Monday, June 25, 2007

Not a good start for Harriet

I was genuinely pleased for Harriet Harman when she won the Deputy Leadership yesterday - she was by no means the worst of the six candidates - and some of the coverage of her victory today has been less than gallant.

The Lobby, as is its wont, seems to have collectively decided that Gordon's decision not to make her DPM was a calculated snub. Which it wasn't - he only ever intended to make the winner of this contest DPM if he had to, ie in the event of a runaway victory. The truth is that Alan Johnson wouldn't have become DPM on 50.4pc of the vote either.

All of that said, Harman's interview on the Today Programme this morning, in which she denied ever having called on the government to apologise for the war in Iraq, made her look both disingenuous and stupid - all the more so coming the day after she called for an "end to spin."

As can clearly be seen from this transcript of her earlier comments, she is quite clearly playing with words in a way that has previously brought New Labour into such disrepute. Poor show.

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