a blairite. he'll probably have the postal vote rigged and ensure he gets Harman. It's PC to have a woman near the top rung.

Votedave said...

Tony Blair said at PMQs it didn't matter who the deputy leader was!

Roger Thornhill said...

verity: What is a "shoe-in"? Cannot you see it makes no sense?

To me it makes sense, seeing as I would like nothing more than to kick that bunch soundly up the backside. So it is correct, as in "whump my shoe-in t'your flabby behind!"

Anonymous said...

Is it my imagination, or is Peter Hain looking a little paler these days?

londonerr said...

I'm sorry to have to return the comment board to more serious matters ... but exactly what motorcycle does the over-excited, climax-a-minute Blears ride? I couldn't imagine her riding any bike without stabiliser wheels.

Johnny Norfolk said...

I thought thay were given a very easy time. I would have liked to have seen them answering more questions from the people rather than Dimbleby asking his questions.

I would have liked to have asked them what they think of the Scotts haveing access to drugs and medicines on the NHS that the English do not, and what do they think should be done about it.

Terry Hamblin said...

I think I might even get a vote in this election. One of my children used to be a member of the Labour party when a student and although no sub has been paid for a decade or so they still send the literature to my house. So I can cast his vote for the candidate who will do the most damage to the party. My order would be 1] Peter Hain - who could not detest the pompous toe-rag? 2] John Cruddas - he would certainly resurrect the old v new Labour argument. 3] Hariet Harmon - a middle class feminist would alienate most of the working classes. 4] Hazel Blears - the only thing she has got to aid Labour's downfall is her height. 5] Alan Johnson - slick, professional and the darling of the unions, but all he could do to ditch Labour would be to voice his continues support for the Iraq war. 6] Hillary Benn - I am afraid he would be an asset to Labour because of his intelligence and reasonableness. He's like the vicar that no-one could really dislike.