Saturday, 24 May 2008

It's official. Harriet's hat is in the ring.

Funny, isn't it. You wait days for a Harriet post and then, just like one of Ken's bendy buses, two come along at once.

You know, Harriet's a smarter girl than she looks, and she's played a very clever game over the past few months. She's got her own vision, her own policies - basically let women run everything, that's about it really. Oh well, they couldn't make a worse job of it than the current lot.

She's tested her policies with the party members already (who can forget the deputy leadership election?) and knows they go down well, even if they don't with her parliamentary colleagues. And she's always out and about, an endless stream of walkabouts meeting and greeting (all recorded in mind-numbing detail on her blog) so she's got a strong recognition factor with the public. She's been photographed patrolling with the police in her stab-proof vest (she should have hung on to that awhile) so she's sent the message out - she knows there's a problem, particularly with knife crime, and she'll make sure the police get the resources to tackle it.

Then there's her personality; strong but not strident. She doesn't indulge in the dreary hectoring so often associated with female politicians. Actually Jack & Harriet are pretty much the Richard & Judy of the political world. I can see it now - PMQ given the boot entirely, and 'Policy Club' on Channel 4 filling the very slot left vacant by R&J's departure. If she's not already made it to Number 10, there's a pretty good chance that the highlight of Labour's autumn conference will be Harriet's boob 'accidentally' bursting forth; that'll certainly play well with the tabloids and the male voters.

And then there's loyalty. Party loyalty is an unwritten essential when it comes to leadership elections, and Harriet has delivered loyalty in spades. All those promises she made during the deputy leadership campaign appeared to have been discarded as soon as Gordon offered her a Cabinet post (I took her to task over that more than once, now I'm looking rather foolish). And now, when her colleagues are bunkered down just hoping they'll wake up and find it was all just a bad nightmare, she's out there fronting up to the media. With style, too. "He's the right man to see us through this crisis", "I don't think that will happen" (that in response to suggestions of a move against Brown, although she acknowledged "discordant voices"), the classic "We need to listen more and address voters' concerns" and "He'll still be in Number 10 come the next election".

The Guardian, who described her as one of Gordon's key allies (she's not, they can't stand each other) accused Harriet in their leader of platitudinous burblings. Now the Guardian fancies itself as the thinking man's paper, so how come they missed the subtext? 'No way, no man's going to see us through this crisis. A woman might, though'. 'I don't think it will, I know it will'. Gordon wouldn't know how to, but I do'. 'Only if I put him on the domestic staff'.

Harriet has another terrific advantage. She's posh, seriously seriously posh. Middle-class voters go for that (particularly when she's already been pretty forthright in denouncing the tactics used in Crewe) and Dave looks rather like an immature schoolboy set against her obvious class and style.

So, you read it here first. I got 16-1 yesterday, but you'll need to be quick.

I've surprised you, haven't I? I bet you thought Harriet was just another 'yes' girl, but you were wrong. Obviously this blog has already declared for Harriet, and will in due course have a series of Back Harriet posts. I wonder if she'll give us an interview?

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