Sunday, 31 January 2010

A good long-odds political bet!

Anybody heard of Shaun Woodward?

Despite having lived near Newmarket all my life, I am not a betting man (well, I tell a lie: I once put a pound on a one-thousand-to-one runner in the Derby: the horse came last), but if anybody is looking for a good long-odds political bet, I recommend (though I may live to regret making the recommendation and it may be the kiss of death to the man) the Rt. Hon. Shaun Woodward, M.P., as the next leader of the Labour Party.

Mr Woodward, who was a Conservative M.P., left the Conservatives in 1999, the same year that I did, and said at the time, "The Conservative Party that I believed in has left me." He is now a prominent and respected Labour M.P. and is in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. There is, of course, a major political crisis in Northern Ireland at present and, if Mr Woodward survives this with his reputation intact and, following a leadership election in the Labour Party at some point after the General Election - and it matters not for Mr Woodward if Gordon Brown wins or loses the election - I predict that Shaun Woodward will be elected his party's Leader.

There is one worry for some Labour Party members (of which I am not one and never will be: I am truly independent) in that Mr Woodward's wife is a member of the wealthy and influential Sainsbury family that has ties with both Labour and the Conservatives.

I hope very much that Labour will rise above old prejudices and eventually elect a man of courage, good judgement and sound commonsense, who possesses in abundance the other qualities of a top-rank politician: he is a good communicator and is convincing and persuasive. I am a big fan of him.

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