Major loses the class war

FORMER political leaders should command a certain respect, even from those who opposed them during their time in office.

I did not, and do not, like Margaret Thatcher, but I can nevertheless admit to respecting, even admiring her. I respect anyone who has had the skill to reach the highest (indirectly) elected office in the land, whatever their party.

With one exception.

Because I’m finding it awfully difficult to feel any respect for John Major these days. Every time he opens his mouth it is to criticise his successor(s). Maybe I’m old fashioned but shouldn’t former PMs be statesmanlike?

He was at it again today, criticising the government’s economic policy. I’ll say that again for those of you who are unable to suspend disbelief: John Major is criticising the government’s economic policy.

Yeah, I know.

The man who, as chancellor, pressured Margaret Thatcher into joining the euro European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) at an unsustainable rate, the man who then, as prime minister, presided over the chaos of Black Wednesday, the man who led his party to its greatest electoral defeat in nearly a century… is criticising the government’s economic policy.

What a joke. The man’s got no class.

Can you imagine Tony Blair behaving like that – touring the studios, pathetically eager for someone to pay him some attention?

I guess he’s still bitter, and no-one can blame him for that. But it’s bad form for former prime ministers to behave as a second rate attack dog – leave that to back bench bloggers and nurture your legacy…

traffic_cone

John Major's proudest achievement. Yet, unbelievably, he still lost!

Advertisements

39 Comments

Filed under Conservative Party, Economy, Government, Politics

39 responses to “Major loses the class war

  1. That he failed the bus conductoring test yet succeded in becoming aTory leader tells one a bit about:

    (a) the man
    (b) the London Transport staff selection process
    & (c) the Tory Party

    He wasn’t too bad a President of Surrey County Cricket Club though. He certainly seemed more at home at the Oval than in Downing Street. And best not mention his taste for bland curries…

  2. jaymason

    I think Alistair Darling had a pop at it today as well admitting that we would get hit harder than most due to dependency on the city and property values, both of which are collapsing nicely. Brown has now seen Streling devalue far more than Majors black Wednesday, so I think any memebr of NU-Lab slagging off Major is throwing stones whilst in a glass house

  3. “Can you imagine Tony Blair behaving like that – touring the studios, pathetically eager for someone to pay him some attention?”

    Yes, yes and YES!
    I’m not a Tory, Lib Dem or Labour supporter, so there’s no bias for the Tories here, but I can CERTAINLY see Mr Tony ‘to the highest bidder/biggest camera crew’ Blair touring the television studios desperate for attention. Didn’t he show up on Richard and Judy in during his ‘whirlwind’ (read-never ending) farewell to the inconsolable British public?

  4. I think it’s a legacy thing, Tom.

    I don’t know if you saw Lamont on BBC News Hardtalk recently, but he all but claimed that he was right and that the economy generally, and specifically Black Wednesday, was all Major’s fault for caving in to the ‘left’ of the Tory Party.

    Those left-right divisions run much deeper in the Conservative Party than in Labour, and Cameron knows it. To his credit (did I just say that?), he has managed so far to keep them mostly hidden. Maybe the Euro elections will change that though?

  5. Well thank God Tony never seeks publicity...

    Good God how dare the man express an opinion contrary to the Dear Leader’s! He must be taken to the tower immediately.

    Catch a grip on yourself Tom, this is a ludicrous post. Why exactly is a former PM not allowed to comment on the actions of his successors? It’s not as if he (they) don’t know a thing or two about how to do the job or anything. The idea that an elder statesman, who actually comments very infrequently on matters, is somehow being disloyal to your party by doing so is an incredible accusation to make.

    Oh and for the record John Major did not ever take the UK into the Euro!

    He along with the rest of us is perfectly entitled to criticise the government’s economic polices, after all there are shambolic and getting worse.

    Thankfully, there are people with a significant public profile who can point this out from a position of knowledge.

  6. “Oh and for the record John Major did not ever take the UK into the Euro!”

    You’re right, of course. Sorry. Now corrected.

  7. labourboy

    It’s a sad indictment of the lightweight nature of Cameron’s Conservatives that the most ‘damning’ criticisms of the government come from John Major and Norman Lamont. And the German Finance Minister (who wanted to let the banks fail, but then realised he couldn’t, and did a huge u-turn and funded them to the tune of hundreds of billions of euros).

    Even more pathetic is that I read that Cameron actually asks the old Tory guard to go round the news studios to lay into the government.

  8. Johnny Norfolk

    I think if you ask people most would be most pleased to have John back compared with Brown, Blair and Darling, to name but a few.

    Compared to what we have now he was a giant compared to todays pygmys.

