Tuesday, 9 November 2021
Just as there are still French monarchists if you know where to look for them, so there is still a Labour Group on Durham County Council. Its Leader is a reassuring example of a disappearing breed, the Labour Councillor or MP as an almost entirely social figure, with few or no political opinions beyond a belief in the machine and in his or her own family's place within it.
The Deputy Leader is from the Left, and represents a closure of an old wound, being the last sitting Councillor from among the five who were suspended from the Labour Party in the coup of 2008. But the Chair is from the Hard Right of the Hard Right, with a day job campaigning to re-join the EU, with her pronouns specified in her Twitter biography, and with a place on Keir Starmer's Future Candidate Programme.
It is this last person, who is barely 30 if she is that, who is being touted as a potential Labour candidate here at North West Durham, although her home and ward are in the City of Durham constituency, where she unsuccessfully sought the nomination last time. She now claims that Labour lost that seat because of Jeremy Corbyn. In reality, a Corbyn supporter held the seat for Labour.
All of this has proved at once horrifying and hilarious to an old friend who still moves in such circles. After five or six pints and two double whiskies, he assured me that Labour was resigned to Richard Holden's holding onto this seat, but terrified of the humiliation of coming third behind me.
"I mean, who could beat you next time? It would have to be a man from in the constituency, at least as old as you, at least as hard as you, and with any desire to be a Labour MP." "Under Starmer." "Aye, under Starmer. I mean, who the fuck could that be?" Who indeed, Comrade? Who, indeed?