That Liam Byrne Note

During the BBC Question Time Leaders Debate Cameron yet again pulled out a note that Liam Byrne, the former Chief Secretary left at the Teasury, apologising because ” the money has all gone” or words to that effect.

Plainly it was meant as a joke, if not a very funny one. Nor, was it remotely original. Byrne was simply copying what the Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer, Reggie Maudling, had left for the incoming Labour Chancellor, Jim Callaghan, in 1964 .

We all have moments when we trust political opponents not to take advantage of indiscreet and off the cuff comments, and Maudling clearly felt that Callaghan could be trusted with this private message of what was meant to be an act of goodwill.

As I remember it, Labour did not keep flashing around the Maudling note in a crass and opportunistic way. It was not used in the 1966 election by Callaghan or Wilson.

The trouble for Byrne was that he believed in 2010 that he would be handing over to his opposite number Philip Hammond, who presumably he thought could be trusted.

Instead it was the weasly Liberal Democrat, Laws, who became Chief Secretary for a short period in 2010 . He was soon to resign over his expenses, but before he did so, he broadcast the Byrne note all over the Media.

And so, it has become a desperate device for a Tory Leader with very little of any real substance to say.

It is a shame that this rather human aspect of politics can be undermined by the most crass and opportunistic of politicians.

Roger Truelove, County Councillor and Prospective Labour Candidate for Homewood

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