In the spirit of annual yearly reviews and The Economist’s recent feature on New Labour heroes I thought it would be a good idea to compile my own list of ‘Top 7 political heroes of 2009’. Here they are:
1. Barack Obama
After one of the most gruelling and exciting presidential election campaigns of recent times, Barack Obama was inaugurated in January and has rapidly changed US policy. He is about to get his healthcare reform bill passed in Congress, which will insure a further 30 million Americans, and he has improved America’s relations with the rest of the world. He is my top hero of 2009.
2. James Purnell
More courageous than his colleagues, the former Work and Pensions Secretary challenged Gordon Brown’s leadership after the local and European elections in June and very nearly brought the Prime Minister down. His judgement on the leadership issue was right, I only wish more of his colleagues had followed his lead. I expect him to play an important role in the Labour Party after the next election.
3. Peter Mandelson
For being the best politician in the Government. For his competence. For his attacks on the Tories. For keeping the Government going. For a barnstorming speech to Labour conference. Over the last year, Lord Mandelson has rehabilitated himself and proved himself to be one of the most effective politicians of his generation.
4. Alistair Darling
Despite poisonous briefings against him by the media and some members of his own side, the Chancellor has remained one of the calmest and most competent members of the Government. Faced with the largest post war deficit in this country’s history and some terrible economic conditions, he has remained a quiet, thoughtful and steady presence on our screens. His decisions, including the brave one to raise income tax, probably saved us from an even worse fiscal situation than we might have faced.
4. Charles Clarke
Utterly relentless in his pursuit of Gordon Brown, Charles Clarke has stuck to his guns and repeatedly called for the Prime Minister to step aside. He has had the decency and honour to say in public what many members of the Party think in private.
5. Harriet Harman
A surprising choice for me but I think our Deputy Leader has been one of the most effective members of the Government this year. She has done a brilliant job facing William Hague at PMQs and attacking the Tories. People belittle Harriet Harman but she is one of New Labour’s great survivors and managed to get most of her equalities legislation passed in the House of Commons this year.
6. Ed Miliband
I have forgiven him for his disloyalty to Tony Blair because since the younger Miliband brother became Energy and Climate Change Secretary back in 2008 he has become one of the Government’s most competent and effective ministers. He single-handedly saved the Copenhagen climate change summit and has treated climate changes issues with a seriousness and sincerity that his predecessors lacked. Buy shares now.
7. Hillary Clinton
The great machine politician proved she could bury the hatchet and not in her opponent’s head, when she agreed to become Barack Obama’s Secretary of State. She has remained steadfast and loyal to her boss, while managing to pursue her own areas of interest like Africa and development policy too. In charge at the State Department, she has also shown she is good at running things.
This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!