Saturday 17 November 2018

My Old Comrade

Quoting me, a friendly Twitter account posts:

"I would appoint a Policy Advisor from within each of the Independent, Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrat blocs, and I hereby offer first refusal on that Labour position to my old comrade @TheNeilFleming." He has not turned it down that I can see.

Indeed, he has not.

It cannot be much less than 20 years since my then trade union told me that I was exactly who and what they wanted on their parliamentary panel, "but you're not a woman."

It cannot be much less than that since Mark Seddon, who was then on the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party, told me that there was bound to be an all-women shortlist at North West Durham, even though it had voluntarily elected a woman since 1987, long before most places would have considered doing so.

After a generation of this, there are no more women in party political activism than there were at the start, but they are effectively guaranteed promotion and preferment, or else a woman will be brought in from outside politics altogether over the heads of dozens of politically active men.

These things happen in all parties, but there are particularly striking in a Labour Party that, under and because of Jeremy Corbyn, is now more male, always highly politicised and largely very young male, than in many, many, many years. A reckoning is coming, and probably quite soon.

At least in my case the Labour Party could always have said that I was, in those days, politically impossible. But in Neil's case, it was purely chromosomal. 

He must look in stunned disbelief at who is now the MP for North West Durham when he is not, and at who is now the Labour MP here after everything that he has done for the Labour Party. 

Well, he can spend the next 25 years telling bored Year Nines all about it. Or he can take up my offer and get his parliamentary staff pass back.

No one is suggesting that he, or the Conservative, or the Liberal Democrat, leave his or her party, or cease to be active in it in any way. Quite the reverse, in fact.

Neil, you know where I am.

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