McTernanator and the Quiet Victory
Politics as we know is full of rough and tumble, and few have been schooled better in hard-knocks than one John McTernan, the sage like SPAD who brought the Old Bill to Tony’s door, and whose career has been on a slippery downwards slope ever since. Lurching about the Tory press like a demented scribe he would pen articles so preposterous you’d think they were written just for comic thrills. “You got any Rod Liddle? No but we’ve got a doozy from McTernan” the editors would shriek. He appeared to have reinvented New Labour as an absurdist cult demanding that we “Disband the Fire Brigade” and ‘Smash the Unions”.
Only recently he declared that “The Tories should crush the rail unions once and for all – voters would thank them for it”. He made poor Tom Harris and Brian Wilson look like wee Red Tory snowflakes.
Now, incredibly, after months of stabbing the Labour leader in the back on a daily basis, he has penned a ‘Memo’ to Corbyn offering his invaluable advice (and virtually attaching a CV). It’s full of macho posturing (“Punch the Bruise!” – “By any means necessary!”) and ridiculously obvious advice, punctuated with his own, out of place and rejected agenda (“Now is time for a ‘prawn cocktail’ offensive with business leaders – they need to understand that what you say matters” – and “Broadening your base in the Labour Party – embracing all the volunteers who delivered this shock and all the MPs who can contribute to the parliamentary struggle” he pleads).
The Prawn Cocktail Offensive was the term used for John Smith’s efforts to woo business and persuade them that Labour was not hostile to them. It was a precursor to Blairism and has entered mythical status amongst remnant Blairites still fighting their own PFI ‘Nam.
Maybe most weirdly of all he offers advice from his experience Down-Under. Alert readers might recall that John’s time in Oz advising Julia Gillard wasn’t exactly a spectacular success.
Matthew Knot from Crikey writes on “The McTernan curse”:
“In May McTernan, a former adviser to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, fired off an email to a journalist defending Kyle Sandilands, who regularly interviews the PM. He wrote:
”Perhaps one day you will know what it is like to entertain and touch the hearts of millions of people like Kyle and Jackie O do every day. And perhaps then you will reflect on the darts of the pygmies who sneer at success.”
In March, McTernan hit the headlines for saying it was “hardly f-cking relevant” if he had been hired on a 457 visa — even though the government was on an Aussie-jobs-first crusade.”
“Good luck. Happy to discuss” he signs off.
Also odd over at the Statesman is a strange piece of hagiography by Julie Lampen, on our own Kezia Dugdale “Kezia Dugdale’s Quiet Victory”.
Perhaps taking note of the arithmetically challenged work of journalists working on re-framing Ruth Davidson’s election numbers she declares:
“Today, Dugdale is not only the leader of Scottish Labour (and one of four openly gay Scottish leaders) but its comeback queen”, before explaining: “The party, once the dominant force in Scottish politics, lost all but one of its 41 seats at the 2015 general election. Labour then came third (behind the SNP and the Conservatives) in the Scottish Parliament elections of 2016. In the 2017 local elections in May, it lost 133 council seats.”
She quotes Dugdale saying: “What happened on election night, she believes, was “the sweet spot between being pro-Union and anti-austerity”.
Good luck with that.