Sunday 19 December 2010

What were the main political myths of 2010?

The various reviews of the political year over the next couple of weeks would do well to identify and scrutinise conventional wisdom that has been called into questions by events, but would need to avoid perpetuating some of the myths of the political year if they wanted to attempt that.

The Observer Review is right to identify Gillian Duffy as one of the people who made the headlines in 2010.

But, six months on, it is surprising to see any newspaper still citing her encounter with Gordon Brown as ("possibly") responsible for "swinging the election".

Though Mrs Duffy herself does tell the newspaper that she thinks the incident did prevent Labour returning to power:

And what about the election result – do you think you played a part in the outcome?

"Oh yes, I think so. I'm not saying they'd have won with a big majority, but I think they'd have scraped in."

But how does that feel as a lifelong Labour supporter, that you helped the Conservatives and Lib Dems into power?

It is now well known that there is simply no credible argument that the Duffy episode was a decisive one, despite being instantly declared to be the decisive moment. With Labour even gaining Rochdale, it is very difficult to see how it made any difference at all.

But perhaps there were more important political myths of 2010 than the Gillian Duffy effect. Do let us know what you think.

PS: I liked David Miliband's comment in his own Observer Review interview that: "Negotiating with my children makes negotiating with the Iranians seem like a doddle. At least the Iranians negotiate".

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