9 May 2009
There are many things I detest about John Prescott.
I hate the national assumption that he is Hull born and raised, which he isn't. He was born in Prestatyn and had next to nothing to do with us until he was elected to the Hull East constituency in 1970. I'm not suggesting that the good people of Prestatyn should embrace him, just that we in this cherished corner of the nation don't wish him to be seen as one of our own, as he isn't.
I hate the hypocrisy of the man. He was as scathing as any left wing politician about the Tory sleaze of the 1990s, and yet was himself slipping a scabby length to one of his underlings. He is also a proper left winger who kept his big gob shut in order to acquire and then keep his job as deputy leader as Labour reformed.
I hate his temper. He has been a man of considerable power over the years, and yet aside from the infamous twatting of the egg-throwing mullet man in 2001, he has become renowned for being rude and obnoxious to interviewers over perfectly acceptable political issues that needed raising.
I hate his ego. I suspect that his position as deputy prime minister made him officially entitled to take an active role in policy making, but it wouldn't surprise me if Tony Blair never once consulted him. Then there was the time he and his wife drove 200 yards to conference on a day when conservation and the environment was under discussion, and he brusquely claimed, aside from the remark about his wife's hair, that it was because of "the security implication". He genuinely believed he could be a target for someone and that his sudden, violent demise might somehow affect the country's very stature.
However, I will always have sympathy for him when people decide that the best thing to mock is his grammar, as Have I Got News For You did for the umpteenth time last night. That brand of snobbery irks me to high heaven. When I hear him being interviewed, his mangled verbs and participles don't affect the point he makes, which is invariably a point that I'll disagree with. There are far more salient issues about Prescott and politicians as a whole to criticise; having a pop at a bloke because his manner is authentic to his upbringing is sneery and genuinely unfair.
I still hate Prescott though. I hope when he stands down as an MP next year he moves house.