Daily catch-up: David Cameron, colossus; Labour contenders, insignificant no-marks (I don’t think)

The Prime Minister has been underestimated, but the ‘Labour giants of yesteryear’ thesis has been overdone

1. Lovely painting of Old Ford Road by Harold Steggles from 1931, via the East London Group, which features paintings by the group before the Second World War.

2. “The political cemeteries are littered with those who underestimated him.” Vernon Bogdanor on David Cameron, one of his Oxford students.

“He has consigned a whole generation of political leaders to the wilderness – Kenneth Clarke, David Davis and Malcolm Rifkind in 2005, Gordon Brown in 2010, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls and the Labour Party in 2015, together with Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, David Laws, Simon Hughes and almost every other Liberal Democrat MP.”

3. There was a bit of chat yesterday, prompted by Jason Cowley, about the mighty titans who used to contest Labour leadership elections compared with the insignificant no-marks of today. For example, 1976: Roy Jenkins, Jim Callaghan, Anthony Crosland, Tony Benn, Denis Healey and Michael Foot.

Philip Cowley was not convinced:

“Sick of reading how great the Labour leadership contest of 1976 was. Did they feel lucky at the time do you think?”

And Twlldun commented, wisely I felt: “I’m often reminded when politicians talk of Tony Benn’s famous ‘Five questions for the powerful:

i. ‘Shaddap You Face’ by Joe Dolce famously kept ‘Vienna’ from the number one spot. What was its B-side?

ii. How many queens of England have there been?

iii. What sandwiches have you got?

iv. If I want to get back onto the ring road, do I have to follow the one way system or is there a shortcut?

v. A train leaves Denver heading for New York at 100mph; one leaves New York heading for Denver at the same speed; where will they meet?”

4. Congratulations to Harry Cole, of the Guido Fawkes global brand, who has been hired by The Sun as its Westminster correspondent. Welcome to the Lobby.

With Cole’s help, perhaps The Sun can succeed in its aim, to “bring more people into a Sun conversation”, and catch up with The Independent, which has more readers. Print and online combined, The Independent has 15.6m monthly readers. The Sun has 13.6m.

5. Kolakowskian ‏thought I might enjoy this.

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I did.

6. And finally, thanks to Tom Freeman ‏for this:

“I just discovered there’s a website called the Universal Currency Converter.

“This changes everything.