Friday, April 3, 2009

The Political Heavyweights

Who said this: 'Although recent events in the Channel have not necessarily been to our advantage, the country can be assured that, under this administration, any form of hostile force will be met with resistance at the earliest opportunity'. Answer at the end.

I've been thinking about political heavyweights - people with stature and respect across the political spectrum. In the 60s and 70s there were Rab Butler, Enoch Powell, Willie Whitelaw, Denis Healey and Roy Jenkins - and you can add the party leaders Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan and, yes, Mrs Thatcher.

But who are the big guys today? Gordon Brown is a giant on a front bench of pygmies - and he'll be gone soon - the Tories could make a case for Ken Clarke - and of course we have our own Vince Cable - but that's about it!

On the other hand, do we want the heavyweights today? The political spotlight means we now favour young photogenic politicians with the right image, rather than establishment types. Would the Tories today choose the Edwardian Macmillan over the young family man Cameron? Would Labour have opted for the reformist Attlee over the bright young thing Blair?

So my conclusion is that we are to blame. We like our politicians to be young, trendy and fashionable in the dumbed down age of Big Brother and The X-Factor. Image and presentation is more important than policy. What would a 21st century spin doctor make of Winston Churchill's grand speeches and expressions?

Which brings me back to the quote - yes, it was Churchill. He actually said 'we shall fight them on the beaches' but I have updated it for a 2009 audience.

No comments:

Post a Comment