First thing on the radio this morning - an interview with the appalling Douglas Alexander MP, the man chosen by fellow Scot Gordon Brown to be his general election campaign coordinator.
A man whose photographs are too hideous to publish here.
We have to wonder what Mr Alexander's qualifications are for this key job - a job he was appointed to as soon as GB took over as PM. Well - just like Gordon, his father is a Church of Scotland minister. He also played the bugle in the Boy's Brigade. In 1990 he started work as a speech-writer and parliamentary researcher for . . . Gordon Brown. After that he went off to train as a solicitor.
On qualifying as a solicitor he worked for a firm of solicitors in Edinburgh - his only 'real' job outside politics. He left after 6 months.
Whilst still studying, in 1995, with friends in the local party and the backing of Gordon Brown - his mentor - he was selected to be a Scottish Labour Party candidate.
What is it with Gordon Brown, whose 59th birthday it is this very day, and his circle of young men? -
Douglas Alexander - 43
David Miliband - 45
Ed Balls - 43
Ed Miliband - 41
Andy Burham - 40
Liam Byrne - 40
Does Brown see himself as some sort of mentor to all of them? Or does he just enjoy being with and around thrusting young men - party apparatchiks who appear to be full of bright ideas and enjoy gobbing off, so to speak? Young men who know how to use computers and smartphones, and are also willing to toe the New Labour line and defer to the Great Gord?
This is how Douglas Alexander has voted on key issues since 2001:
* Voted a mixture of for and against a transparent Parliament.
* Voted strongly for introducing ID cards.
* Voted very strongly for introducing foundation hospitals.
* Voted strongly for introducing student top-up fees.
* Voted strongly for Labour's anti-terrorism laws.
* Voted very strongly for the Iraq war.
* Voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war.
* Voted very strongly for replacing Trident.
All very New Labour/Old Tory.
The problem with all these young men is that they tend to sound like over-confident little jerks who went to Oxbridge, who have never had a proper job, and who know nothing about the lives of real people. And that's not the only problem.
Gordon might think that Douglas Alexander is a smart young chap who's dedicated to the party that provides him with his considerable salary (£144,520), and he might think that Wee Dougie's a very able communicator to whom weasel words come easily and fluently, but he's obviously oblivious to the fact that this man's whole image and style of speech is repulsive - reeking of smug arrogance, assumed superiority and naked ambition. And get this Gord - people are going to think to themselves that if this is the best that New Labour has to offer us by way of a Great Persuader - then we ain't going to be voting Labour.
The same things apply to the likes of David (Dave) Cameron (44), George (Oik) Osborne (38) and chums, but at least in their case they're deliberately trying to appeal to people who favour smug arrogance, assumed superiority and naked ambition. Dave was a laugh this week - letting us know that he enjoys (used to enjoy?) drinking canned Guinness and watching darts on the telly.
Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (46) doesn't count, of course. Boris can get away with it. Boris is . . . a card.
Interesting factoid - Gordon Brown's father was christened John Ebenezer Brown.
Here's another thought for Gordo to chew on:
Like it or not, the majority of the English are, if not exactly racist, very much in favour of English politicians. Blair was able to pull off a very good impression of Englishness. Brown can't do that. Neither could poor old Neil Kinnock. Neither can Douglas Alexander. Brown ought to know by now that it's not just a question of what you say - what's even more important, for most people, is how you say it. I don't say this is a good thing. But that's the way it is.
One young man who appears to have seen the light, or possibly the writing on the wall, is James Purnell MP, age 40.
The Guardian published an editorial on him today.
James Purnell's departure from parliament will be a blow for politicshttp://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/20/james-purnell-decision-blow-for-politics
If intelligent people with a future like him feel they should leave parliament, then something is wrong.
Mr Purnell is not exactly walking away – he says he wants to train as a community organiser, working with London Citizens – and he is not leaving wider politics or his party.
Well maybe he's just seen the light. Maybe he's wised up. Good for him.
Maybe he's realised that the arseholes who are the big cheeses in New Labour are an appalling waste of space, and what's more politics is a futile waste of time in this country for someone who would actually like to do something worthwhile with his life.
