Bring back Alan Johnson, say Left Foot Forward readers

Left Foot Forward readers overwhelmingly want the former shadow chancellor brought back into the fold.

Left Foot Forward readers overwhelmingly want the former shadow chancellor brought back into the fold

Message to Ed Miliband: bring Alan Johnson back into the Cabinet. Or at least that’s the message Left Foot Forward readers have given in our latest poll.

Almost three quarters (68 per cent) of those who voted said that the former shadow chancellor should be brought back to the Labour front bench, with just 26 per cent rejecting the idea.

Six per cent of respondents said it didn’t matter whether or not Miliband brought back Johnson.

The suggestion was first mooted by former home secretary David Blunkett, who suggested last week that Miliband should bring some “oldies” back into his top team, specifically Alan Johnson. Johnson quit as shadow chancellor in 2010 and has been on the backbenches ever since.

However it looks like many on the left still see a role for him in the shadow cabinet and, hopefully, a future Labour government.

Alan Johnsonj

Alan Johnson 2j

One of the things that undoubtedly fuels public apathy toward politics is the sense that the political class are all from the same social background. This at least partly explains the success as a communicator of UKIP leader Nigel Farage. To use the tired cliche, he sounds like ‘someone you might meet down the pub’.

Similarly with Alan Johnson. Johnson grew up in a poor household and is a former postman. In the real world this isn’t particularly exceptional, but in the Westminster bubble he might as well be an alien life form. And as we’ve seen with Nigel Farage, hardly a man of the people but someone who at least speaks human, ordinariness can be turned to your advantage in a world inhabited largely by Oxbridge types.

And I suspect that’s why LFF readers overwhelmingly view Alan Johnson as a potential asset to Ed Miliband. He’s intelligent, likeable and, most importantly, he resembles an actual human being. Politics could do with a lot more people like that.

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25 Responses to “Bring back Alan Johnson, say Left Foot Forward readers”

  1. Rallan

    Alan Johnson, the last fig leaf for an insincere Labour elite.

  2. carol_wilcox

    Not in my name.

  3. Nick

    More rigged than a Zimbabwe election.

  4. Tony

    It always amazes me how people manage to overlook his truly dreadful record such as raq, ID cards, Trident etc. I cannot stand the man.

  5. swatnan

    not much more to offer

  6. Kay

    I wonder how things would have turned out for the Labour party in 2010 if David Davis had won the leadership of the Conservative party?

    Davis’s biography reminder: born to a single mother, brought up on a council estate by grandparents, left school without good A-levels; worked at all sorts of jobs and the Territorial Army to earn enough money to retake the exams. Gained a place at University and went on to a Masters degree. Worked at Tate & Lyle for a couple of decades before becoming an MP. To my mind that’s a pretty impressive and inspiring CV.

    If Davis ever replaces Cameron, or if he is allowed a major speaking part in the election of 2015, then I don’t hold out much hope for the former SPADS, droids, twonks and Metropolitan Elite that hold power in the so-called Labour Party.

  7. treborc1

    They backed the leader tell me when politicians do not, the issue is do you want the 14 ministers who now sit on the opposition benches who are either progress ex chairs including Miliband or are fully paid up members of the Progress Party I nearly wrote group, but it’s a party within a party

  8. treborc1

    But he will not so that’s it dead in the water, if the Tories pick anyone it will some rich and royal person Lord Boris

  9. Richard Honey

    We need more MPs from poor, working class, BME backgrounds, with real grassroots credibility. I like Alan Johnson but he is hardly representative of a new breed from outside of the Westminster bubble that will resonate with people. Plus he cooked his goose with me by his appalling treatment of David Knutt and the whole stupid approach to drugs policy by the main parties who are too afraid to abandoned the failed mantra of prohibition.

  10. Kay

    Yes indeed! The current Conservative head boys prefer blonds and vote losing Eton-Oxford-SPAD clones.

  11. Lucy Sky Diamonds

    Oh yes, Alan Johnson, the man that treated that Austistic man Gary Mckinnon like a piece of turd.

  12. Dave Roberts

    Then shut up.

