Top critical review
Ooh Ahh Jackie Straw
on 1 June 2016
There was a sketch on the Saturday Night Armistice about the Jack Straw fan club. I used to find this hilarious. Of all people why would anyone be a fan of Jack Straw. And yet theres a sincere earnestness to him that seemed right to rib, You were embarrassed and horrified at the same time as entertained. Why shouldnt he have a fan club ?
I found myself amongst the memoirs. I have avoided many of the Blair era big ones. One day one will be the one to read, or maybe you need to cut and paste them all together ( a job for Dominic Sandbrooke perhaps ?).
Yet Jack Straws appealled. It appealled because it was always clear he had a love for being a politician that shone through, above any ideology, because his son dealt drugs and because he was Foreign Secretary during the Iraq war. The biggest Foreign policy issue for years. What would he say , well…
Before that , his early life is dealt with in an open and engaging way. He is aware of his breaks, he downplays his role in the Norman Scott file issue, but then he would. As a politician he is remarkably Conservative ( not surprisingly so ) a Labour John Major if a pair was needed.
He waxes large on Education in a way traditional Conservatives would have loved him to be their man. No 60’s nonesense about being pupil centric.In Government he writes about calamity jack in a gracious way , given that none of us remember any of the issues he feels so bad about.
His sense of irony and humour go beyond satire.” I will tell you why I supported the war and how I could have stopped it but didnt”. At this point you move closer to the page. Then he just goes all Judith Chalmers on us, tells us about all the flights and answers neither of the issues he said he would.
He seems to be the only Cabinet Minister who didnt really have a view or experience of the whole Blair/Brown thing. He thought Brown would be ok , but could have done better, he wore tights and lasted longer than anyone else.
A strange memoire , readable, likeable but I have no idea what he thinks.