It won’t come as much of a surprise to my regular reader if I were to tell you that I don’t have a lot of time for politicians. I met quite a few through work, so I suppose it could be a case of familiarity breeding contempt.
Take Cyril Smith for example. I met him years ago, long before we know what we know now, and even then he struck me as a slime ball who believed his own publicity and not a bit like the jovial, no-nonsense politico we saw on tv.
Then there was David Mellor who was just as unpleasant and pompous as everyone thought he was. At least he can’t do much harm as an opera critic these days.
Others were downright mendacious, particularly the LibDems in my experience. One of their current crop of MPs was elected on the back of a totally spurious claim that then government intended closing a much loved hospital even though he knew it to be untrue.
Some of them were okay of course. Ken Clarke, for example, is exactly the same in private as he is in public and has a sharp mind to boot and I had a lot of time for Andy Burnham and Alan Milburn. But they all share the same personality flaw – they’re politicians.
There are those now and then who are a cut above the rest and one such was Paul Goggins whose funeral it was today. Personable, principled, perceptive and compassionate, he was all these things, and he never lost touch with his roots.
He was one of the good guys and is a genuine loss to British politics – which is more than I can say for some of those he leaves behind.