Dear Ken Follett

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Indy Lifestyle Online
The MP for Newham North West offers his support to Labour's fundraising supremo who has quit amid suggestions that he recruited too many luvvies to the Party

I was most frightfully distressed to hear you had resigned as chairman of the 1,000 Club. Trouble is, there's no gratitude in politics, and I would have hoped that someone who had managed to raise squillions for the Party would have been treated rather more generously. Personally, I blame Tony Blair's press chappie Alastair Campbell. My dear, the man's an absolute brute. I'm told he eats black pudding with a shovel, supports Burnley and loathes anyone who likes the odd pink gin and a cocktail Sobranie. Being at the receiving end of Campbell's clogs isn't something I'd wish even on a theatre critic.

Another part of the problem comes from young Tony's determination to break links with the past. He started off with Clause IV and now he's distancing himself from our thespian comrades. God and Peter Mandelson alone know where it all will end - providing Peter takes God into his confidence, that is.

There's a definite puritanical streak emerging in today's new, improved Labour Party. All these dreadful Tory oiks are having a great time bonking their eyeballs out while we're being frogmarched to Bible classes. How I miss those days at your place when Neil would have a few and start singing a Chas 'n' Dave number backed up by half the cast of EastEnders. Even dear John Smith and old Footie knew how to relax and enjoy themselves. Of course, we never actually won an election but at least we went down singing.

What the humourless workaholics in the leader's office fail to realise is that politics should be enjoyable and that it's actually possible to have a bit of fun, even when drawing up five-year production plans for ball-bearings. Difficult maybe, but still possible - particularly if you can't count like Kenneth Clarke. The other thing they can't see is that the punters like a bit of glitz and glam with their politics. Admittedly, they wouldn't much like Julian Clary as Prime Minister and Tony Blair is a bit Hugh Grantish, but have you seen some of the others? We need people who can add a touch of lan, a bit of showbiz to the dirtybiz of politics and you are superb at doing just that. But again the androids seem to have carried the day.

In the end, they really believe that those involved in the arts are just a bunch of effete dilettantes who have no connection with serious politics and who simply divert public attention from the job in hand. You and I know just how wrong they are. Those who are sneeringly referred to as "Labour luvvies" are highly creative individuals who support the Party, not just to help out MPs with photocalls but because they want to see real change in our society. It's my experience that the so-called luvvies hold their political views rather more passionately than some of those who are currently passing through the Labour Party on their way to a cushy job in the City.

I know the Party won't lose you, Ken. I only hope it's got the good sense to carry on using you.

P.S. As you won't be entertaining so much in the future, any chance of me parking the wheels at your place on Chelsea's match days?

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