Friday, 11 June 2010

Andy Burnham's lack of an entourage speaks of strength not weakness

Siôn Simon (ex-MP and minister) writes a very funny piece today on Labour Uncut about Andy Burnham's lack of an entourage in the power-play that is the Labour leadership contest.

These are my immediate thoughts:

There's a serious point to it I think and that is that the most unassuming candidate (i.e. the one who doesn't barge around with a ridiculous entourage of self-important wannabes) is almost certainly the most genuine and less egotistical of them all.  I remember from when I worked in the Commons that about the only minister (let alone Cabinet minister) who didn't walk around with his own homies was Alan Johnson - routinely regarded as perhaps the most decent, friendly, straight-forward and genuine senior Labour politician (oh, and polls suggest most liked by the public - I wonder why?)  I used to see Alan Johnson chatting to the canteen staff as did we researchers.  I used to see him walking back to his department ON HIS OWN and walking around the House of Commons ON HIS OWN.

You have to ask the question: what kind of person feels the need for an entourage?  Do they have a narcissistic personality disorder?  Are they insecure?  Are they overly ambitious?  Are they obsessed with image?  Are they power hungry/mad?  Conversely, what does it say about a politician who eschews such an entourage?  I think it says they're definitely none of the above and for that, they're all the more likely to win my vote come polling.

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