Thursday, June 21, 2007

In Praise of Liam Byrne

This afternoon I gave a short speech at a MORI conference on the Blair Legacy and the politics in the next decade. One of my co-panellists was the Immigration Minister Liam Byrne. I have to say I was rather impressed. He gave a 15 minute powerpoint presentation (no notes) on immigration policy and was not only polished - he was pleasant, amusing and seemed a totally normal guy. I thought to myself while he was speaking that if all Labour Ministers were like him the Conservatives would have a much tougher fight on their hands. If Gordon Brown doesn't promote Liam Byrne to the Cabinet next week I'll be astonished. He told a great anecdote from his by-election...

He and Ian McCartney were out canvassing in an area with a lot of Asian voters. They knocked on a door and a lady answered. Ian McCartney went through his spiel but just got a blank look. A fellow party worker then translated it into Punjabi and still got a blank look. Someone else then said it all in Urdu but still no response. After a few seconds the woman look at the growing group of people on her doorstep and said: "Doesn't anyone speak English?" This time the blank look came from Ian McCartney...

Another little anecdote, this time from Ben Page of MORI. He was talking about the poverty gap and referred to the Haves, the Have Nots and the Have Yachts.

34 comments:

Harvard MBA said...

He gave a 15 minute powerpoint presentation (no notes)

For a Harvard MBA that's easy

Little Black Sambo said...

This is the socialist totalitarian who thinks the Identity "Service" will come to be admired as a great institution comparable with the Victorian railways. String him up!

no to ID said...

he was pleasant, amusing and seemed a totally normal guy.

He won't seem like that after you read this, Iain:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/20/
byrne_chatham_house_speech/

This guy is truly terrifying. Little Black Sambo is somewhat understating his point.

[link shown in two pieces to avoid truncation]

Colin D said...

What does this twerp know of immigration matters? If he were to visit the front-line down here and over the channel, he would not be so emtertained or have funny little anecdote's to tell of the illegals in and around Calais & sandgatte. Give us a life!!

The Amazing Toad said...

Iain,

Our present immigration "policy" is a disaster. The fact that one of the men responsible for it can impress you, can come over as "polished" tells me you're missing something.

Anonymous said...

It's possible to show too much civilised deference to how people present themselves superficially. In his perfectly pleasant, acceptable way, Byrne is a danger to what most people would still think of as a free society. Of course he wouldn't accept that, no, not for a moment. His speech on the extensive uses to which ID cards will be put would have struck him as no more than reasonable.

PSJ said...

Isn't being immigration minister in this government a little like being navigator on the Titanic?

Or health minister, education minister, housing minister, foreign secretary, home secretary ...?

antifrank said...

Anyone who thinks ID cards will be a British institution must be Becontree (two steps beyond Barking)

Barnacle Bill said...

Ian,
The tradegy of the little joke at the end of this piece about "have yachts" perpetuates the image that anyone with a boat must be filthy rich. The reality is somewhat different but don't let the truth get .

Nevertheless, having "sorted" fox hunting The Bliar / Brown Project is now looking at ways of increasing the number of regulations faced by leisure sailors in the typical MO adopted by Gnu Lab in so many things:-
1. Fabricate a problem for example concern about the risks of "drink sailing" and

2.introduce legislation to solve it.

But what penalty to impose on miscreants 'cos you don't need a licence to sail......Wot, no licence..we'd better introduce 'em so we can take 'em away when someone steps out of line.

Yet more interference from the nanny state where the costs of "control" will outweigh any possible benefit. Ignore the fact that although most deaths and injuries are caused by jet skis, jet skis will be, errrr exempt from the legislation. yet another example of joined up government.

Still look on the bright side, at least the layer ofbureaucracy needed to police the resultant legislation will provide employment for the legions of uotherwise unemployable graduates in underwater basket weaving or media studies from the University of Slough and similar institutions.

CityUnslicker said...

but Iain he is an ID-card fascist. His entire weltenshaung is to be a statist oppressor.

I urge you to reconsider. Intelligent he may be; competent he is not.

Sunny said...

He tells that anecdote at almost all immigration related speeches. Did the same a few weeks ago with Ruth Kelly. Yawn.

Savonarola said...

You seem easily impressed. Last week in praise of A Campbell and now fawning over another con artist Liam B who presides of a non policy. Powerpoint presentation. He should be working for Dale Carnegie.

Anonymous said...

Liam's a Harlow lad done good and the image of his father, Dermot, one of the grandees of Harlow Labour party. That's two Harlow lads in the government now. There must be something in the water...

And water, or rather flood water, is certainly not something that Harlow is short of since the massive over development of the town began. There's yet another article about these floods in this week's local newspaper.

Glyn Holford said...

To add to what Barnacle Bill said these mendacious sods want to stop the availability of red diesel for boats; if it has the suspicion of personal freedom, or what 'toffs' might do these authoritarian labourites will seek to interfere. Thre can be no compromise with such people. They wish to tear down the freedoms we have acquired over generations and resent any hand that feeds them in the private sector; and have no understanding of economics and what drives human beings. Communism/socialism is all the same: Great theory, hopeless in practice BUT STILL these sods keep trying to impose it!

