Friday, February 19, 2010

Final Four in Gateshead

Not so long ago, Eddie Izzard played the villain in a new adaptation of the Day of the Triffids. It was a compelling performance, with Izzard starring as Torrence, a charming sociopath who stopped at nothing to become the UK's leader.

I think we were meant to shiver, repulsed by the ruthless character. Actually, my response was - brilliant! Eddie Izzard as our unhinged PM. What's there not to like?

I drag this memory back simply because I heard Labour's shortlist today for the Gateshead seat - in the final four is leading Labour blogger and good friend Hopi Sen.

Hopi, as I think I've remarked before, is one of the good guys in politics. He served his apprenticeship up here as a staff member with Labour North, and was universally popular. His blog, a mixture of self-deprecating humour and fizzy political wonkishness, is required reading for anyone serious about UK politics. In one of his more brilliant posts, he has already anticipated how he would govern as a absolute (though dissolute and idle) ruler. Just wish I could find the link...

Hopi would certainly liven up North East politics. Alas, all is not straightforward, and his competition includes local councillor Ian Mearns and Nick Forbes, the leader of the Labour opposition on Newcastle City Council.

Nick in particular would be a fearsomely good MP - able, articulate with a strong background in policy. As a successful local councillor leading the fightback against the city's woeful LibDem administration, he can point to a strong record in representational politics. He's also one of the few Labour politicians in the North East to take the internet seriously.

I suspect more than a few hands in Gateshead Labour Party will hover over the ballot paper with candidates as strong as Nick and Hopi in the final 4.


Anonymous said...

From the Press Association:

Gordon Brown has declared that he had "never hit anybody in my life" as he prepared to face more potentially damaging accounts of life under him in Number 10.

The Prime Minister insisted that when he got angry it was mostly with himself and that, while he might throw papers to the floor, he was never violent with staff. But he did admit that sometimes things get said "in the heat of the moment".

Mr Brown has been hit by a series of claims in books by former Labour insiders that he operates a "reign of terror" in Downing Street.

This weekend the Observer is to serialise extracts from a new volume by its chief political commentator Andrew Rawnsley which are expected to provide further evidence.

It has been reported that among alleged incidents investigated by the respected journalist were that Mr Brown hit a senior adviser, pulled a female assistant from her chair and used a highly-derogatory four-letter word in a rant at aides during a trip to the United States.

Asked by Channel 4 News if he had ever hit anyone, he said: "Let me just say, absolutely clearly, so that there is no misunderstanding about that: I have never, never hit anybody in my life."

Pressed on whether he might have shoved someone, Mr Brown - who has used recent media appearances to try to portray a softer image, said: "No, I don't do these sorts of things.

"Look, I was brought up - my father, I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone and I always think when you're - the heat of the moment you say things sometimes.

"Of course you do get angry, mostly with yourself. But I'm very strong willed, I'm very determined. I think the country wants someone that will push things forward, and not allow things to be stagnant and stale, and every morning I get up with a determination to do my best for this country. Any allegations that have been made about hitting people or anything are completely untrue."

In the past there have been reports of the PM throwing objects, including a mobile phone. "I throw the newspapers on the floor or something like that, but please..." he said.

© The Press Association

Darlington Councillor said...

So a complete denial by the PM's office - but no surprise that the Labour-hating section of the press - aided and abetted by Andrew Rawnsley who wants to flog a book - are running a series of rumours and innuendo this morning, to try and upset a key campaign launch by the Party.

No wonder, when the Telegraph reports that the Tory lead over Labour is now down to just 6 points, and Cameron's personal lead over Brown has halved.

Anonymous said...

Conservatives to win Darlington 14/1. From 8/1.
They picked the wrong candidate and they will regret it.

Aeres said...

Could I ask who is laying 14's please Anonymous? Ladbrokes still 4/1 and Bet365 even shorter at 7/2.

Wouldn't dream of touching them prices, but 14's seems a bit big and might just be worthy of some small speculation.

Betfair only offering prices on marginals at this stage - and Darlington isn't considered to be one of them.

Anonymous said...

Reports coming in that staff at no. 10 have contacted the anti bulleying helpline. Wow this is big news.

Mike Barker said...

Got that one wrong, Nick! Ian Mearns it is.

Darlington Councillor said...

Yup - such is my subtle grasp of Labour politics across the North East.

Ian got it on the 1st preference I understand, which is no mean achievement given the strong opposition he faced.

Hopi and Nick F are both class acts, though - I expect at least one of them to find a winnable seat before the General Election.