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.