Posts Tagged ‘Robert Chalmers’

KAMPANJ | Tony Booth har berättat för Newsweek om sin syn på Labour och om hur han fick fart på Tony Blairs politiska karriär.

Picture Sean Dempsey-AP -- Tony Blair & Cherie Booth campaigning in April 1997

I Robert Chalmers intervju berättar den gamle socialisten Booth, vars dotter Cherie Booth är gift med Tony Blair, att han tror att hon skulle ha blivit en bättre premiärminister.

Is there any leader who could revive the Labour Party? How about Tony Blair, in the highly unlikely event that he could be persuaded to run again? “Funnily enough, I think he might have an outside chance. Because people would say: well, at least he is the devil we know.

And with Miliband, you find yourself thinking, this is a good kid, but when is he going to get into long pants? Are we just putting him up as a dummy until we find the right person?”

Booth’s response to the question of whether the current Labour leader could win an election is characteristically unambiguous: “In your fucking dreams. This is not play school.”


He was instrumental in propelling Tony Blair towards Westminster. Booth recalls arranging a lunch for his son-in-law, at Soho’s Gay Hussar restaurant, with Labour MP Tom Pendry, during which the future prime minister was persuaded to stand for office. At that time Booth, nationally famous for playing Mike Rawlins, the “Scouse git” opposite Warren Mitchell in Johnny Speight’s Till Death Us Do Part, and as the husband of Coronation Street star Pat Phoenix, was well placed to generate publicity both within and beyond the Labour party. It seems curious that many forget the vital role he played in shaping Blair’s career.

“We did what we could,” he says. What would have happened otherwise? “I think he would have become a barrister.”

Ron Rose, the playwright and former Labour councillor for Doncaster, told me that, “The crucial thing you must understand about Tony Booth’s relationship with Blair is the part that he played in getting him elected. When I began canvassing, he was already telling people about his son-in-law, who was going to be prime minister. This was in the early ’80s, before Blair was even on the political radar. Tony Booth is the best canvasser I have ever seen. He was driving all over the country, working for the day when Tony Blair would become leader, long before anybody gave the idea credence.” Booth concedes that, “I helped get him into [his parliamentary seat of] Sedgefield.”

Booth and Pat Phoenix had also campaigned for his daughter Cherie, in her unsuccessful 1983 candidature at the Tory stronghold of North Thanet. “On reflection,” he tells me, “I wonder if it should have been Cherie. She wouldn’t have taken any shit from anybody.”

Bild: Sean Dempsey/AP. Tony Blair och Cherie Booth kampanjar i april 1997.

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PR: Efter att ha avverkat halva mandatperioden har bilden av president Nicolas Sarkozy förändrats parallellt med att opinionssiffrorna dyker.

Enligt det franska opinionsinstitutet Ipsos har Sarkozys siffror rasat från de 60 procent han hade när han tillträdde ämbetet till dagens 39 procent.

Sarkozy byggde upp en bild av sig själv som mannen som vet vad han vill och som inte är rädd att ta tuffa beslut för Frankrikes bästa. Idag är bilden snarare att han saknar ideologisk övertygelse och att han är beredd att säga vad som helst bara det gagnar honom för tillfälligt.

Jean-Marc Lech vid Ipsos säger att det är Sarkozys konservativa kärnväljare som är mest besvikna. En f.d. rådgivare – som vill vara anonym – säger till Time;

This is classic Sarkozy: claiming [that] adaptable principles and a willingness to take any stand likely to reinforce his own political interests are in fact proof of pragmatism and openness to all views. Zero conviction and fidelity — except to himself.

Denis Muzet, president vid opinionsinstitutet Médiascopie, sammanfattar paradoxen;

Sarkozy’s problem is that when he promised ‘rupture’ with the past during his campaign, he built expectations that go farther than merely revolutionizing the language and methods of governing by actually conceiving and shaping a new face and vision of France. In many ways, Sarkozy reflects the contradictions of the French themselves: demanding both free markets and social job protection, wanting modernity and tradition, and wanting fast results with no pain. But those are the very hypocrisies voters elected Sarkozy to combat with his own viable vision for France — not take on for use as his own, inconsistent governing style.

I en essayen – The Human Bomb – skriver Robert Chalmers om presidenten;

Leaving [Silvio] Berlusconi aside for a moment, Nicolas Sarkozy represent the kind of naked hunger for personal power that Western democracy has not seen for more than a generation. To find a character who even comes close to him in his feral desire for control, you have to go back to Richard Nixon. (…) Sarkozy’s record, both as interior minister and president, is seen as a triumph of rhetoric over achievement.

Att man är bra på politiska kampanjer innebär inte med automatik att man också är bra på styra och leda ett land på ett sätt som inger förtroende.

Källa: Robert Chalmers, The Human Bomb (GQ: July 2009)

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