Posted by: nastylittletruths | September 6, 2010

A Free Political Lesson

So the members of government had their four-day retreat in the sister isle of Tobago and hopefully they have all learnt some good things… I heard that they had Daniel Shapiro, an expert in negotiations; Tony Fraser advising on governance and ethics and Martin Daly (who still didn’t pull any punches in his Sunday Express column yesterday) on legal matters.

Now all of the above was very good and sorely needed, but one thing you can’t lecture a politician on is politics, so they would not have asked anyone to give them advice on that one, aye? Politics is a multiple-headed beast that has to be fed in all different ways, but whereas the following ‘constructed’ conversation is intended as food for thought, it is especially aimed for Jack the Giant Killer…

Taken from “The Deal”, a 2003 TV movie portraying the rise of Tony Blair to the leadership of the Labour Party and the sidelining of Gordon Brown after the death of John Smith in 1994:

Stage: Peter Mandelson (now Baron Mandelson) walking into Gordon Brown’s office…

Gordon B: “I will not stand aside! And I will win too!”

Peter M: “That will be difficult… You have a problem in that you are no longer appearing to be the frontrunner… Certainly you are seen as the greater intellectual force and strategic thinker the party has… and no one is saying that you are not capable of being leader… merely that the timing is bad for you and lately there has been… presentation difficulties…”

Gordon B: “Oh really? What’s that? PR for Scottish?”

Peter M: “It means you alienate people Gordon… you can be moody…”

Gordon B: “Others call that passion”

Peter M: “… and intense…”

Gordon B: “I have high standards”

Peter M: “… and intolerant…”

Gordon B: “I don’t countenance fools!”

Peter M: “… all of which is admirable, but politics is not always about higher matters… sometimes it’s about the ugly business of making friends… keeping friends… being liked…”

It is history that Tony Blair went on to lead the party and three consecutive wins at the polls before he handed over to Gordon Brown – who promptly lost his first election.

What is the lesson? The ugly business of making friends, not enemies… of keeping friends, not alienating the few that you have… and being liked, not hated. Not every statement should be polarising as the ole Dubya – “you are either with us or against us…”

Okay, Jack?

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