09 May 2010

Alan Watkins: "Politics is a rough old trade"

That was just one of the memorable phrases that came from the pen of Alan Watkins, the doyen of political columnists, who died yesterday.  Others being: "chattering classes", "men in grey suits" and the "young fogeys".

His final column in the Indy on Sunday appeared just after the first TV leaders' debate.  Watkins compared Clegg's success to a third party by-election win and concluded:
Mr Clegg is adept at the soft answer that turneth away wrath. He does not have anything to teach Mr Cameron; still less poor Mr Brown, who chews gum even when he does not have anything to chew.
The week before he said that Labour had left it too late to woo the Lib Dems:
I do not think a modern version of the Lib-Lab pact is going to come to anything much today. Mr Nick Clegg is not prepared to be seen, as he inevitably would be seen, as the subordinate partner to Mr Brown. Why should he be? Mr Clegg now regards himself as one of the bigger boys. Mr Brown should have made his overtures long ago. Or Mr Tony Blair should have done it long before that. It is now too late.
His columns, style of prose and knowledge of political history will be missed, not least on this weekend, of all weekends.

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