Harriet Harman announced yesterday that she is standing for the Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party, her main theme appears to be that she is a woman. Whilst I can see why not having a little cocktail sausage to wave at the secretaries might be a priority for Labour after Prezza's tenure it hardly seems to be a sufficient reason for backing someone.
In 1997 Harriet Harman was appointed Social Security Secretary, despite being the ultimate Blairite she was so incompetent in the role that she had to be sacked after barely a year in the job. She was intellectually not up to the task of reforming her department and incapable of getting on with those who were capable (ie Frank Field). She has since been allowed to return to a more junior role within the government outside the cabinet. Yet this cabbage is considered the standard bearer for Labour's womanhood!
The frightening thing is that Harman might well be the stongest Labour female candidate. Despite Nu-Lab's boasting about the number of women MP's they have, the ones they consider to be cabinet material are- Margaret Beckett who was actually a safe pair of hands at Defra but is in her 60s now, Hillary Armstrong who was the worst Chief Whip in living memory, Ruth Kelly who thinks that child molesters make good teachers, Patricia 'Best Year Ever' Hewitt, Hazel 'the nodding chipmonk' Blears, Baroness Amos and Jacqui Smith. Is there a left wing equivalent of Margaret Thatcher amoungst that lot? I doubt it. Jacqui Smith could be worth placing a bet on for the number two job if Labour MPs decide they need a woman in that position.
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