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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Not Short Of Words

"The country needs Gordon to be Prime Minister and Gordon needs me to be his Deputy. I'll make Gordon look good."

I wish I could report these as the words of My Little Chipmunk, but unfortunately they are today's sound-bite from The Bitch, as reported in The Sunday Telegraph... and in the Sunday Times. And how she looks more and more like Joan Collins with each passing day!

I'll soon get the sad git sorted outIn a comment clearly aimed as a dig at Hazel, Fontaine Khaled (gloriously beautiful, she has shed her sad little trade unionist husband for the life she really wants: a riotous whirl of champagne, designer clothes, and the hottest, sexiest men) reports that "she does not have any T-shirts saying: 'Hats off to Hattie'" or "a heart-rending working class heritage", but she is the rising star of the Labour deputy leadership contest.

Reinforcing Gordon's rejection of American coat-tailing, she deftly replaced the phrase "diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks" with the impeccably English and consummately middle class: "different people converse with different audiences." Nothing surprising there. Whereas she delights in self-deprecation ("he [Gordon] discusses neo-endogenous growth theory, I talk about my foolproof recipe for asparagus tart"), the truth is that she is the niece of Elizabeth, Countess of Longford and was privately educated at St Paul's Girls' School, whereas Gordon was state school-educated at Kirkcaldy High School. That background establishes the basis of the relationship - "Gordon Brown is Radio 4 and I am Radio 2. Together we make 360º."

No lower-middle-class chattering where Harriet is concerned! Just nice easy-listening music.

Although Gordon's closest advisors and supporters, Yvette Cooper, Ed Balls and Douglas Alexander, are backing Harriet, she insists she is not the Chancellor's favourite. Just someone who can knock the dour old Presbyterian fart into shape. Insisting on a change of style in No. 10 when Gordon moves in and making it clear who will be in the driving seat, she told the press: "It's got to be no spin, no briefings, no secrets, no factions, respect for Parliament. Gordon does listen, he's hungry for new ideas. There have been enough times when I've been right and Gordon hasn't that I can stand up to him." As Deputy Leader, Harman would try to bring out the Chancellor's feminine side. "Gordon will never be shallow, he won't ever be fluffy, but he will show himself," she said, continuing this risqué line of argument with: "Politicians discussing their underwear and being touchy-feely should be banned - do you want to be touched and felt? But... people need to be able to see Gordon, they want to know their Prime Minister, and he will understand that."

After a hard day in Downing Street - a visit to PrimarkI'm gobsmacked. Linda wasn't that domineering in her speech at our wedding reception - not even after three Margaritas and a couple of strawberry daquaris.

In a performance aimed at the austerity brigade, Harriet insists that her spouse will not insist on driving a few yards in a Jaguar to protect his hair. "Jack hasn't got any hair to blow around, I'm afraid," she said. And nor will she be caught playing croquet at Dorneywood - "I don't think we should have any grace and favour houses." When she got to the bit about Prime Ministers' wives not needing a clothing allowance "for goodness sake" because "they can go to Primark", I fell of my chair laughing. Does anyone seriously think Harriet Harman has ever entered the portals of a Primark store? Perhaps I'll pop down to The Narrow Way and ask them if she's been in lately.

At least there was nothing controversial in her comments about the right of those who can afford it to opt out of the NHS and to send their children to private schools. Gordon may have been a bit embarrassed by the rest of Harriet's carefully orchestrated PR campaign, but on these core policy issues she's totally in line with the future boss. I'd better not say anything about the basic principles of the Labour movement regarding education and the NHS, or I'll sound like an anti-Brown dissident or - worse still - like some kind of loony leftie!

1 comment:

Cedric Smythe-Featherstonehaugh said...

As an ordinary CLP member, I don't get the bit about "a heart-rending working class heritage". What does "working class" mean?