My son, not yet a month old, has become a fan of the West Wing. This pleases me greatly, since it’s without doubt one of the finest TV shows ever created.
The boy and I are currently half way through season three. While it’s all new to him, this is probably my third trip through the box set. During a recent 3am screening, we witnessed an exasperated White House communications director, Toby Ziegler, urging the President not to hide his intellect – to make a virtue of the fact that his Republican opponent is far from being the sharpest knife in the block. “Make this election about smart, and not,” Toby says. “Make it about engaged, and not. Qualified, and not.”
Corbyn just isn’t seen as being up to the job. When people consider potential leaders, they’re not merely guided by media coverage or swayed by prevailing sentiment, they reflect on the qualities of the candidate – including intelligence, ability and leadership potential.
When it comes to today’s Labour party it isn’t just Corbyn who suffers from a lack of such qualities. His shadow cabinet is the least impressive in living memory. With such a shallow pool of hard-left loyalists from which to draw, it is no surprise the lineup of shadow ministers looks like a student organising committee at a low-grade polytechnic.
Time and again his shadow ministers flounder on matters of basic policy and on questions as simple as “where’s the money coming from?” In answer to this, one of his shadow Treasury ministers actually said “you have to speculate to accumulate”. It isn’t good enough, and the voters can sense it.
Theresa May is right to make the election a choice between qualified, and not. Between competent, and not. Corbyn and his team of dim-witted loyalists do not deserve to be taken seriously – and they won’t be on 8 June.
Uber needs to sort out its attitude problem
Ride-hailing app Uber enjoys huge popularity among its users but the company so often finds itself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
A few years ago I interviewed its founder and chief exec, Travis Kalanick, and I asked him if he had any regrets about the “get out of my way” brand of business that he had become associated with. He had just hired a former Obama comms aide to help with his image, so it was no surprise that he gave me a politician’s answer about learning from his mistakes and trying hard to do the right thing.
Today it seems as if that was nothing but an empty platitude. From getting up to no good in the Google app store to fighting allegations of corporate sexism, the brand is struggling even as it pushes ahead with ground-breaking innovation in areas such as flying cars. Top staff are bailing out and the firm finds itself in court in multiple jurisdictions. Uber’s offer remains a good idea but it needs to sort out its attitude problem.
City A.M.'s property prowess
Hats off to the City A.M. team for hoovering up nominations for this year’s Property Press Awards. Melissa York is nominated for two awards, including Lifestyle and Interiors Property Journalist; Helen Cahill is up for Newcomer of the Year; our digital supremo Emma Haslett features in the Social Media Influencer shortlist and our magazine, Living, is up for Supplement of the Year – alongside Bricks and Mortar (The Times) and the Metro property section.
I’m extremely proud that their efforts and skills are being recognised on a national level, and fingers crossed the upcoming awards ceremony will deliver us some trophies. Good luck, team.
US embassy gains a top Canadian asset
Relations between the US and Canada aren’t at their rosiest right now, with Trump firing the opening shots of a possible trade war by whacking huge tariffs on Canadian lumber imports. The US President is also making bellicose noises about renegotiating trade arrangements. However, the US embassy in London is doing its bit to keep things friendly by hiring a Canadian as their new economic adviser. Michael Martins, formerly of the IoD, will be a great asset. Just don’t tell President Trump.