Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Another Yawn from Michael Portillo

I see that most successful of ex-politicians Michael Portillo has described William Hague and David Davis as 'has-beens', who David Cameron should not have appointed to his Shadow Cabinet. Better, I suppose to have been a 'has-been' than a 'never-was'...

UPDATE 6pm: I've just read Andrew Gimson's excellent column on Portillo in the Telegraph. Click HERE to read it.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I wouldn't throw around the accusation of "never was" until Mr Davis has been in the cabinet and Mr Hague has done a more substantial job than a brief stint as Welsh Secretary. Portillo at least had the good grace to leave the stage when his 2001 bid failed - effectively admitting he was indeed a "has been".

Iain of course won't agree, but aside from Cameron's fast-ending honeymoon there is a real issue of quality on the frontbench - from the woefully lacklustre like Osborne and Fox to dinosaurs like Davis and nobodies like Swire.

Anonymous said...

I detest Portillo. The worst kind of opportunist possible. He had his chance in 95 and blew it. Since then, he's seeked to blame everyone but himself. Odious.

Paul Linford said...

Where does he say this? I've seen the story about "throwbacks" but wasn't aware he'd singled anyone out. How about a link ;-)?

Michael Rock said...

Where did you hear/read this? Portillo annoys me but I like to hear his views; it makes me feel secure in my own beliefs!

Rigger Mortice said...

watching him cosying up to that Diane Abbot is just pewk inducing.He makes me sick.awfully sick.when he sits there chatting with her about his 'nearly was' leadership challenge.

Get real you loser!

Anonymous said...

If Hague or Davis had half the insight that Portillo has, we'd currently be living with, at least, a hung parliament.

They are both USELESS. I once had a 3/4 hour sit down with Hague and came away with the conclusion that he had no idea whatsoever of what the Tories needed to do to get back into power.

Paul Linford said...

Anonymong - There are always issues of quality on the frontbench when a party has been out of power for a long time. That said, I've always thought Osborne was over-promoted as shadow chancellor at this stage of his career and that DC would have been better off giving that job to Hague. That in turn would have enabled him to keep Rifkind on board by giving him shadow foreign sec and that would have lent the team some much needed extra gravitas.

Someone should really write a book about Portillo, the Lost Leader. So many hopes seemed to be invested in him but I wonder whether the truth of the matter is simply that he was never as good as he was cracked up to be. When I saw him at the Press Gallery Lunch during the 2001 leadership campaign, floundering under perfectly straightforward questions about drugs and gay marriage that could easily have been anticipated, I really could not believe my eyes.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree, JM, although not having a clue how to take the Tories back to power does not necessarily mean Hague should not be part of the shadow cabinet or that he would not be a good cabinet member one day. It is a conundrum greater minds than his have failed to solve, although many of them had the good sense or bad luck to fail away from the leadership hotseat.

I am not a huge Portillo fan myself but with hindsight it was a major blunder by the Tories not to go with him in 2001. The least said about IDS the better, but Clarke wasn't coming up with any thinking about how to get back and Howard never showed signs of doing so (although to be fair he could do little but steady the ship by the time he got it and made a fair fist of that in many ways). Portillo was deeply flawed and divisive but at least showed signs of having an effing clue.

Anonymous said...

I thought the fact that Prescott very nearly got the better of Hague at PMQs recently was very revealing.

Pulsar said...

Sure some people lack the vast Ministerial experience Tone had when he came into government-Davis Hague and Fox are quality people-unlike the piano merchants on the not so new Labour front bench!
Portaloo is history-haven't the BBC signed him?
Bring on Milburn and let the Party begin again!!!

Anonymous said...

Portillo has never forgiven the Conservatives for not electing him leader, and he never will. He therefore spends his days carping and criticising from the sidelines, and naturally, the BBC are only too happy to pay him to do so. Think that goes under their name of "balanced reporting" these days.