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June 05, 2006

Hattersley on Prescott

No, I don’t normally like Roy Hattersley nor am I known as a defender of John Prescott. However, there is one jibe directed at Prescott that has always rather got my goat:

You will recall that once upon a time, Nicholas Soames - a character not unlike Boy Mulcaster in Brideshead Revisited - used to refer to the deputy prime minister as "Giuseppe" and, claiming to mistake him for a waiter, order a gin and tonic.

That one. No, it’s not just that I spent a decade waiting tables and tending bar and think there nothing wrong with somone having done so. No, it’s that one of Soames’ colleagues as a Tory MP did very much the same (not a decade, but certainly a couple of years). I know, I worked with the guy.

There are all sorts of reasons to deride, poke fun at, satirise and even insult John Prescott but the fact that the man once worked for a living isn’t one of them.

I did, however, rather like this line:

Nobody could possibly imagine Soames - a man born with his mouth crammed full of silver spoons - fighting his way up from ship steward to cabinet minister.

Quite. Great-great grandfather a Duke, great-grandfather a peer and an MP (a syphilitic one if I recall correctly), grandfather PM, father a peer and ambassador....tough fight to the top there.

June 5, 2006 in Politics | Permalink


Both fat bullies of course, probably down to having small appendages...in a line similar to chipolata Prescott, one of his "girlfriends" described sex with Soames as "like having a wardrobe fall on top of you, with the key sticking out"

Tim adds: I think it was his first wife and there was a "small" before the key.

Posted by: Mark T | Jun 5, 2006 9:29:42 AM

Nobody could possibly imagine Soames - a man born with his mouth crammed full of silver spoons - fighting his way up from ship steward to cabinet minister.

Nobody could have imagined Maggie fighting her way up from a grocer's daughter to leading the Conservative Party and becoming PM. But the left didn't like her, possibly for that very reason.

Posted by: Tim Newman | Jun 5, 2006 9:43:06 AM

Actually the people who didn't like her for that reason were actually people like Nicholas Soames's, including his father who of course she sacked as soon as she felt able.

Posted by: Matthew | Jun 5, 2006 10:56:00 AM

"Actually the people who didn't like her for that reason were...": well, they inluded that great intellectual Jonathon Miller, who kept banging on about how odiously "suburban" she was.

Posted by: dearieme | Jun 5, 2006 12:25:32 PM

If Prescott's odious, it's because it seems he didn't want to earn an honest living, not because of the particular honest living he once pursued. I suspect, like so many "Socialists" of history (Lenin, Stalin, Mao) he has simply exploited the naivety of his fellow citizens to get access to more privileges through political power than he could ever have earned.

I earned my rent money as a barman for a year or so. I also have two years as a building labourer under my belt. I rather enjoyed both in their different ways and didn't find them at all degrading. I prefer being a lawyer because (a) it pays better and (b) makes better use of my skills. But I don't see myself as superior.

The snobs on all sides are equally disgusting. When will Britain stop living in its past? It's over guys. All the money's in trade and services - for which you have a talent. Get on with it and stop whingeing. It's boring.

And as for the knob jokes ...

Posted by: Tom Paine | Jun 5, 2006 7:58:26 PM

For all his snobbishness, Nick Soames can be very funny. In the Palace of Westminster a few years ago, David (Lord) Sainsbury encountered Soames wearing his plus-fours. Sainsbury asked Soames why he was wearing such a ridiculous outfit. "I say", Soames is reported to have replied, "fancy being joshed about one's gear by one's grocer".

Posted by: Owen Barder | Jun 6, 2006 2:54:03 AM