  9. Cropstar

    That’s funny, I seem to remember Labour supporting the ERM too. Best not bring that up 🙂

    And I’d certainly believe Major over Gordon “aren’t we well placed” Brown who seems intent on brinking this country to the brink of bankruptcy with his spend now pay later policy.

    It seems to be the Labour policy, dismiss and put down anybody who disagrees with your own world view. It happened only last week when the German criticism was described as “internal politics”; until people from both sides of the political divide there came out and said Gordon Brown’s plan was dangerous

  10. Tom, you have won the Prize Pratt of the Year Award. It’s a little early to announce this annual award but your consistently stupid and ignorant comments force me to leak this news.

  11. angryvoter

    “Can you imagine Tony Blair behaving like that – touring the studios, pathetically eager for someone to pay him some attention?”

    Oh, you mean Tony?

    Who under his reign expanded the “Press relations” people by a lot?

    Who used Campbell to “tell what the story was” in detail so he could always look good?

    Who spent… 2-3 months saying “farewell” like a US president when we’re not a republic and the executive is picked from the legislature?

    That Tony? Or do we mean some spend-thrift man who kept the same suit for his whole reign and did nothing but fart flowers?

  12. The question was supposed to be: Can you imagine Tony Blair, as an ex-prime minister, publicly criticising any of his predecessors in this way? Of course, he wouldn’t, and won’t. Major just doesn’t know how to be an ex-prime minister, just as he never really got the hang of being prime minister.

  13. Paul Williams

    The man who, as chancellor, pressured Margaret Thatcher into joining the euro European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) at an unsustainable rate, the man who then, as prime minister, presided over the chaos of Black Wednesday, the man who led his party to its greatest electoral defeat in nearly a century… is criticising the government’s economic policy.

    Britain joined the ERM with the full and strong support of the Labour party, funny how they seem to ignore that fact.

    And whilst Major did preside over Black Wednesday he also presided over an economy which gave Labour the best economic inheritance an incoming Government could wish for – another fact conveniently ignored. A healthy economy that a certain Gordon Brown has now squandered.

    Strange also that you say you respect Thatcher but you’re finding it difficult to respect Major because: Every time he opens his mouth it is to criticise his successor(s). Rather inconsistent there, because isn’t that what Thatcher has done to all of her successors, including throughout Major’s Premiership, she criticised them? Perhaps it didn’t count because it was only Tories she was criticising.

    Therefore it strikes me that this is more to do with the fact Labour can’t handle any justified criticism of the absolute mess Brown is making to our economy, one which will saddle generations with huge amounts of debt and taxes. Oh sorry, I forgot we should all buy into the ‘Gordon-I-saved-the-world’ show.

    The Tories are certainly not going to inherit a similar economy to the one Labour inherited in 1997.

  14. Mr. Charlie

    “I did not, and do not, like Margaret Thatcher, but I can nevertheless admit to respecting, even admiring her. I respect anyone who has had the skill to reach the highest (indirectly) elected office in the land, whatever their party.”

    You mean, unlike Gordon Brown, I assume from that statement?

  15. Mr. Charlie

    Apart from the matter of free speech – a matter of little import to New Labour, we acknowledge – the fact is that Major has been where we are now before, and therefore has every right to comment on the matter.

    The fact is that the disaster that will hit us in the New Year will not only eclipse Major’s cock up, and any previous Labour disaster, and as we know, all Labour governments eventually bankrupt the country.

    Here’s the skinny, with easy to understand pictures for the hard of thinking, on the tidal wave of shit that is about to engulf us all. Me – I’m off to get my shotgun license application form.

    http://burningourmoney.blogspot.com/2008/12/urinating-on-labours-debt-bubble.html

  16. Terry

    Paul Williams:
    The Tories are certainly not going to inherit a similar economy to the one Labour inherited in 1997.

    Perhaps if you turned the graph the other way up…

  17. Mr. Charlie

    If I were you, Mr. Harris, I’d be more concerned with the likes of this

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/12/corrosive_of_public_trust_in_o.html

    rather than making a pathetic fist of criticising John Major.

    What are your thoughts on Number 10 corrupting official statistics? If the BBC are so forthright about it, then it really must be bad.

  18. Jane

    I agree with you Tom. Ted Heath used to sulk or show disapproval when Mrs Thatcher was raised with him although he did not speak out as John Major has started to do. I think it is bad form and demeans the office of PM for former premiers to behave in this way.

    Can I also say to those who are criticising Tony Blair, he has not commented on Gordon Brown and has stayed away from British Politics since leaving office. Yes, he is being interviewed but on religion, the Middle East, Islam and the West, Globalisation etc etc. It is wrong for people to place his media interviews in the same category as John Major. I feel very cross with those who do.

