So who’d you have as aides if you were US President?

I was having a conversation with my old political buddy Andrew Blackburn the other day and we talked of who we would have in our team if we were the US President. It was re-watching the 1st season of The West Wing which inspired this conversation. It must be one of the best series that I’ve seen on the TV. So anyway here goes with my personal list of West Wing characters and some personal additional aides.

Those in brackets are the actors playing the parts in Season 1:-

The President (Martin Sheen) – Me of course! – Delusions of grandeur of it seems:-)

Vice President (Tim Matheson) – Phil Holden – needed to pull in the right of centre vote. All but a Republican he’s never the less far from being a right-wing nut-job. Has a fine analytical mind with which I often don’t agree but is useful in balancing my Social Liberal ‘leftie’ outlook.

Chief of Staff – Leo McGarry (John Spencer) – Andrew Blackburn – Always sees the wider picture, is very loyal and will tell me what I don’t want to hear.

Deputy Chief of Staff – Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) – David Rimmer – the most polite and successful political hit-man I ever knew – ‘Leave it to me boss, you won’t hear of it again’ and I didn’t.

Communications Director – Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff) – David Tattersall – Turns government-speak into straightforward language voters can easily grasp.

Deputy Communications Director – Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) – Steph Prewett – The best at seeing required end results and making sure they’re achieved. As with David Rimmer, the buried bodies are never seen again.

Press Secretary – (CJ Cregg (Allison Jamney) – Layla Moran – Progressive, Liberal, naturally outgoing and likeable, has the common touch which few in politics have. She’s a natural to talk for my White House on any matter of public importance. Good to have someone of Palestinian descent in high office too.

Personal Aide to the President – Charlie Young (Dule Hill) – A young Charles Walker – Cheeky, full of fun, loyal and generous. A lifetime of wide experiences to fall back on make him an essential team member.

Secretary – Mrs Landingham (Kathryn Joosten) – Christine Polanski – 100% reliable gets rid of time wasters, knows when I need support and can make me laugh when stress levels are high.

Special advisors not a part of the West Wing –

Special Advisors Defence & Foreign Policy – Paddy Ashdown, Tom Tugendhat, Ming Campbell, Robin Cook

Special Advisor – Social Policies, housing & planning – Roy Connell

Special Advisor – Education and crime – Geoff Howe

Special Advisor – Environment and climate change – Caroline Lucas

Special Advisor – The arts, culture, broadcasting and media – Andrew Beattie

Special Advisor – Liberty, freedom, charities, poverty – Iain Brodie Browne

Special Advisors – without portfolios – Peter Gibson, Barry Smith, Dave Martin, Lord Peter Smith, Ken Clarke,

Special advisor – Transportation – Amtrak Joe

A challenge – click on the link below and find out about Liberal values.

It’s not what the Tory press tell you our values are but what they really are. This is a uplifting video in the last days of what has been an utterly uninspiring general election campaign all round.

The North – England’s dilemma – Read IBB’s excellent posting

Take a look at the posting via the link above. Iain, lays out the issues very well indeed. It makes you wonder why we in the north of England have accepted being governed so poorly and so remotely (from London) for so long. He makes the Liberal cause of devolution, campaigned for over many generations, seem even more important today than ever before.

IRAQ – 10 years ago a million people marched through London

Just how many people died in Labour’s illegal war we will probably never know.

Having said I rarely, if ever, read national newspapers in a posting not long ago I broke my duck today as I had some time to kill whilst waiting for Jen in Ormskirk.

I bought the Independent on Sunday and there on the Comment page was Ming Campbell reminding us all that just 10 years ago many of us rose up against Blair and New Labour’s rush to war in Iraq. Ming was effectively the leading politician of the day opposing the war from the Lib Dem benches and he even eclipsed our Leader at the time, Charles Kennedy who was too cautious in my view in his opposition to the war. This is part of what Ming says 10 years on:-

“Ten years ago this weekend, a million people marched through the streets of London in opposition to the Blair government’s seemingly unstoppable journey to war in Iraq. It is difficult now to imagine such emotional outpouring as there was in London that day. But such was the opposition to the Prime Minister and his clear determination to join with President Bush in military action against Saddam that people of all political parties and none, and from every economic and social background, came together in support of the maxim “not in my name”

Ming went on to say why Blair was so wrong and how the consequences of that illegal war have had such bad effects for the UK and elsewhere. And it solved little or nothing in Iraq.

Thanks Ming, for this timely reminder of those campaigning days just 10 short years ago. We may have lost the fight to stop the war but we are proud of your principled stand when other politicians simply stood behind Blair and nodded through the road to war and the subsequent deaths of many.

Shaking the hand of the man who gave Blair a lot of grief over the Iraq war

Shaking the hand of the man who gave Blair a lot of grief over the Iraq war

But this brought back another thought because Ming was of course subsequently hunted down and forced out of the Leadership of the Lib Dems by a press who labelled him to old to be a party leader. But how many in the right wing press were out for this skin because he led the fight against the Iraq war in Parliament? There can be little doubt that Ming was a thorn in the establishment’s side and that he had to pay for opposing the war.