Saturday, 4 December 2010

Postie Johnson interview

Always an interesting character, if nowhere near as good as he is often hyped up to be by some in the media, former postman Alan Johnson, interviewed by Mary Riddell in The Telegraph, gives away quite a lot.

While he is obviously trying to be loyal and papering over the cracks in the Labour party under new party leader Ed Miliband, there is a lot that tells the real story.

Selective quotes show this in stark relief; but to be fair to all sides it isn't quite as one-sided as it would appear simply from picking the 'best' quotes to make one's point. However it is at least a reasonable approximation. Here's one example:
He is quick to agree that Labour’s economic credibility is in pieces. “We lost it. That’s the truth of the matter. We’ve lost it to such an extent that when we do polling, the 13 years of what we did — low interest rates, inflation under control, the highest level of employment in our history, paying down debt — all that’s been turned into 13 years of overspending and debt."
I'll give him this: he is at least trying to give the impression of honesty and openness, which is perhaps his trademark, almost alone with the senior ranks of the Labour party.

Mary Riddell gives Johnson specific credit here:
Mr Johnson’s acumen is not in doubt. No one absorbs a brief more quickly, and his early keynote speech, at the Royal Society of Arts, presented a polished denunciation of Coalition “myths” about Labour’s record, as well as admitting that the Brown government became overdependent on City tax revenues.
Even so, his response to David Cameron in his first outing as Shadow Chancellor in that level of debate, a few weeks ago, was dire, bordering on embarrassing. Johnson shouldn't be overestimated any more than it would be advisable to underestimate him: he's not all that good, just less bad than most if not all of his Shadow Cabinet colleagues.

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