The Uncuts: 2018 political awards (part II)

Most Dearly Departed: Tessa Jowell

Tessa Jowell, according to her obituary in the Guardian, “exuded cheerfulness and gave even those she had only just met the sense of being one of her old friends.” Uncut’s experience of Jowell chimed with this. In our age of division, Jowell’s relentless positivity and easy warmth is much missed.

The personal is political. The last time we felt like a country pulling together to reach for the stars was during 2012’s Olympic summer. An experience that we would not have known without Jowell’s personal qualities.

That Jowell persuaded an initially sceptical prime minister Tony Blair of the wisdom of an Olympic bid reminds us of the importance of leaders having confidants prepared to speak truth to power. Next to today’s shrivelled Downing Street bunker, the near past seems a distant universe.

Straight Talking, Honest Politics: Jeremy Corbyn and Wreathgate

In previous years, it has mostly been possible for observers and many party members to take Jeremy Corbyn’s words as misconstrued, misguided or mildly disingenuous. This year, however, the party’s own leader has been responsible for such blatant whoppers that he alone, astonishingly, bagged all nominations in this category.

Nominations came in for:

–    Claiming not to have called the prime minister a “stupid woman”, when he is actually caught on video mouthing those exact words and a team of lip-reading experts disagreed.

–    Claiming to be anti-Brexit, when in fact he has spent his entire political career being anti-EU. In particular, voting against Brexit in the September Commons vote, but only because he couldn’t get away with voting otherwise with the members, using the fig-leaf that the government’s resulting powers would be too strong. I mean, who could say that in Iran, Venezuela or Cuba the government’s powers are “too strong”, eh?

–    In close contention for the top spot, there was the Marr interview where he actually told three untruths in the space of twenty seconds.

But the ultimate prize in this prestigious award was given for the culmination of the “Wreathgate” saga, where our Dear Leader claimed not to have put a wreath on a terrorist’s grave, even though all evidence pointed to the fact that he had done just that. To round things off, in a brilliantly disingenuous move, his office then reported to the press regulator that the coverage had been unfair, only to drop the complaint again a few months later, claiming the process had been “compromised”. A well-deserved win.

the possibility for socialists to lead a political transformation

Most Forensically Persistent: Robert Mueller

Liberal America remains in therapy. Pod Save America helps. Slow Burn, telling the story of Watergate, is another wildly successful podcast. The resignation of president Richard Nixon did not happen overnight. It was a glacial journey into an unknown territory.

From Donald Trump’s campaign chairman to his personal attorney, Robert Mueller’s investigation keeps moving up the Trump food chain. How high up with it reach? No one can be certain, but Mueller is much that Trump is not: patient, methodical, meticulous.

While Democrats can hope that Mueller provides a slow burn leading to a Nixon-like end for Trump, they must prepare to beat Trump at the polls in 2020. Both parties can take encouragement from 2018’s mid-terms. But the way “forward” for Trump seems more obvious: encourage division to motivate his base, utilising the disproportionate weight given to smaller, whiter states within the electoral college. As they cross their fingers on Mueller, Democrats need to focus on the candidate best able to disrupt Trump’s playbook.

Most Ominous Conference Speech: Laura Smith

Laura Smith called for a General Strike. Richard Burgon, bizarrely, explained his reaction thus: “I did not give Laura Smith an ovation. I stood up and clapped.” It would be hilarious if it wasn’t tragic.

More portentous, however, was John McDonnell saying, “the bigger the mess we inherit, the more radical we will have to be.” As Jeremy Corbyn hardly seems to be rushing to prevent Brexit, he presumably anticipates entering Downing Street after a messy Brexit, implying that the nationalisations promised in Labour’s 2017 manifesto are the tip of the radicalism that prime minister Corbyn would deem necessary.

What could possibly go wrong?

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One Response to “The Uncuts: 2018 political awards (part II)”

  1. John P Reid says:

    Jez isn’t doing much to stop Brexit, how can he? Or why, it was in the last manifesto to keep Brexit , conference was embaressing, but not due to the leaders wanting Brexit

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