Culture / Politics

Mrs Merton versus Ken Livingstone 

The identity crisis currently afflicting the Labour Party, and particularly the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, is nothing new. And Caroline Aherne, who died on Saturday at such an absurdly young age, nailed it perhaps better than anyone.

In 1995, in her guise as Mrs Merton, Aherne interviewed Ken Livingstone, who was then languishing on the opposition back-benches in Parliament, long before his return to a starring role in London politics. She took the opportunity to deliver what was – despite her acclaimed interviews with Bernard Manning, Debbie McGee and Chris Eubank – surely her best-ever line:

‘So, Ken, which would you prefer to be: leader of the Labour Party or prime minister?’

And that two-letter word ‘or’ is not only comic perfection, but also savagely accurate political analysis.

artwork-mrs-merton-wide

Caroline Aherne as Mrs Merton. (Artwork by Alwyn Turner)

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