Saturday, 9 February 2013

Your Choice In All Of This Is

Do you want hits?
Or do you want misses?

I am typing this while listening to the incorporable Pulp's incomparable Cocaine Socialism, the most searing critique of New Labour ever published in any medium.

It contains the answer to my old friend Jonathan Ashworth, who is now a Labour Whip. He says that, although he knew that I was a party member in those days (in stark contrast to someone else whom I could name), he nevertheless always thought that I was right-wing at university because I hung around, and indeed at one time chaired and then lived in, a certain House of the Rising Sun. It's been the ruin of many a poor boy, and God, I know I'm one.

But, as Saint  Jarvis, or at the very least Sir Jarvis, puts it:

You must be a Socialist,
'Cos you're always off out on the piss
In your private members' bar.
Oh yes, you are,
You superstar.

The sound of 1998, indeed.

15 years on, where stands the Labour Party? When it comes to seeking selection as a parliamentary candidate, its National Executive Committee's mighty Organisation Sub-Committee has just decided that membership lists should be available to candidates from the start, rather than, as hitherto, only after shortlisting. The number of permitted leaflets has also been increased from two to three.

You can bet your life that each of your opponents will be sending out three leaflets to every member, the first at the very start of the nomination process, so you had better do the same. Meaning that you had better have the money to do it. Never mind the increasingly prevalent practice of visiting them all at home. That's right. Each and every one of them. At home.

Whom does this favour? Party, think tank and MPs' staffers? Full-time trade union officials? Senior councillors? How do they necessarily have that much time on their hands? Quite the reverse in the last case, at least. Nor do they have that much financial support necessarily, or even ordinarily, or even very often at all.

No, as has been pointed out to me by several of my contemporaries who remain in the Labour Party and who I think would make fine MPs, several of whom are in principle open to the idea, securing a Labour nomination, at least for a safe or winnable seat, is increasing a game able to be played only by the persons, the offspring and the courtiers of the massively, independently wealthy.

Let's just mention Euan Blair, and the point is made. As it is by reference to Lord Sainsbury and his bankrolling of Progress, that party within the Labour Party which tweets that, "Calls for more working-class MPs are just calls for more left-wing trade unionists in Parliament." The horror!

Oh, you owe it to yourself,
Don't think of anybody else.
And we promise we won't tell.
No, we won't tell.
We won't tell.


  1. "Every time I see your picture Myra,
    I have to phone my latest girlfriend and fire her,
    and find a prostitute that looks like you and hire her,
    oh me, oh Myra."

    Blouse "Oh me, oh Myra."
    As seen on Brass Eye.

  2. Always an oddly overrated programme.

  3. I loved it David. I'm surprised you didn't. The paedogeddon episode is a bit of a classic.

    Anyway, back on topic please.

  4. Look at Chris Morris now.

    But yes, back on topic, please.

  5. You shared the House of the Rising Sun with someone who is now something very big in the Labour Party backroom operation.

  6. Indeed I did. But he wasn't a party member in those days. It's possible that he and Jon Ashworth have still never met.

    Still, a seat next time, I expect. And good luck to him. He's sound, is Tom. He was once congratulated on having given "the speech of the night". By George Galloway.

  7. It was Jon we all thought was right-wing, you included. Tom Hamilton was too left for Labour. But Tom signed the Euston Manifesto at the height of Blairism so he would get on and is still not an MP. Jon, younger, is now not only an MP but a whip and uses that position to berate government departments for not subscribing to the Morning Star. I know they are both your mates but it would still take a heart of stone not to laugh.