Friday, August 19, 2005
The sad death of Mo Mowlam removes from British politics one of the few 'real' people among leading politicians. Most prominent politicians nowadays have contrived a stilted and pretentious public persona, dehumanised to the extent that one could never imagine going down the pub with them.
New Labour's front bench is media-trained and soundbitten to within an inch of its life. Among leading Tories, only Ken Clarke regularly displays any earthy qualities. Among leading Liberal Democrats, one's worry about Charles Kennedy would be getting out of the pub.
Which brings us to the question of funeral orations. Robin Cook's recent funeral was enlivened by the "totally uncalled for" contribution of racing pundit John McCririck.
Mo Mowlam had an even more irreverent sense of humour than Cook. During the Northern Ireland peace negotiations, she regularly addressed Martin McGuinness as "babe" and once famously told Ian Paisley to "fuck off". She is hardly likely to have been concerned to spare anyone's blushes at her own funeral.
So I'm looking forward to some female equivalent of John McCririck (hard to imagine, I know), climbing into the pulpit next week to insult Tony Blair and generally steal the show. Any suggestions for likely candidates?