  13. Norfolk29

    I think Alan is a little old for all the stress of a Front Bench post. However, it is time Ed Miliband had a small committee of “Friends” who will tell him the truth about the real world outside Westminster and Alan Johnson and Charles Clarke would be two members I would recommend to be on that committee. Peter Mandelson and Alistair Campbell would be two more. Someone must get Ed to start seeing the world as it is.

  14. carol_wilcox

    I think I may well do that. I look at the list of (previous) contributors – Ann Pettifor, Howard Reed, Duncan Weldon, Kate Hudson, etc. – and then read James Bloodworth pushing the Laffer Curve myth and current readers backing Alan Johnson who left behind his socialist principles many years ago. I don’t think I belong here.

  15. Chris Lovett

    A little old? Are you aware that the 1945 administration had an average age of over 60? With age comers wisdom, determination, strength and having learned from past mistakes, ability.

  16. Hettie

    The Labour Party has been taken over by the careerists who destroyed its core values and sought/and seek power for powers sake The result is we are now just like the Americans where there is little or no difference between the two ie Labour /Tory parties. The whole Westminster system is corrupt. For example….vote a politician out…and hey presto he/she can turns up( zombie like) in the anachronistic unelected House of Lords where,they can pocket ¬£30+ expense per day if they turn up….and why wouldn’t they, once ensconsed there they don’t have to do anything except show up!!!!

  17. Norfolk29

    Read Roy Jenkins biography of Churchill and you will agree with me. Churchill wore out Attlee’s Administration with continuous votes of “no confidence”. The period between the 1950 and 1951 election was warfare until they could take no more. If Clem had renewed his front bench he might have survived but they were dying in front of his eyes and his only consideration was preserving unity.

    Miliband has a young team that lacks experience, despite their obvious abilities, and Douglas Alexander demonstrated that only this morning on the Today Programme. They need a team of Elders. I am 76 and I agree with you on wisdom and determination.

  18. AlanGiles

    Bring back Alan Johnson. Why, for God’s sake?. Apart from being yesterdays man in spades – one of Blair’s great lackies, he was a disaster in his final shadow Chancellor role (even worse than Balls) at DWP he hit on the wheeze of wanting to have DWP employees accosting unemployed patients in GP waiting rooms, a move which would have compromised confidentiality rules since receptionists would have had to tip off the DWP employee about the patients circumstances.

    I can understand the idea – a nice litttle right wing lickspittle who would do what the boss told him, made more palatable because he is using a cheeky little working class accent. But they have Cruddas for that role now – the thinking man’s Arthur Mullard – the Labour top men and their patronising idea that their right wing ideas are somehow more palatable served up by one of the working classes “own sort”.

    I think Blunkett’s credibility fell round his ankles when he published his Pooteresque diaries in 2006 and to make even more money had them serialised in the Daily Mail. I would take any of his suggestions with a health warning.

    Labour these days, I am sorry to say, is a principle free zone, a party desperate to find some meaningful role. All it is doing now is triangulating like mad and trying to out-Tory the Tories on welfare.

    It’s bad enough having today’s train wrecks – Reeves, Hunt etc without dragging back one of Blair’s boys

  19. AlanGiles

    Sadly Carol, the likes of Dave don’t feel comfortable with the truth. Many “Labour” supporters roll over or turn a blind eye to things that, if the Coalition had said them, they would be outraged (Miliband’s welfare reform speech last week for example).

  20. AlanGiles

    Mandy and Campbell?. Shady snobbery from one and dodgy dossiers from the other. Both held in contempt by ordinary decent people. You must badly want Labour to lose!

  21. Norfolk29

    You possibly do not remember the Labour Party before 1983 when Foot in Mouth was the common response to any situation. Mandelson was put in charge of the Labour Response Unit in the late 1980’s and we even had a chance in 1992. Then Campbell came on the scene and we were flavour of the month. Cameron appointed Coulson to try to get the Tories on the same footing as Campbell gave Labour.