  19. Like every one of his predecessors, GB was indirectly elected as prime minister. The only people who voted for Tony Blair at the 2005 election were the voters of Sedgefield. In fact, GB’s mandate is no different from that of Major’s when he succeeded Thatcher in 1990.

  20. Paul Williams

    Like every one of his predecessors, GB was I directly elected as prime minister. The only people who voted for Tony Blair at the 2005 election were the voters of Sedgefield. In fact, GB’s mandate is no different from that of Major’s when he succeeded Thatcher in 1990.

    I agree with you, Tom. The Prime Minister is not directly elected like a President, however his mandate comes from winning a General Election with him as leader.

    This rightly or wrong is part of our uncodified constitution (which Labour has exploited ruthlessly) and yes Major was in the same situation.

    So the same criticism can be made at Major before 1992, but that still does not negate the criticism of Brown.

    And lets not forget Major did subsequently win an election so had a mandate (Brown is unlikely to win a General Election and bottled his chance in 2007)

    Also in Major’s memoirs he wrote that he was acutely aware of having no mandate and was much troubled by it – would Brown do the same now, I very much doubt it.

  21. ani

    Thing is, if Major was such a lovable chap, and the economy was in such good fettle, one wonders why on earth the electorate gave Conservatives the boot, and with such feeling – three times? The voters must have been bonkers eh?

    Watching Major on TV some of the younger generation may be justified in viewing him as a carping, boring for Britain irrelevance; a charge that couldn’t be leveled at TB – who as far as I’m aware, hasn’t criticised anyone since he left office.

    But one thing the two men do have in common is that they both travel the world – TB keeping himself busy with international politics and working for charity, and JM watching cricket, and periodically being called in to attack dog the Government and valiantly attempting to defend his own dismal record.

  22. Mr. Charlie

    “Like every one of his predecessors, GB was I directly elected as prime minister. ”

    Oh really? Can you give me the voting figures, please Tom? Ayes and Nays? I’m struggling to remember any voting for this alleged “election”.

    ps. Do feel free to comment on other posts I have made. Don’t be shy. I won’t bite you.

  23. Chris' Wills

    I’m not sure why you are fussed about John Major or is it some strange idea that former PMs should keep stum.

    T Bliar rambles on about how to resolve the Mid East crisis (well he is a part time envoy, unless he has been downsized recently), if his ideas conflict with your dear leader’s does it matter much?
    He may lecture people on how to solve problems betwixt Islamic cultural mores and western civilisation, political of course and a hot topic.
    He tells us his views on globalisation, if these diverge from superman’s is it interference?

    Former PMs have always commented on topical issues, Blair will do it all the time on his lecture tours it how to keep the punters paying. They want to know what he thinks/believes.

    A possible distinction is that Blair doesn’t directly name and seek to reveal the cupidity of broon or anyone else.

    John Major doesn’t have that choice as he is speaking to events happening within the UK now.

  24. Mr. Charlie

    Voting figures, please, Tom, for Brown’s election.

    Why are we waiting?

  25. Mr. Charlie

    A reminder., Tom
    e⋅lec⋅tion
    –noun
    1. the selection of a person or persons for office by vote.

  26. (sigh!) Well, since you’re so insistent, GB was elected unopposed – in exactly the same way that Margaret Thatcher was re-elected unopposed 12 times to the leadership of the Tory party.

    Not sure, but when there’s only one candidate, I don’t think you count votes.

    You’re not seriously telling me you missed all this, Mr Charlie? I thought you would have shown more interest in current affairs.

  27. Jimmy Sands

    I think Major can say what he wants. I can’t imagine the Ghost of Tories Past is doing his party any favours. My lack of respect for him has nothing to do with this and everything to do with his failure to refund the money he scammed out of the New Statesman, a publication he almost closed down. Even an apology would be something.

  28. Julian White

    Facts first. Major wanted to join the ERM to get inflation down. He achieved this. He was right to join, and his economic policy stayed constant throughout. When he left office in 1997 he delivered to his successor the strongest economic position for a generation.

    That legacy has been squandered in a quite amazing fashion. Real people are suffering from Gordon Brown’s incompetence.

    And indeed John Major’s party did lose in 1997, but are you suggesting that electoral success is the measure of how good the Prime Minister is? That would make Thatcher the best Prime Minister and Churchill and Major the worst. Clearly nonsense.

    What Labour don’t want people to know is that under John Major, this wouldn’t have happened. He would not have let the banks get away with such light regulation, he would not have allowed the house price boom, he would not have tolerated such lax economic controls.

    If you want a proper debate, without resorting to insults, I’ll debate quite willingly why John Major was the finest Prime Minister this country has seen in generations.

