Labour on roll as campaign comes up roses
Patricia Wynn Davies reports on the launch of `the biggest political education initiative ever undertaken'
Wednesday 22 March 1995
There were jokes from the actor Richard Wilson, music from a specially commissioned campaign rock band, the Rolling Roses, a boat laid on to transport journalists and Shadow Cabinet members downriver - and a serious message too.
Tony Blair, the Labour leader, said the eight-month initiative, inspired by Mr Prescott, was the biggest political education campaign undertaken by a modern party, as well as a huge membership drive.
"The campaign is an immensely important innovation for Labour," Mr Blair said from a makeshift podium at Hays Galleria, a former wharf near Tower Bridge. "It will strengthen that bond of trust [with the British people]. We are reaching out to the people through it. We are taking our message to them. And we are listening too to what they say, so as to better inform what we say on their behalf in Parliament."
Joviality seemed more in the ascendant during the Daily Mirror-sponsored production yesterday. "Under Old Labour it would have been raining," declared Frank Dobson, the party's environment spokesman, from the leisure-craft Suerita as the morning sunshine bounced off the Thames. There were jokes about going with the tide - and all out to sea.
The red-rosed Shadow Cabinet members who lined up on a platform above the Rolling Rose trailer looked like so many dancing girls. But Labour appears to have paid attention to the details. The Rolling Roses line- up includes two female vocalists as well as a more middle-aged looking male.
The assembled public appeared to lap it all up, despite the odd twinge of detectable embarrassment among some of the party high command.
Party membership has risen to 322,000 and Labour made the most of that by inviting four recent converts to pose for the cameras. Why join the Labour party? Aaron Clarke-Wills, a 29-year-old trainee barrister, was asked. "Is there a sensible alternative?" he replied.
The 150 events in the tour will include shows combining political debate with comedy, satire and music and a day at Brighton races on the eve of this autumn's party conference.
Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
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