Anonymous said...

When I see this kind of judgement from Iain it reminds me why perhaps the judgement of North Norfolk voters is a little wiser.

Byrne comes from the narcissist Blair clone school. They con themselves and the clever ones then con others, often due to the depths and power of this false self-belief. He also write rather poor letters.

Anonymous said...

On the subject of Harlow men, Iain, I wonder if you've thought about interviewing the amazing Robert Halfon, Harlow's prospective Conservative MP?

Rob cut Harlow MP, government minister, Bill Rammell's, majority down to a very precarious 97 votes at the last General Election.

That was a remarkable accomplishment in itself, but doubly so in view of the very severe problems Rob has had with his legs and walking throughout his life. I understand that at one time Rob's legs might have to have been amputated so that he could use artificial legs, but a recent operation seems to have thankfully resolved that.

Despite this and much pain, Halfon's always smiling and campaigns harder than any candidate. What a remarkably courageous man he is - a very likeable, honest and decent man too.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

"He gave a 15 minute powerpoint presentation (no notes)

For a Harvard MBA that's easy"

For anyone who knows their subject it's easy too.

Iain, what was the gist of the talk?

Johnny Norfolk said...

Iain

It is so dissapointing seeing your change as you are drawn ever closer into the political main stream. This very nice man is part of a government who are slowly bit by bit taking away freedoms we have enjoyed for generations.
It may not bother you as you can ride over the top of things in your developing position.

But we out here are not happy about things. So please think a bit harder about the real world that you are leaving behind.

Tony said...

I think it is the mark of a gentleman to be gracious about someone in the way you have Iain. However, I hope you will excuse me for judging your view of Mr Byrne as rather misplaced.

If Brown hands Byrne a promotion next week I will be mortified. Just consider the few things I have noted about Byrne in recent months. Anecdotes and slick presentation do not make up for political incompetence and intrusive ambitions.

Anonymous said...

Following on from your article complimenting Campbell last week, I see you've written a piece of puff singing the praises of another nasty NuLaborite. Any more of this and I will happily consign the bookmark of your website to the trash can (as I'm sure will others)

Ian, you are slowly but surely turning into Nick Robinson.

Please get back on track.

Anonymous said...

What everyone else has said about this nasty NuLabor weasel.

Added to which, I read that he is 38, but he looks about 70. That's downright creepy.

Anonymous said...

shame he doesnt have any immigration policy to speak of, that economic migrants are excluded from his brief and that he engages solely in empty rhetoric to obscure this governments duplicity is a disgrace.

Bainie said...

For a Harvard MBA that's easy"

For anyone who knows their subject it's easy too.


Yes Jeremy Jacobs but for Management Consultants the art is to give a great presentation without knowing the subject !

Anonymous said...

Liam Byrne is a totalitarian socialist. Remember Nazis were National "Socialists".

After watching Tony Blair for 10 years it should not be possible to be taken in by another glib well-trained actor. Confidence tricksters are noted for their charm, not their honesty and Byrne has no idea whatsoever about the extent of illegal immigration nor what to do about it.

Victor

Bretters said...

What!? Liam Byrne is responsible for the appalling treatment of Mr Tul Bahadur Pun VC, a gurkha hero who was refused permision to enter teh UK as "he had not displayed strong enough ties with the UK" and now another loyal Gurkha, Lance Corporal Rai, who was severely injured in the Falklands has been similarly rebuffed. He's a prat of the highest order.
www.vchero.co.uk

martin tupper said...

The plausible ones are always the most dangerous. He makes all the right reassauring noises about concerns over immigration, but we all know that nothing effective can or will be done by this administration.

Word verification: gnawgom

Anonymous said...

All what he does is trying to depict illegal immigrants as monsters and giving speaches on cracker he is on people who living in misery

I will be very happy if I see hi back and that son of the Bitch - John Reid.

Umbongo said...

Anonymous 1:17 am

"Added to which, I read that he is 38, but he looks about 70. That's downright creepy."

More creepy if he was 70 and looked 38.

sniper said...

Iain,

Isn't this the clot that had to be shown how to spell VC?

cruddy said...

Is he married?

Anonymous said...

Your praise of this buffoon is shameful. Maybe all the talk of you being an M P is bringing out your true colours.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed that people are impressed because someone doesn't use notes. Gladstone would speak for over 4 hours and not use one note. Most councillors also make speeches in the local council chamber without the benefit of an army of advisers or notes. Byrne probably said virtually nothing of importance in the 15 minute speech. The fact that you were impressed with him sums up what is wrong with modern politcs. He is management consultant prepared to spout bullshit for any party that is in power. He probably would be a Tory MP if Kinnock had won the 1992 elction and then lost in 97.

Anonymous said...

Yes Cruddy he is married and has kids. It is not just blind male Labourites who insist on inflicting their progeny on the planet, it seems.

Anonymous said...

Byrne would make a great leader of the Tories...