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John Major gave a brilliant interview on the Andrew Marr Show.
Whatever your views are of him in general, he is a very skilled interviewee - oozing logic, getting spot-on with everything that is wrong with the government with well-timed pauses and a wry but unfailingly polite style.
I personally miss him - I would much prefer him as PM than any of those who treated him in such an unscrupulous way while he was in office. New Labour are being found out and I can sense the quiet, dignified anger in John Major's words.

Well done JM. I miss him too, a very good bloke and despite his dignity better by far than most of the current crop on giving Labour a kick where it hurts.

I must say Sir John looked younger on TV today than he did in all his years as PM. Just goes to show the stress of office. A very fine interview and it was very interesting to listen to Mr Major's take on Labour and sleaze. I think he was being polite though in refusing to call Labour a corrupt government. Nontheless the systemic-sleaze accusation was very telling given Labour's ten-year record of serial-sleaze.

I have just watched the BBC trying their hardest to discredit JM's interview....one would swear that is is the Conservatives who have been on the make and on from it.

I almost wish JM would accept a peerage; i think he could be extremely useful in some capacity in the shadow cabinet. He would have made an excellent mayoral candidate.

I'd agree with a lot of this too. I still miss him aswell - John Major almost always talks well considered, down to earth, plain common sense.

The attempt to pin a few silly scandals on him personally was absolutely vile, and has damaged politics for all of us longer term.

It's very good to see all of our "big beasts" playing for the team these days. Unity leaves such a sweet taste in the mouth.

I don't miss the man responsible for scouring the four corners of the Earth to get Maastricht pushed through and signed. No, I don't miss Major one whit. I don't have a death wish. Major has much in common with TV football match pundits: they seem to make a lot of sense and know all the answers until you put them in charge of England and then you find out what a big disappointment they are. As for Rory Bremner? If you want the real laughs ignore him and just concentrate on people he is parodying. - being "wry" isn't the word for it. In 1997 the electorate were very "wry" about Major. Yep, Major was a good bloke (as agreed by the Labour Party).
In truth any Party would be hard pushed not to be better than Labour or Lib/Dims, but somehow Major managed to lose to Labour.
Bring back Major, I say - on second thoughts stick with Rory Bremner.

So Rory Bremner didn't attempt a David Cameron voice. Presumably he still can't do it? I seem to remember him trying a couple of years ago and it sounded just like Peter Mandelson.

That's it then. There's no way Cameron can be allowed to become prime minister if Rory Bremner can't impersonate him. Aren't there rules about this sort of thing?

He said that Labour would find it difficult to attack Team Cameron as inexperienced because of the inexperienced nature of its own team. When he was Prime Minister there were plenty of people of PM calibre - Ken Clarke, Michael Heseltine, Douglas Hurd, Malcolm Rifkind - only Jack Straw is experienced enough to take over today.

Interesting point, and ties in with the "experience" debate which was happening on an earlier thread...

I see parallels between Major and Miliband; both promoted to a "big beast" job (foreign secretary in both cases) at a relatively young age and after only a couple of years in cabinet. Of course in Major's case it was because Thatcher wanted to build up a potential successor to rival Hurd, Howe et al, whereas in Miliband's case it may be because Brown wants to spoil his chances of succeeding him.

I think Miliband is likely to grow into the job, but anyway lower down the cabinet there are some other potential successors - I disagree that's it's only Jack Straw. Benn and Denham are the two obvious ones currently in middle-ranking jobs - I would've made them Foreign and Home secretary resepectively if I'd been in Brown's shoes, but I think we can guess why he didn't do that...

"It's very good to see all of our "big beasts" playing for the team these days. Unity leaves such a sweet taste in the mouth."

A pity nobody told Ken Clarke who is now being used by the BBC as the 'Big Beast' of choice to undermine party policy at every turn, especially on the matter of an EU referendum.

Yes, Tony Makara, I agree with you, he doesn't look too bad, quite brown and well fed, but then a few well paid hours 'advising' the Carlyle group does help to pay for many relaxed hazy lazy months travelling the world watching cricket.
And Votedave, what about ...'the quiet dignified anger'..of his wife, for three years - while her 'unscrupulous' husband had an affaire with Mrs. Currie?
He says there were many small personal failings during his time, but for the Prime Minister of this country to publically and humiliatingly betray his wife, most of us would consider had a serious character flaw that we would deride in anyone else.
Each time he's invited to comment on TV he never misses an opportunity to attempt to diminish his own faults, by magnifying his opponents.
It's surprising that he's so admired here, when strong marriage and a secure family life are so evidently desired and prized.

for the Prime Minister of this country to publically and humiliatingly betray his wife

Er - just a couple of facts to throw in here:

(1) Major didn't publicly humiliate his wife, Edwina Currie did

(2) He didn't have the affair while prime minister, it was some years earlier. Are we all to be judged by events in our past? That's a slippery slope, I think.

Anyway, Norma appears to have got over it. Unlike some others, it seems.

It's pretty easy for John Major to diminish his own faults by magnifying his opponents. His opponents faults are obviously so massive. After all JM, didn't tell a pack of lies to get us into a war, nor did he send troops knowingly to their deaths by refusing to order vital equipment for political reasons.
Majors faults I'm sure you would agree Seasider are fairly microscopic compared to those of Tony Blair and his corrupt cronies.

Yes well, very nice Bruce. Some of us, however imperfect we may be still have a very minimum moral standard we expect others to adhere to. Major - betrayed his wife.

