Dennis Skinner may not thank me for saying so, but he was a huge support to me, and more importantly to Tony Blair, when TB was Prime Minister.
Yes, he lambasted some of the changes made as huge strides to the right, and he could come up with questions for TB at PMQs every bit as difficult as the ones he lobs at David Cameron.
But he was undeniably tribally Labour, and had a huge regard for Tony’s political and leadership skills. He was also someone who knew when to pick up the phone and say, as he fairly regularly did to me, ‘don’t worry about all the stuff they’re chucking at you. Just keep going.’
Dennis will need someone to explain to him what ‘trending on twitter’ means, and when they do he will be quietly pleased. He likes to be noticed because he likes to make a fuss and he likes to make a difference.
That he is trending on twitter at all suggests Cameron may have picked on the wrong target in branding Dennis a dinosaur. For a start, it looks and sounds a bit ageist. More, it shows yet again how easy it is to get under his skin. But it is also overly dismissive of someone who is recognised on all sides as a character who stands for something, and is scared of nobody. So Dinosaur 1 Flashman 0.
Now as for Mr Michael Gove … he is not a dinosaur but he does seem like something from another age. Fresh from getting himself embroiled in prioritising Royal yachts now we read he wants to send personally signed copies of the King James Bible to every school in the country.
Gove’s entire approach to education is founded upon a mythical middle England idyllic upbringing. It reminds me of John Major’s old maids cycling to cricket matches. Remember that? Remember him?
But I wonder if he should not be spending more time on the kind of thing parents and students might see as priorities. School buildings for example. As in the Building Schools for the Future programme he scrapped so he could focus on other priorities.
er … like yachts and signed Bibles?