Having had the privilege of being close to my dear friend and hero, the late Auberon Waugh, for over two decades I have, on many an occasion, tried to emulate some aspects of his character – notably his great loyalty to friends and his intolerance and phobia of enemies.
Although his love of women was legendary, once he got a bee in his bonnet about one of them he never failed to pursue her in print with an acerbic mockery of which he was a master. Needless to say, he did the same with his own gender.
To claim that this side of him I have somehow inherited is to stretch a point that I could never reach, for I believe no one, least of all myself, has the aptitude or humour to which Bron had no equal.
Reading my weekend newspapers, I came across an announcement by the beleaguered Harriet Harman that she wants to be deputy prime minister if Labour were to win the next general election, in a defiant declaration of intent after three bruising weeks fighting allegations about links to a paedophile group.
Ms Harman said that it was ‘essential’ that she stood for the key post after the toughest episode in her career, fending off accusations about links between the National Council for Civil Liberties, where she worked, and the Paedophile Information Exchange. Instead of backing down, despite the furore that followed the allegations and her refusal to apologise, she is now urging the Labour leader to give her the job that Gordon Brown was adamant not to hand to her in 2007.
Asked whether she should be given the role, she said: ‘Is it a problem for myself to agree with that proposition? I think it’s essential.’ Asked why, she replied: ‘Because I’m deputy leader of the party and because it’s what I want to do, be deputy prime minister. I want Ed to be prime minister and I to be deputy prime minister.’
This most arrogant woman, who has a misplaced chutzpah to say the least, is not only a danger to herself but to others.
Putting aside the paedophile issue, I have never felt comfortable with her political criteria, always harping on about political correctness, the cause of many of our present ills, and her endless moaning about women’s rights, which today are not only protected but in some instances over-emphasised to the very detriment of men. Equality is one thing, but to turn the tide against the opposite sex is not to the benefit of women in the long term.
To me, she represents a great deal of hot air and a rich lexicon of platitudes.
If Bron were alive today I am sure he would have a field day tearing her to smithereens for her reluctance to face well-intentioned criticism levelled against her in a humble and orderly manner, worthy of her political status. Politicians are supposed to be servants of the people who appoint them, not the other way round.
If Harriet Harman is to survive, she will have to tone down her capricious view of herself and learn to kiss the hand that feeds her – i.e. the public.