Saturday, 8 July 2017

The Past We Inherit, The Future We Build

The biggest Durham Miners' Gala since the 1950s, and the best that I can ever remember.

Presumably unaware that I was standing right behind him, Richard Burgon greeted the linen-jacketed Grahame Morris with, "You look as if you've come as David Lindsay." 

Still, he had just introduced me to his girlfriend as "a noted wit", so that's all right. That, and the fact that he had agreed to write for my new magazine.

Anyway, this is an anecdote to rank with the time that George Galloway declared live on the radio that he would take a seat in the House of Lords if I did. I fully intend to hold him to that.

Speaking of such circles, I asked Andrew Murray, as he came down from the platform, whether he had ever thought that he would be on it. He had not.

Glorious sunshine, and glorious speeches by Steve Gillan, by an unscheduled and incredibly moving Matt Wrack (on the firefighters at Grenfell Tower, "This is what trade unionists look like"), by Angela Rayner (who was so well-received that the crowd sang "Oh, Angela Rayner" to the tune of "Oh, Jeremy Corbyn"), by Ken Loach, by Clare Williams, by Len McCluskey, and of course by Jeremy Corbyn.

There were repeated ovations for the very presence of Dennis Skinner, and one for the new role of Ian Lavery. Ronnie Campbell is also looking much better. "I'm putting on weight," he half-bemoaned to me. Long may he continue to do so.

If you hear of a funny lady who rushed the platform during Corbyn's speech, then know that she stood on my foot as she did so. I should have put my walking stick to good use if I had known. She was inebriated, and Skinner gave her a piece of his mind.

It was good to hear Simon Henig booed as he made his way onto the platform. I doubt that any member of the platform party has been booed since Neil Kinnock.

Laura Pidcock made it to the platform, having been on the balcony. But, while I am open to correction, I did not see her march with the Teaching Assistants.

Hey, I wish her well, but I am not even allowed in the Labour Party, and in any case journalism is not cheerleading, nor is cheerleading journalism.

Today, however, we all had plenty to cheer about.


  1. Laura marched with a banner from outside the constituency. Why?

    Your linen suit, blue and white stripey shirt, red tie, matching silk handkerchief and perfect brown leather shoes, plus the stick, made you stand out for miles in a very good way. No wonder you were so near the platform, everyone probably thought you were someone immensely important they were too insignificant to have heard of.

    1. You are very kind, and perfect strangers were having their photographs taken with me. But my 15-year-old neighbour was also right up near the front.

  2. For an avowed socialist, your snobbery and pretentiousness is grotesque.

    1. "Your snobbery and pretentiousness are grotesque."

  3. Dashing, Like a young Carey Grant you were.