An Interview with Sir Gerald Kaufman MP (Part One)
It was the BBC interviewer Robin Day who once famously infuriated Tory Defence Minister John Nott by referring to him as a ‘Here today, gone tomorrow politician’.
The epithet stung perhaps because Day was reflecting a truism that seems even more relevant today than in 1982.
In truth, many politicians do have a short career in Parliament and are soon forgotten.
This is why those politicians with true staying power are so interesting to examine.
Sir Gerald Kaufman is one of the latter category.
Sir Gerald recently celebrated his 80th birthday in his Manchester Gorton constituency, flanked by crowds of loyal party activists and supporters who turned out for the occasion.
Though regularly offered a chair to sit down by well-wishers, the incredibly sprightly octogenarian politely declined — remaining on his feet throughout.
The occasion also marked 40 years since Gerald had first won a seat as an MP. Only the Conservative Sir Peter Tapsell has served for a longer continuous period.
As an MP, Gerald served as a Junior Minister in Harold Wilson’s 1974 government and, was shadow Home Secretary, among other roles, during Labour’s opposition in the 1980‘s.
He also famously wrote for the ground breaking 1960’s satirical show “That was the week that was”, has written several books, and, as a Jew himself, is one of the leading critics of Israeli policies and the treatment of Arabs in Gaza.
In this first of a two part interview Sir Gerald talks about growing up in a working class family, his early career choices and close to Prime Minister Harold Wilson in the late 60’s and early 1970’s.