  29. You forgot to mention the cones…

  30. Julian White

    OK, we’ll mention the cones.

    Major wanted drivers to be able to contact a phone line if they saw cones being used unnecessarily, as part of his Citizen’s Charter plans, which have been taken up the current Government.

    Major was so successful at getting rid of unnecessary cones that not many people phoned.

    But it is typical of Labour politicians, especially those who haven’t really had a job outside of politics for the best part of two decades, to be flippant when forgetting that Gordon Brown’s policies are leading to huge job losses and an economy out of control.

    You insult Major because you have not one clue how to deal with the economy. And he has. He’s done it before, turned a failing economy into a leading economy.

  31. Tory Boy

    Yeah, you guys have done such a fine job of running the British economy. The highest amount of total debt per GDP of any major country. The worst growth next year of any of the G7. Unemployment about to rocket. When you guys can work out how to run the economy, then you will deserve my respect. Until then, stay in that glass house.

  32. Julian White

    Tom, if you would like to start our debate on why John Major was a much better Prime Minister than Gordon Brown is, please feel free to start a new thread.

  33. Jimmy Sands

    The one thing that can be said in Major’s favour is that he had the good sense to appoint a decent Chancellor and let him get on with it.

    It doesn’t really balance out presiding over the most spectacularly corrupt administration of the century.

  34. ani

    @Julian White.

    I can’t help but think that this world wide problem is difficult for all leaders to grapple with; consequently all working together and supporting each other will hopefully result in solutions. Many wise heads?
    However, if JM has all the answers he should be in the for-front offering the benefit of that advice and addressing all these ignorant politicians and economic experts, and not be disguising his many talents.
    He should be jetting over without delay and having a firm word with Mr. Obama just for starters.

    As for debating that he was the best PM in generations, I’d suggest you debate that with yourself, but it is just possible that there may be others here who are sufficiently interested to take up your offer.

  35. Jonno

    … but Major did leave Blair / Brown with the best set of economic conditions inheritted by an incoming government since before WW2.

    And he was right, he did ‘kill inflation’ for a generation, even if the initial economic medicine was quite painful.

    Give the guy some Kudos

  36. Curbishly

    “The question was supposed to be: Can you imagine Tony Blair, as an ex-prime minister, publicly criticising any of his predecessors in this way?”.

    Give him time, Tom. Give him time.

  37. I’m sorry Tom, I generally enjoy your blog, I don’t agree with your politics (all the time) but I’ve always thought you were pretty fair.
    Why can’t John Major disagree with the Government, he’s a member of the opposition, isn’t that his job? In fact why can’t he disagree with his own party, isn’t that what free speech is all about?
    As it happens I think John Major is a shit, Lamont was the only one to emerge from the erm debacle with any credibility in my opinion, and before you criticise, what was John Smith’s and Gordon Browns viewpoint? Exactly.
    I’m a bit disappointed with you Mr Harris, not that I doubt you care, if you need something to criticise, The Broon is your man. He is a fecking eejit, to quote the Irish, and my respect for you has gone down a notch.

  38. Julian White

    In 1990 John Major made quite clear what his objective was. To get inflation down. When inflation is low, you can build a sustained recovery, not a short term boom and bust. He delivered. We were right to join the ERM, it helped lower inflation, but it was not the only economic mechanism to obtain low inflation. Major was always in control of what he wanted to do, even though it was not politically in his interests to follow that course.

    Let’s compare with Gordon Brown. He stated quite clearly that he would end boom and bust. He has failed.

    So as I’m sure Mr Harris now agrees, Major knows what he’s talking about. Brown doesn’t. And maybe Brown should start listening.

  39. Zorro

    Ani, I have never read so much drivel in my life. Well actually that’s not true, because I have been here before, but that was some pretty impressive drivel…

    “But one thing the two men do have in common is that they both travel the world – TB keeping himself busy with international politics and working for charity, and JM watching cricket, and periodically being called in to attack dog the Government and valiantly attempting to defend his own dismal record.”

    TB working for Charidy? For Free? Please expand? The last I heard we were all paying his wages still as middle eastern envoy. Hows that going, peace between the Palestinians and Isrealis? Nope thought not. He’s also being paid a fortune for teaching something about religion in some US university? And paid another fortune for being a non exec director of some big bank? (One of the same banks that caused the credit crunch?).

    You really are a blithering idiot aren’t you!

    btw. Just to clarify – I was never a great fan of JM, and I didn’t think he had a mandate to run the country when he was PM, any more than Gordon does now. But JM managed to screw up this country far far less than either Blair or more importantly Brown.

    How long do you think before we have to go begging to the IMF Ani/Derek/Tom??

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s