Week 43: Hero – John Major

by Ray_North on October 28, 2013

hero_icon2Strange. During the 1992 General Election when we all lived together, we used to watch the ten o’clock news and award Prat of the Day, and the serial winner was John Major – there he was on his soap box, there he was getting egged, there he was whining on that awful comedic voice about how Labour would ruin the economy – we couldn’t take him seriously.

But, even though, of course, he was Tory, and therefore the enemy, we could never really hate John Major in the same way that we’d hated Margaret Thatcher – and that was quite weird for us, as we’d grown up hating the Leader of the Conservative Party.

Now, 20 years on history is reevaluating John Major in a fairly positive way – I have long been of the opinion that, despite Tony Blair’s shameless triumphalism about sorting out the problems in Northern Ireland, it was actually, John Major who paved the way by opening more transparent avenues of communication with the Republicans leading to the Downing Street Declaration, without which the Good Friday Agreement would not have happened.

His stewardship of the economy wasn’t bad either. Once the crisis of the ERM had subsided he went about using the British fiscal freedom to reduce interest rates and helped put in place the type of situation that led to good years enjoyed by Labour.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not about to start espousing the merits of One Nation Toryism, but, what I am saying is that, compared to the ideologically driven, elitist pygmies who are currently in charge of the Conservative Party, John Major was a very good politician, because he took a pragmatic view and did what he thought was best for the country, not what he thought would be best for him and his mates.

Since his retirement from front line politics, the only time you get to see John Major is at the Oval or Trent Bridge wearing his MCC bacon and eggs tie and looking studiously at the cricket unfurling before him. He has made few interventions and, in contrast to other former Tory PM’s, like Heath and Thatcher, has shied away from offering advice. But, this week he entered the fray – and it was devastating.

Cameron and Co. have been seriously foxed by Miliband on the issue of energy prices, in fact the complete disarray that has been caused by Miliband’s announcement that Labour would freeze energy prices is almost comical – exposing, as it does their inability to empathise with the plight of ordinary people and their desire to leave untouched the greedy companies who provide our gas and electricity.

Major had no such difficulties – ‘it is wrong’ he said, ‘for people to have to choose between eating or heating,’ which is a nice soundbite; and then, he followed that up by urging a windfall tax upon the ‘Big Six’ utility companies – an idea so abhorrent to the current bunch of Old Etonian Thatcherites that David Cameron couldn’t think of anything whatsoever to say on the subject at PMQs last week, and as such sounded truly dreadful.

Fair play to John Major though, I don’t agree with much that he has said, but, few could argue that he has always tried to do his best for the country and the people, and for that, this week he’s earned our award for heroism.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

George_East October 28, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Major towers above the trivial clowns with a sense of entitlement that make up the ranks of this government. His ability to understand that fuel bills at the moment really are very serious for a huge swathe of the population and that the energy market is in effect a cartel which is not working for consumers, is something utterly beyond the capacity of the current government (including useful idiots like the absurdly over-promoted Ed Davey).
He will though always be the man who privatised the railways in a botched rush job before the 1997 election, which I find hard to forgive. He is directly responsible for trains consisting of cars upon cars of empty first class seats, while people stand in standard class having paid hundreds of pounds to travel between major British cities.


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