  22. AlanGiles

    I can remember much further back than that. Joe Haines, for example, did’nt have undisclosed loans, or make false declarations on mortgage applications, or (as Campbell did) move from being a scribbler on a sex magazine to aiding and abetting the prosecution of a war by causing to be published a dossier making erroneous or even false allegations.

    Both these men are a disgrace. It is appropriate one ended up treading the boards (till he took up his political career again, this time with a dictator) and the other hobnobbing with the Rothchilds. Let them stay as loathesome footnotes to history

  23. Norfolk29

    Oh dear, you really have a memory for all the worse side of human nature and assume it is all on the Labour side. When the history of this period is written, and it will be because it is one of the worst times of growing inequality, with the rich becoming richer, and the middle class totally siding with the rich, the small failings of the Left will be seen in prospective as tiny in comparison to the inequities of the rich. Reeves and Hunt and Eagles and Alexander are good people who will run a Labour Administration in the best interests of the majority of the population, and that includes the 60% middle class who consider themselves above ever voting Labour. However, it is important that Alan Johnson’s voice of calm and moderation be heard amongst the clamor for unobtainable perfection. Mandelson got carried away with the need for a house in Notting Hill and got a loan from a friend. In the old days of Joe Haines no one would have known this and would have stayed quiet if they did. No today when there is no privacy. May all our sins be forgiven. Amen.

  24. AlanGiles

    You seem very indulgent about Mandy;s snobbery and dishonesty. (“small failings”) The man is an embarrassment.

    As for Johnson, he was as right wing and doctrinaire as Blunkett and Reid.

    If you want Conservative Labour, good luck to you. The return of Johnson would do nothing to improve this weak, shambling opposition, which seems terrified of upsetting the tabloids.

    Oh – Reeves has said she will be “tougher than the Tories” on welfare, which make the rest of your observations otiose.

  25. littleoddsandpieces

    The Tories paint all those starving in the same vein as drug addict / alcoholic tiny minority, as the parents fault kids starve to point of Rickets. Labour says nothing and could have brought the government down, as it is the working poor and poor pensioners who are the bulk of those going to food banks.

    Now the working poor and poor pensioners can be one at the same person, as you can get state pension payout and remain in work.

    Women losing state pension payout at 60 from the full NI Fund not having needed a top from tax for decades, from a completely full NI Fund, that cannot be emptied by government and must be kept 8 weeks cash in hand surplus, could also have been a Labour policy that would have pulled away from all other parties and not just a few points ahead in the polls as now.

    Women MPs kept pension payout at 60 from 2012, lost to women turning 60 from 2013.

    Many women will end up absolutely nothing in old age for life – no state pension, no benefit, least chance of a job over 60, no disability / chronic sick benefits. Some agencies are not giving out vouchers to food banks to those losing benefit.

    If Jonh Cruddas became Prime Minister and Labour’s policies gave us:

    – Revoke Welfare Reform Act

    – Just pay benefit til universal non-means tested citizen wage can replace all welfare admin / benefit 2016-2017 tax year if Labour win, as they would win big if they did these policies instead

    – The citizen wage also helps the squeezed middle, especially the biggest losers in tax, pension and benefit changes – women, who had a 5 per cen drop in threshold before get hit by next higher tax band. Replaces women’s losses in child tax credits and maternity benefits.

    – State pension at 60 from 2013 for women (lost since then)

    – State pension equalised at 60 for men from 2015

    – Revoke Pension Bill
    – Revoke Flat Rate Pension due 2016

    – Link state pension to average wages again

    – Pass law guaranteeing pension payout, that Labour had in 1975, revoked by Tories in 1993 and not brought back in 13 years of Labour rule til 2010.

    – One off back-dated tax free lump sum for women who lost state pension payout from 2013 (30,000 born 1953) and 2014 (500,000 born 1954) and those born 1954 and 1955 a small sum for the months in 2015 til Labour win big in May, then all paid monthly state pension, which you get in work or retire.

    Miliband and Balls only offer Labour at best a minority government in 2015, which means the Tories continue to rule. At worst, Labour could lose.

    How about Dave Nellist from TUSC for Prime Minister or Chancellor of Labour?

    See the banned TUSC video on my personal website:

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