I went to Q+A yesterday in search of political comment and was astonished to see John McTernan aka “Malcolm Tucker without the charm” given ten minutes to burble. McTernan promotes himself as a former political adviser to Blair and Gillard, but his last real job was chief of staff to Jim Murphy who led the Scottish Labour Party to oblivion in 2015.
McTernan dropped Andrew Little’s name several times. I hope that means nothing more than McTernan is just here touting for business. His track record is very mixed. The Glasgow Herald in an article titled “Scottish Labour: Inside the campaign from hell” shows:
McTernan was also unpopular among some colleagues at Holyrood and acquired a reputation for making bold statements that were rarely borne out by reality.
Julia Gillard recruited McTernan in 2011 to improve her image. That proved to be another disaster, as she was eventually deposed by Kevin Rudd before the 2014 election. A common criticism of McTernan besides his foul-mouthed abuse was that the spin-doctor became the story. That’s never good.
McTernan is firmly in the Clinton/Blair “Progress” camp and is the British Labour equivalent of Clinton’s hitman David Brock. He thinks anyone who supports Jeremy Corbyn or Bernie Sanders is “delusional” and has mounted a sustained and vitriolic attack against Corbyn from his position as a columnist for the Daily Torygraph.
As a political commentator he is more self-promoter than effective adviser. He also doesn’t understand political organisation in my view. I heard him at a session in Brighton in 2014 after Corbyn’s first speech to the Labour Party conference say that Corbyn had said nothing at all about winning an election. In fact a centrepiece of Corbyn’s speech was to call for an enrolment campaign, the first thing you would do to prepare for an election five years away particularly when the Tory Party are planning a gerrymander plus rule changes to make enrolment harder.
Q+A must be hard up. Little would be wise not to touch him.