Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Too strong locally to ignore - who have a missed?

I was taking to someone earlier saying that there were only four British politicians that really were so strong in local government that they couldn't be ignored nationally. That their presence in central government owed a lot to their power at a local level.

I don't mean people who first made a bit of a reputation in local government before becoming national figures (Stephen Byers for example) or people who were strong in local government and became non-cabinet level national figures (Ken Livingstone for example*).

I ask this because it's a significant characteristic of French politics that many national figures are local powerbrokers who are too are too strong to exclude from government. Where the cabinet - to some extent - choose the PM and not the other way around. A useful side-issue in answering Harriet Harman's great question.

I said 'four' because years ago, I developed this argument in an essay that has long-since been lost. The four were....
  1. Herbert Morrisson
  2. Joseph Chamberlain
  3. David Blunkett
  4. .... er ....
Who am I missing?

*I would say, though, that Ken is a great example of someone who used his local powerbase effectively against the centre - but for the purposes of this question, he doesn't count.

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