Friday, August 19, 2005

Mo Mowlam (1949-2005)


Oh, bloody hell. First Cookie, now Mo. Political figures on the Left whom I admire (and there ain't many of them, these days) are dropping like flies*. It'll be Benn, next (Tony, not Hilary, although I have a soft spot for Hilary, having known him personally).

The Guardian obituary is here but sadly neither it nor the BBC's 'In Pictures' tribute shows a photo of her I once saw of her in her youth. Christ, she was an absolute corker. Best legs in the Commons, someone had once said of her (not, presumably, Alan Clark who was too busy drooling over Thatcher's ankles - for which reason alone he should have been sectioned). Alas, even a Google search has failed to throw up said photo - all the ones I can find show her looking old and ill, way beyond her years.

Her looks wouldn't have been the only reason to be attracted to her, though. She was one of that extremely rare breed - people who genuinely speak their minds and to hell with the consequences. This isn't to say that she wasn't capable of dissembling - she was a politician, after all - but she refused to play the 'on-message' game, even though she was one of the architects of New Labour (a project which sorely disappointed her in the years before her death). I always thought her tremendous; and it's a testament to her strength of mind that, even when dumped in a job for which she had no appetite (Northern Ireland Secretary), she was determined to take it on and make the best of it. The outcome was positive, even if it was short-lived. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall in the negotiations between the Unionists and Republicans which she chaired.

Anyway, she once told Ian Paisley to fuck off, and that's qualification for Paradise on its own, in my opinion.

* I'm not the only person who thinks this way: see also dearkitty, Backword Dave and John B. Oh, and some clever soul on b3ta has noted the awkward imminence of another funeral for Blair (thanks to Tim again). And, while you're at it, it's worth reading Mo's election time colums in the Independent (here and here, courtesy of Paul Davies).


Blogger Brownie said...

That knockout photo of Ms Mowlam's youth was shown on the Parkinson program when he interviewed her.

12:37 pm  

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