Here's a selection of some of the less charitable comments on CIF re Mr Purnell's impending departure -
Fricken hell, not another one! Since when did James Purnell take on the status of a latter day Karl Marx? "Political philosopher": my arse.
He's nothing more than an opportunist chancer who has taken his bat and ball home. Quite pathetic really.
You still think it is sufficient 'balance' to say "Mr Purnell made mistakes" without going into detail on what he actually did as 'welfare' minister. Despite the many detailed, and moving, posts about what he did, and tried to do, to the most vulnerable members of society?
His departure is a gain for the Labour Party. He has shown beyond any reasonable doubt that his only interest was himself and his career, not the interests of the party, his constituents and especially not the disabled upon whom he shat from a great height.
Good riddance to the mealy mouthed little shit.
If by Labour becoming 'narrower' you mean the Labour party has lost a part which supported a horrendous abuse of the most vulnerable people in our society with the 'workfare' scheme, then good.
I'd rather see a 'narrower' and more compassionate party. Ideally, as despite some of its policies it still has 'Labour' in the name, a narrower and more Socialist one.
You are really getting fucking annoying now. Do you think we are all so stupid that we fawn and despair at the loss of this possible intellectual colossus?
Apart from an Oxford first and a lucky break arse-licking Blair, what exactly is so special about the man? Are you all so intellectually deficient that such mediocrity leaves you breathless? You continually highlight his supposed intelligence but if we were to see proof of it and evidence of it being put to good effect then you'd might convince us.
He is an example of the NuLab trend of career politician where apart from stints in research and think tanks, these people actually have very little experience of life and are simply parachuted into comfortable sinecures by virtue of their high-level contacts.
You seek to decry his departure when to the rest of us, he represents everything which is wrong about New Labour.
A blow to politics? You must be bloody joking! The man was a menace; he was in favour of ID cards and in favour of the invasion of Iraq, but against any attempt to cast light on the invasion. Purnell is a thoroughly dishonest thug and political opportunist who belongs in jail. Let's just hope that his successor will have more honesty and integrity, and be in favour of democracy and freedom.
I really hope the rest of the bloody Blairites piss off along with this poor excuse for a so-called left-of-centre politician whose political philosophy owes more to the Monday Club then the Fabians.
Give us the Labour Party back - the one that wasn't based in north London bistros and filled up with non-entities who moved from University to researcher to parliament along with various siblings, spouses and children of mebers of the party who form the nepotistic core of the New Labour 'project'.
A blow for politics! The only blow I'm aware of is the Guardian slobbering over the honourable member. Hope you choke on his jizz - ya pack of fluffers.
What are you doing, Guardian? Thousands of perfectly good letters used for writing about Purnell. We could've made alphabet soup with them or street signs or played scrabble. But instead you wasted them on that self-serving twat, Purnell.
James Purnell's departure from parliament will be a blow for politics
No it won't. Given the condition of politics, I cannot think of a single politician, whether I admire them or not, whose departure from it would be significant enough to be described as a blow, let alone one whose voting record places him at the heart of the problem. Those I admire are nowhere near power, and the idea that our best hope for the patient's revival comes from those at the centre of power who smothered it in the first place is, I believe, deluded; it's their prescription that's killing it. The rhetoric of the article's title, "a blow to politics", seems old fashioned and out of touch; it's the rhetoric of the media endorsing the system, trying to convince us that it still has credibility, that politics today still has something to offer, that the departure of someone as mediocre as James Purnell can be described as a blow to it.
What a lot of us want to see is a written constitution, serious electoral reform, some real democracy, and I think I can live with the departure of a loyal member of a government that has done more to reverse its progress than any before it. The friends of James Purnell might feel they've lost an asset, but I doubt you'll see the nation going into mourning.
Any MP who either (a) Supported the Iraq War, (b) supported ID cards or (c) Cheated on their expenses,) should be removed from the Commons at the next election.
The biggest blow to the Labour Party was the massive loss of its members during the Blair years over 200 000, this was due to Blair and his acolytes and Purnell was one of them. Purnell took things a step further with his Earnings and Support Allowance malarkey, thus saving the Tories possibly a great deal of trouble and unpopularity were they to form a government.
