The John Smith Meme

It's suddenly occured to me that today is fifteen years ago that John Smith died. A respected politician, regarded by many of varying political colours, not just Labour, many still ask what sort of Prime Minister he would have made. So in a tribute of sorts, and in memory, I felt a Meme could well be in order.

Where were you when you heard John Smith had died?

I was at North Herts College and had just popped up to the library at the start of the morning break, only to find written in large felt tip in capital letters, on A4 Paper and stuck on the front window, "John Smith, Leader of the Labour Party, died from a heart attack this morning!"
I still remember staring hard at it in shock for several seconds, trying to comprehend what I was reading. Two others turned up and likewise stared at it for a while, we then found ourselves talking about it and as I went to tell some friends in the cafeteria, I remember saying "Well I think the next leader should be Tony Blair!"

How did you view John Smith when he was leader and how do you view him now?

Not much difference really. I was slightly irritated with the snails pace of Labour Party reforms, but generally I felt he was good. Brilliant debater, talked about economic fairness rather than economic envy, and knew how to divorce politics from personalities, a very important gift. I also strongly agreed with him bringing in One Member One Vote into the election of Labour Leaders and Deputies, an important constitutional move.

Do you think he would have made a good Prime Minister?

Yes, maybe not as dynamic and as succesful as Tony Blair initally was, but a safe pair of hands and one who would have perhaps have been well respected when he left Downing Street

What do you think is his lasting legacy?

Common decency. He showed how one can be succesfully partisan, whilst also listening to others and explaining why one holds the political views they do in ways that are appealing. Others can do this and do it well, but Smith showed how good and important it was.
Oh and OMOV as well!

Tagging: Cally's Kitchen, Kerron Cross, Rupa Huq's home on the web, Running Life, Iain Dale, Tom Harris, Lindylooz Muze, Paul Linford, John Prescott, Sadie's Tavern, Alex Hilton


Alan Smart said…

I was working as a TV journalist at Scottish Tory conference at Inverness. Indeed was just about to interview Ken Clarke when the news came through

Id known John Smith losely for a while but knew all three of his daughters better and was genuinely knocked for six, lost it as they say. But you know what? When I found it again, there was Ken Clarke as disorientated as me and at least as upset

Shortly after an annoucement was made to the Scottish Tory conference in session , and I heard and distinct intake of breath and genuine shock and saddness amongt the Scottish Tories - then in Government remember with John Smith a great threat to them. The conference was abandoned.

Be in no doubt, the Tories were really sorry, genuinely saddened. The measure of John Smith

If you want to celebrate John life today, watch this short film at


It's about the first sitting of the Scottish Parliament which coincidentaslly took place exactly 5 years after John's death, 10 years ago today. John Smith made this happen, And of course he is in it - just watch
Paul Burgin said…
Meant to tag you as well, but forgot. Would be great if you posted that on your blog!
Alan Smart said…
paul - just have done


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