At long last Ms Harman talks sense, says Richard

Monday 15 June 2015

Credit: Twitter/@Daily_Express

Those who have read Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, currently serialised on BBC One on Sunday nights, will be familiar with the dreadful predicament suffered by Lady Pole.

Throughout the story she is under a magic enchantment, condemned to spend her nights in the land of Faerie, where she must dance until she drops. When she returns to this world, the enchantment robs her of sensible speech. Rubbish pours out of her mouth.

I think Harriet Harman has been under a similar enchantment. For as long as anyone can remember she has spouted political nonsense. It was difficult to understand why: she is clearly an intelligent and well-informed woman.

But since the general election the cause has become obvious – Harriet was under an enchantment! Her party’s shattering defeat last month broke the spell and after all these years, she is at last free to speak. Relief shines from her face. She is free from fairyland and can now tell it like it is.

This week she said Labour voters were secretly “relieved” when their party lost. Harriet Harman said that!

She said it was because they didn’t really believe Ed Miliband’s team were up to snuff and they didn’t think he was up to snuff either. Just in case Harriet’s sword of truth hadn’t cut her former boss deeply enough she administered the coup de grace.

“The two things combined. People tend to like a leader they feel is economically competent.” Ouch, Ed! Never mind stabs in the back – that one was straight to the heart! Good job the bad fairy’s enchantment on Harriet wasn’t lifted before May 8, eh? The election result could have been even worse! Oh, hang on – Harriet hasn’t finished.

“When you change the captain of the ship you need to look at the direction it is going,” Harriet ploughed on, Cassandralike. Referring to the successive, catastrophic choice of leaders in Brown and Miliband, she said there must never again be any “papering over the cracks”.

Labour must choose the person who will best connect with voters in 2020, rather than someone who will “make party members feel glowing about our principles and values”.

Yes, this was Harriet Harman speaking! Amazing, isn’t it?

When I finished reading the interview I had to go and lie down for a bit. But it’s wonderful news. Westminster’s Lady Pole is finally out of Faerie. Harriet’s back in the real world.

Read Richard and Judy's Express column in full here.
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