It is not so much a blow for politics but a good kick up its arse, up which it has been spending the last 12 years crawling up.
The Guardian really needs to stop grieving for someone who very clearly cares little about his primary duty - that of representing his constituents. Not for him the monotony of listening to those boring dullards with their petty problems. No, he is a visionary made for better things. As a previous poster has said, maybe he should have got some experience prior to entering politics rather than the seemingly usual labour route these days - fee paying school, Oxbridge, media/law, Islington council, safe seat.
This creation of a political class is disturbing and for a labour movement very very wrong. I appeal to those who select his replacement, don't give in to the central office stasi who will try to foist another smooth talking robot onto a constituency which deserves better . Go for someone with a bit of life experience, a bit of local knowledge and maybe even someone who really only wants to be an MP to represent those amongst whom he or she lives.
My personal message to James Purnell. Good luck, good riddance and piss off! Now, how about David Miliband doing the same?
It wouldn't surprise me to see Purnell making a comeback as a Tory, after all, he's been one all a long. Let's face it, him and his ilk were only in the Labour party for the good of their own careers, when the Labour party was in the ascendency. Now it looks like the next government will be a Tory one, there are better places to be for your political career.
AS an ex-Labour Party member who left in protest against PFI I can only rejoice in seeing another New Labour neo con slimeball leave Parliament. The man is an out and out opportunist with no political convictions who was willing to use the sick, disabled and vulnerable for his own political ends and that of his masters in the city.
Why the Guardian insists on portraying him all of a sudden as some sort of great political philosopher is beyond me, and it also seems, many other readers.
The sooner the editors and journos at this paper wake up to the fact that the whole New Labour scam was just that and that you cannot sustain a political movement without convictions or popular support then you are as guilty as anyone of giving comfort to the Tories and far right parties now poaching former Labour voters.
Well ride me sideways...
Just when you think the Graun's editorial line can't get any more patronising...
Hey Philippa, Rednorth and everyone else who's spoken out against shitdribbling cuntychops - we don't hate him because he's a crutch kicking bastard - we hate because our poor little minds are "frustrated" by his towering intellect.
The disconnect between the Guardian and it's readership really does seem wilful at times.
We were told that Gordon Brown had to be anointed Dear Leader because there was nobody else to fill the role: the others were all too useless or incapable or incompetent.
We still ended up with a nobody.
Then, of course, when it became clear that Brown was not up to the job, Peter Mandelson was wheeled in to take over.
So, we then had a toppling tier two of nobodies, like children perched one on the shoulders of the other underneath a blanket, to make themselves look big.
They were, of course, the last in line of this clown-circus troupe and they had been led by Tony Blair.
Tony Blair, the master of happy-clappy vacuity and petty media sensationalism and darling of the glittering, twittering media set.
It is a sign of how low The Guardian has sunk, how much it is floundering, that it needs to cling to the wreckage of the career of someone as lowly and insignificant as James Purnell.
exiledlondoner concluded a very long and spot-on posting with this -
What's really wrong is that a talentless, unprincipled no mark like Purnell, can get so high, and that he could have done just as well if he had chosen the Tories as a vehicle for his ambition..........................................................................
..that, and the fact that a centre-left newspaper is championing this nasty little shit.
Several of the above commenters also posted some very good follow-up pieces.
Well said everyone. And well worth re-posting here, as the thoughts expressed in these CIF comments are about so much more than merely the departure of one individual politician.
The pity is that New Labour will not, and never has, taken a blind bit of notice of any of its critics on the left. Whereas right-wing critics have New Labour running scared.
So - what else have we in the Guardian today?
Well for a start there's a whole section on 'How To Write'.
And talking of good writing - there's a wonderful Zoe Williams piece on the front page today about a young man who's made a bit of a silly billy of himself - Tiger Woods.
You could use words such as "cowed" and "broken" about Tiger Woods, but that would make him sound as if he was on the spectrum of normal..
"I am aware of the pain my behaviour has caused to those of you in this room," he started. Well, up to a point … pain is a strong word, for the experience of realising a golfer is promiscuous. If we're going to call that pain, we might have to make up a new word for actual pain.