Sunday 6 November 2022

Neil Kinnock: “Christ, what a way to spend my forties”


'Neil Kinnock looked back on his nine years as [Labour] leader with a shudder. “Christ, what a way to spend my forties,” he said.'

I expect William Hague feels something similar.

'How do you achieve happiness? Achieve your childhood ambition.' 

I came across this remark attributed to Freud and often quoted it. In fact it is not from him and I start to doubt it's true.

My childhood ambition was to be an MP, Prime Minister and then made an earl. I'd never have been elected to anything, but achieving childhood ambitions do not necessarily make you happy. 

A friend of mine at college, who became a solicitor at Clifford Chance, was the only person in my Cambridge generation to become an MP. He is much more intelligent than most politicians but was not made a minister, tried to commit suicide and then was deselected after being cautioned by the police for allegedly hitting his girlfriend. Last thing I heard of him he was done for drinking under the influence.

Being Prime Minister didn't make John Major very happy, I'd guess. Theresa May, who was motivated only by vanity, must have enjoyed it in many ways but by God it must have been very painful - and much more painful for the now forgotten meteor Miss Truss.

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