Interviewed on Andrew Marr this morning, former Prime Minister John Major warned against further taxpayer funding of political parties. Politicians are already remote enough from the grassroots, he warned, and any further taxpayer funding would risk diminishing the connections that the party elites had with ordinary voters.
Other highlights of Sir John’s interview:
- The loss to Britain of Gordon Brown’s mis-timed gold sales is greater than the losses inflicted by Black Wednesday, he said. In addition it will be "quite likely" that the mishandling of Northern Rock will also cost more than Black Wednesday.
- In the 1980s and 1990s there were individual misbehaviours but there was not a culture of sleaze. New Labour’s behaviour in the 1990s, he said, in trying to paint the whole Conservative Party as tainted was "almost McCarthy-ite". People would now laugh at Labour if they repeated their promise to be "whiter than white".
- He said that Labour would find it difficult to attack Team Cameron as inexperienced because of the inexperienced nature of its own team. When he was Prime Minister there were plenty of people of PM calibre – Ken Clarke, Michael Heseltine, Douglas Hurd, Malcolm Rifkind – only Jack Straw is experienced enough to take over today.
- We went into Iraq on a false premise. Saddam has gone but everything else looks pretty "bleak". Unemployment is 50%. Death rates remain very high. The whole episode cannot be looked upon with pride.
PS Also on Marr this morning was Rory Bremner. His amusing review of the year including impersonations of Gordon Brown, Ming Campbell and George W Bush but he didn’t attempt a David Cameron voice. He actually performed a PMQs-style exchange on the EU Treaty between Gordon Brown and William Hague. For the perfect William Hague impersonation ConservativeHome recommends Conor Burns or Jonathan Isaby!