Monday, October 03, 2022

Wanted: A 'boring' PM

I've now lived through 13 Prime Ministers and, in my former incarnation as a political journalist, even interviewed a few of them.

Most historians would rate Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair as the most significant PMs of the last 60 years, but the ones I have the most respect for are three of the more under-rated figures to occupy 10 Downing Street - James Callaghan, John Major and Gordon Brown.

All three faced economic crises of varying degrees, with some success in turning around those situations around before leaving office. All three radiated a sense of decency, commitment to public service and respect for institutions. And all three eventually lost elections to superficially more 'exciting' figures who, irrespective of their other achievements, all left the country more divided than the one they inherited - Thatcher by the nature of her industrial and social policies, Blair by the political catastrophe of the Iraq War which indelibly stained the reputation of an otherwise great PM, and David Cameron by the equally catastrophic Brexit referendum which led directly to the political and economic chaos the UK faces today.

So when this country finally gets a chance to cast its verdict on the current shitshow that's masquerading as a government, I don't want an 'exciting' PM. I want one who is compassionate, honest and humane and one who will seek to re-unite this country around a belief in the common good.

Sir Keir Starmer is not a Thatcher or a Blair, he's not going to pull-up any trees in No 10, and he may well turn out to be a transitional one-term PM who then hands the torch on to one of the younger, brighter stars in the Labour firmament such as Bridget Phillipson or Wes Streeting.

But neither is he someone who is going to trash our economy, our institutions, our civil service and our international reputation in the way Liz Truss and Boris Johnson have done. And for now, that's more than good enough for me.

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