Step Forward the Unlikely Political Hero of the Summer: John Prescott. His Weaknesses Have Become Strengths, Because He Is So Palpably Not One of the No 10 In-Crowd

By Perkins, Anne | New Statesman (1996), August 25, 2003 | Go to article overview

Step Forward the Unlikely Political Hero of the Summer: John Prescott. His Weaknesses Have Become Strengths, Because He Is So Palpably Not One of the No 10 In-Crowd


Perkins, Anne, New Statesman (1996)


In this hot, remorseless August, amid the astonishing spectacle of Lord Hutton's inquiry burrowing into the entrails of the very recent political past like paparazzi going through so much celebrity garbage, only one politician has so far emerged with any credit. John Leslie Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister, entitled since May to draw a state pension, has acquired an unfamiliar lustre as a politician with human values. In a world of hard-faced men and women who have done well out of new Labour, this humanity may be the quality that rescues the fortunes of the left.

Everyone knows Prezzer. He's the jester at the court of King Tony, the licensed fool who's so peripheral to the serious business of government that he can, with impunity, punch a voter or wave two fingers at the media. Despite his two Jags, he is, spiritually, new Labour's white van man. "John is John," said the PM, after the "two jabs" incident during the last election, "and I'm lucky to have him as my deputy."

Each August for the past six years, as the bosses headed for the Caribbean or the Mediterranean, Prezzer got his break. He was in charge as acting prime minister. Everyone knew that really he was the nightwatchman, the caretaker whose judgements could, if necessary, be overruled. He was a senior politician not senior enough--in that litmus test beloved of the Daily Mail--to launch a nuclear missile.

This August, he has played a different role. After five summers memorable for one good joke (that one about the crab called Peter), he finally got the chance to play to his strength: his credibility. When he apologised for the behind-the-hand Walter Mitty smear on Dr David Kelly, delivered in a conversation between the PM's official spokesman and a lobby correspondent from the Independent, the nation knew he meant it. When, two days later, he went to Kelly's funeral--at the request of the dead man's family, the sole government representative--his sympathetic presence symbolised the national disquiet about the treatment meted out by politicians to a public servant. It is hard to imagine any other leading cabinet minister having quite the same effect.

Prescott, MP for Hull East for 33 years, is said to regard himself as Blair's Bevin, the authentic voice of the worker in the ear of the professional, middle-class Prime Minister. And no doubt No 10 is content to allow the party's core support to have the impression that there is someone at the heart of government with whom they might share a pint, or at least an interest in cars. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Step Forward the Unlikely Political Hero of the Summer: John Prescott. His Weaknesses Have Become Strengths, Because He Is So Palpably Not One of the No 10 In-Crowd
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.