Diary: Armchair Field Marshal still fighting the last war - Diary - People - The Independent

Diary: Armchair Field Marshal still fighting the last war

Although only a fool would reach a firm conclusion about Ed Miliband's leadership so soon, one omen suggests he'll do fine. Armchair Field Marshal the Lord (David) Aaronovitch has come to a firm conclusion about Little Ed's leadership, declaring him no leader at all. Writing in The Times, the fearless Parker Knoll warrior deconstructs Ed's conference speech to paint him as a posturing student politician of the kind who might answer every University Challenge question with "Trotsky".

What most upset the AFM – and who'd believe this? – were Ed's harsh words about Iraq. Ed's hint that the desire to be close to America motivated Mr Tony Blair is, writes David, "completely and utterly wrong". David forgets – amnesia is quite today's theme – Mr T's injunction to new ambassador Christopher Meyer, via Jonathan Powell, to "get up the arse of the White House and stay there". David further asks why, if Ed was passionately against the war, he didn't make his opposition "public, where it might have counted".

What David fails to recall here is that Ed – not yet an MP and teaching at Harvard – had no public voice at the time, but privately begged Gordon Brown not to support the war. I've said it before and must say it again: Armchair Field Marshal, get professional help. This Sisyphean battle to justify a calamitous error of judgment is doing none of us any good.

* Neil Kinnock greeted Ed's victory with an emotional: "I've got my party back." Just one question for Neil (this amnesia seems oddly infectious). Remind us who hired Peter Mandelson and Charles Clarke, and gave it away in the first place?



* In better news, Hazel comes sixth in a poll conducted on Twitter by Mark Steel (@mrmarksteel), who tweeted: "Who were New Labour's top 10 shits?" Voters produced this list: Blair, Alastair Campbell, Mandy, Geoff "Buff" Hoon, Whinin' David Blunkett, Sunny Delight (Hazel), "Dr" John Reid, "Pinocchio" Stephen Byers, Wor Alan Milburn and "Mad Frankie" Field. Bad luck Charles Clarke on narrowly missing out.



* Our final amnesiac is Nadine Dorries. "I have spent the whole day wondering why people keep talking to me about Sarah Palin," blogged Nadine. "And the penny has only just dropped. The New Statesman is out today and I was interviewed about ... Sarah Palin." She certainly was. "I think Sarah Palin is amazing," she told the NS. "I totally admire her". Quite a rising star Nadine is. Like, totally.



* Worrying days for Hazel Blears, whose pants were on fire, not to mention in a frightful twist, after her remark about Labour doing "wicked and malicious things" in power. When asked to specify by TalkSport's talented political editor Sean Dilley, she blethered aimlessly. Then she told the BBC's Daily Politics "wicked and malicious" referred to the Tories. Informed later the BBC had a tape, the Glenn Hoddle of Salford couldn't remember them things what she said. Harold Wilson resigned as PM over the initial signs of early-onset Alzheimer's. Is this why Hazel has denied Ed's shadow cabinet her captivating brand of sunny optimism?

* I am distressed that The Lady war continues. Proprietor Julia Budworth – whose disdain at editor Rachel Johnson's self-promotion and penis obsession seems a stringent "My dear, these days you just can't get the staff" – has reiterated her contempt in the Daily Mail. Rachel, meanwhile, responded in the Mail on Sunday saying that Mrs B calling her "unkind" has stressed her into resuming smoking and requiring sleeping pills. More on this, you must assume, to come. But really, ladies. I mean, really.

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