For my first blog entry, I am, most unusually, going to enter the murky and arcane world of politics and ask: Is Ken Clarke the best party leader the Tories never had?
Ken Clarke seems to me one of the politicians it is easy to disagree with, but difficult to criticize. He has a working class background, studied law at Cambridge (no Bullingdon Boy he), and has occupied just about every important cabinet office except one. Slightly shambolic in appearance (inescapably branded ‘a Hush Puppy man’), slightly hangdog in expression, a shameless cigar smoker (even when he was Health Secretary), he is very much his own man. One of Thatcher’s closest allies, he is nevertheless vehemently pro-European, and seems to have no interest in taking up a seat in the Lords. He is also one of those rare people who has been married to the same women for life (this year he will celebrate his golden wedding anniversary).
Ken Clarke has been a steady, influential and popular career politician. British democracy needs more Ken Clarkes, and it is a shame that, no longer being a member of the cabinet, his time at the forefront of British politics is effectively over.