The Provisional Shadow Chancellor may be in trouble with party hacks and the Tory press for saying that David Cameron was talking rubbish about the economy, but it seems that business people quite like him.
In a poll of business leaders, 38% said they would like him to serve on their board of directors, compared with 18% for David Cameron, 15% for Peter Mandelson, 8% for Gordon Brown and only 2% for Alistair Darling and George Osborn.
Of course, the key criterion for wanting someone on your management team is whether or not you could stand an evening out on the booze with them. On this, Ken would obviously win hands down.
Peter Mandelson would only want to drink in trendy Soho wine bars or on other people’s yachts. Gordon Brown would allow you a very small dram of whisky before insisting that everyone went back to work. David Cameron would try to make out that he was seasoned drinking bloke, only to be revealed as a fraud when his knowledge of pubs was found to stretch no further than a small area of Notting Hill. George Osborne would try the same trick but wouldn’t be as convincing. As for Alistair Darling, who knows?
Oddly enough, Vince Cable didn’t appear on the list but you wouldn’t want to go out on the pop with anyone who was so annoyingly right about everything all the time.
With Kenneth Clarke, though, you know you’d get a few beers in any number of decent London pubs followed by a lock-in at some seedy Jazz club.
Of all the candidates, Ken is clearly the one with the qualities needed to be a company director. His position at the top of the poll is well deserved.