Friday, February 17, 2006

Worra Worra and all that grey matter 

Discussions elsewhere have called up non-fond memories of the Steel-Pardoe leadership election way back in the 1970’s. Now there was some un-whispered catty commentating.

Most famously, Cyril Smith telling Steel that even if he (Steel) had a firecracker in each hand he still could not make a bang. Too boring, dull and grey to make an impact.

Steel himself hit out at Pardoe by retelling a tale from Winnie-the-Pooh. This is the arrival of Tigger, who comes into a room were the dining table is laid out for tea with lots of Honey. The tablecloth of course could be seen as a threat to civilisation as we know it ( why not?) and so Tigger sets out to defeat this enemy by rushing the table, pulling down the cloth sending all the crockery and food crashing, and rolling around on the floor wrapped in the tablecloth growling ‘Worra! Worra! Worra! Worra! Worra!’

And then poking his head out from the tangle to say ‘have I won?’

Steel of course was suggesting that we did not need to indulge in the ‘Worra Worra’ school of political action to get attention as a party, even if it was the opposite of boring. Implication of course being that Pardoe was a Tigger.

Fortunately we have a much higher standard of political debate and civility in this leadership election.

And it is the Conservatives who have to worry about being landed with a Worra Worra leader.

As for Labour they are getting Eeyore it seems… Or maybe –to step outside the Milne references- the boy in the nativity play who is kept waiting for his part so long that he blurts out all his lines at one go on his first cue.

Just to end on a note of fairness to past leadership contenders, after Steel won the leadership poll Pardoe backed him to the hilt, going out on a couple of occasions to read the riot act to some of his campaign supporters who threatened disruption.

On March 3rd we will have a leader who I will support, whoever wins. And we will all make a serious and principled political impact without the need for Worra! Worra!

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