The John Smith Meme
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!
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