Wednesday, July 19, 2006

John Prescott v the Snobbocracy

Yesterday, Iain Dale published a light-hearted post asking some of his 114,000 readers to nominate John Prescott's greatest achivement.

I should have known better than to get involved of course...but I rose to the bait and suggested that perhaps his greatest achievement was managing to reach high office at all given his deprived background and the degree of social prejudice that he has had to encounter as a result.

It duly provoked a tidal wave of abuse with one poster suggesting I should be locked up in a padded cell next to Ian Huntley and another branding me "sad" and suggesting I need psychiatric help.

You can read the whole thread in all its glory HERE.

Update: Many of the comments on both Iain's blog and this one carry the assumption that Prescott owed his election as Deputy Leader to his links with the unions and to the "Old Labour" block vote. This is not quite historically accurate.

In fact, Prescott got the gig largely as a result of his steadfast loyalty to John Smith the previous year during the 1993 conference row over one-member-one-vote (OMOV) in contrast to the incumbent deputy, Margaret Beckett, who made the mistake of appearing to give only lukewarm backing for the idea.

Hence when Smith died and the two leadership jobs came up for grabs, it was Prescott rather than Beckett who was the modernisers' choice for deputy, bizarre though this may seem in view of their subsequent careers.

Doubtless some of the unions supported Prescott, but most of the left-wing ones, including the one of which I was then a member, voted Beckett-Beckett for leader and deputy leader.

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Sabretache said...

Paul - I passed on that one.

I agree it's an 'achievement' - a substantial one too. I'm no snob - in fact snobbery and it's inverse, in all it's forms is one of my genuine phobias - But Prescott's 'acheivement' tells us a great deal about UK politics and why we tend to get the governments we deserve. Sexual predation aside, the guy is a cunning, self-serving, hypocritical, blustering, bully. 21st century Britain it seems, is thoroughly deserving of his power and wisdom lording over it.

BondWoman said...

Careful. They'll follow you over here and beat you up. You are right, of course, because your nomination pertains to the reaching of high office, not what he did (or didn't do) with it once he got it.

Ellee Seymour said...

The achievement you mentioned would have been great if Prezza had an ounce of personality and charm, intelligence and intellect. It is totally baffling that he achieved such high office while lacking what I consider these essential skills.

I'm afraid I don't approve of your reference to Ian Huntley in this flippant way. My sons go to Soham Village College and we know the families whose daughters were murdered.

Paul Linford said...

Steady on Ellee - it wasn't me that dragged Ian Huntley into it! It was a poster on Iain's blog calling himself Napoleon Bonaparte!

Alfie said...

Prescott - a man able to pick at random a pile of words from the English language, write them down (sorry, getting someone else to write them down) on little bits of card, shuffling them, then chucking them out of the top window of Canary Wharf and picking them up in no particular order once they've landed on the ground.

Now blindfolded, he tapes them together with sellotape - and heads off to the Party Conference with his taped up speech..... There he delivers his oration - a speech that makes Edward Lear prose look like a sober piece of analysis......

John Prescott's greatest achievement? Actually getting people to give him a standing ovation afterwards, whilst every single one of them is thinking 'What the hell was that all about?'

Apart from that, he's bloody useless. The naffest of the naff.

Croydonian said...

I thought it was rather sad that there are people at Iain's who don't follow other blogs or generally know what is going on.

While I do not share your opinion of Prescott, you have my sincere sympathies for having had all of that thrown at you - I loathe comment makers who (particularly with 'civilians') play the man/woman, not the ball.

MatGB said...

What a lot of people forget (or were never aware of) is how effective an opposition politician he was. I can remember being genuinely impressed by him in the run up to his election as DL, and also by his stated positions on a lot of issues (transport policy and devolution for two).

Unfortunately, an effective, crowd pleasing opposition politician does not alway make an effective administrator. If he hadn't been in a high elected party office, pretty sure Blair would have dumped him from a policy role much earlier. Arguably, he should never have had one, and concentrated on the backend politiking, but word has it he wouldnt accept that.

You're right Paul, he did do well to get where he is, unfortunately, he's done nothing while in that job.