Shortly before he died, Roy Jenkins commented that political journalism was something of a repetitive challenge when there were only two significant figures, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He compared the barren landscape of the day with the fertile ground of the 1970s and 1980s when a columnist could reflect on the activities of Benn, Crosland, Healey, Owen, Williams, Thatcher, Joseph, Heseltine and, of course, Jenkins himself. 15 years on from Jenkins’ comment and the situation appears to be worse than ever. Can I be alone in hankering after the conviction and charisma of a Blair or the intellectual heft of a Brown right now? Looking along the front benches today, I’d have Cameron and Osborne back – true they may have set our country on this wretched course, but at least they had a certain swagger and sangfroid that the Brexit debate has sorely lacked.
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