Remembering ‘Lab men’ and ‘Con men’
WHAT could Keir Starmer have done? Well he could have donned a “Ganex” raincoat, placed a briar pipe in his left hand and spoke only in a northern accent. That’s silly, I know, but not as ridiculous as a photoshoot of the Labour leader staring appreciatively at a roll of plain wallpaper in a John Lewis store. Who on Earth thought that one up?
Harold Wilson used the image of a working-class man made good with sound common sense and a reliability to guide the country through difficult times. His cabinet contained solid characters such as James Callahan, Denis Healy and, to a lesser extent, George Brown.
They were going to lead us into a “white hot scientific revolution” and the country would prosper greatly.
The Daily Mirror printed a cartoon at the time which still makes me smile whenever I think of it. There was Wilson and his cabinet, all dressed in white coats, looking thoughtful and determined.
The title underneath was “the LAB men”. Next to them was a group of men dressed in shabby suits looking awkward and shifty with the title underneath “the CON men”. I’ve
hung my head in dismay every time the Labour party elected a leader who may have been laudable, but had no chance of becoming Prime Minister - Michael Foot, Ed Milliband and Jeremy Corbyn.
Now how about this for a brilliant strategy?
Hartlepool was one of the strongest Brexit-voting constituencies. It seemed imperative to get a local person, who’d grown up there and had a reputation as a Brexiteer.
What happened? They put forward a known, ardent “remainer” from outside the area and he was soundly beaten. Who would have thought it? What a surprise.
With strategic thinking like this I don’t think I’ll ever see another Labour government in my lifetime, even if I live as long as it takes Boris to finally bring out a workable old age health care policy.
David Goodger, Leicester