It takes a certain sort of person to do that to somebody they loved - you obviously have absolutely no idea the incredible pain and suffering it causes. There is probably many a word that could be used to describe him - but no doubt it wouldn't be tolerated here.

The man, is a disgrace.

Some of us, however imperfect we may be still have a very minimum moral standard we expect others to adhere to.

Oh come on, let's not start all that again. The moral highground is just not a winning political strategy when applied to personal morality issues - remember back to basics? Start down that road and it won't end well for anyone - re-igniting the drugs question for Cameron, for a start. Just leave it is my advice.

Seasider, it really isn't our business what politicians do in their private life, so long as they are above board in their job. How many can cast the first stone, what does it say in the bible?, even a thought of infidelity is infidelity. So its better that we set the focus on what politicians do in office rather than in private. As for traveling around the world to watch cricket, well, there aren't many more better ways to spend the time, sounds good to me.

I am beginning to find Rory Bremner less amusing than I used to. He is no friend of the government, but mostly treats it as a joke. He is also obviously a fan of the LibDems, however, it is his fairly constant snide comments about David Cameron that have just 'turned me off' him.

Bruce - OK - personal behaviour isn't important?
Malcolm - your third sentence is ridiculous.
Tony - does he do anything else other than swan about?
Any thing for free, or charity stuff, do you know? I've never heard that he does.
And - I've just got to say it - and you are going to hate it - but -you are a decent chap! So there!

My third sentence Seasider, is true.

Patsy Sergeant, yes, I agree, Bremner's humour is starting to look a bit dated. I think his show is half an hour too long, gets lost in parts, and is ever more predictable, ie, the Which Blair project, etc. Contrived comedy is never actually funny, its just clever, to a point.

I enjoyed Major's taste slouchy pink socks - very Flashdance.

I am beginning to find Rory Bremner less amusing than I used to.

Well that's a sure sign the Tories are on the brink of power again.

Reminds me of the Labour shadow cabinet minister in the early 1960s who roared with laughter at TW3 as it mercilessly satirised Macmillan, then said "Oh, but they won't do that to us when we get in. Will they?"

Peter Mckay called them "caddish", Lucy!

The important thing about Major right now is that he is absolutely right about the need for the Party to reject public funding. For all his faults, on Europe and so on, he has always been pretty sound on the domestic constitution. It was his pledge to maintain the hereditary element in the House of Lords that was the distinctive thing for me in continuing to vote Tory in 1997. And who can now say that resisting devolution built up the nationalists more than granting it?

With regard to Madam Currie, I am more with Bruce and Malcolm on the relative sinfulness of adultery and giving dishonest reasons for starting wars (no-one died in the first case!). But the one thing the existence of that past secret did was to make JM weaker, and seem weaker, when there were private life embarrassments by others, such as the ludicrous Mellor/actress episode. He couldn't say "it's nothing to do with their job" because people would have said "oh, so he doesn't value marital fidelity, let's find out if he's put that attitude into practice". He couldn't say "this behaviour is embarrassing the Government so you must resign forthwith" because (a) he probably felt it would be hyprocritical (and he's a decent man) and (b) he needed to cover himself if the Currie affair ever came out when he was PM. So he tried to defend Ministers and then gave up when it got too difficult - the worst of all worlds.

It actually needs a PM with a spotless private life (just one!) who knows the press will never find anything on them, to be able to say, and to change the climate permanently by getting it accepted: "Private sex lives are as irrelevant to whether someone is a good Minister, as they are to whether they are a good CEO or a good City Bond dealer - unlike financial probity. A Bond dealer can have as many affairs outside the workplace as he or she likes, so long as it does not interfere with working relationships (sorry Prescott), but if a Bond dealer is caught deliberately fare dodging he/she is likely to find his/her FSA authorisation withdrawn and lose his/her job. The same principles apply to Ministers". Once this truth has been accepted, future PMs can then have as many affairs as they like, just as they used to before press intrusion. JM could never quite say that because of what he knew might any day come out. One even wonders whether he offered Currie a job in 1992 partly to keep her bound in.

Frankly I think it is pathetic that some people are still trying to make out that Major's government, and Major himself, were adversely affected (in an administrative sense) by the colourful personal lives of certain, relatively peripheral, individuals. The culture of incompetance / willful breaking of the law that the Dodgey Donors scandal has highlighted in Labour simply had no parallel in the Major government.

I also think that moralising a la rightsideforum is dangerous; if we are to exclude anyone who has ever had an affair from high office then we aren't going to have many to choose from.

I find it incredibly heartening that Major is chipping in now.

One of the things that most impressed me about Major was his resolute attempt to try to make sure he was always doing the right thing, even as defeat loomed in '97. New Labour may not have given him much credit for the economic situation they inherited, but the country should.

And he is precisely the right person to be drumming into people that Brown's economic controversies (selling the gold, Northern Rock) are just as bad (if not worse, as we still don't know what the actual position is on NR) as Black Wednesday. Personally I would like to see Major reminding people that Brown was all for the ERM (and by implication the high interest rates that ended up entailing) until the very last momement. Indeed, it is hard to believe that a Brown Chancellorship would have handled the situation any differently (and in fact, given that making big decisions quickly doesn't appear to be GB's forte, who knows ... it could have been quite a lot worse).

And finally, while it would be nice to see Major in the Lords, I think it is a wonderful testament to his concept of pulic service that he is not, and it is a stark contrast to many of the current breed of politicains (particularly on the Labour side) who seem to be in it for what they can scrounge out of the system. Lord Malloch Brown's appartment, anyone?

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