Village people: 24/10/2009


Question mark lifted


*Tory spin-doctors looked relieved and pleased with themselves in Westminster yesterday after Sayeeda Warsi, their representative on the most-watched Question Time panel on record, put in a feisty performance that drew good reviews.

They had feared she might bomb under pressure. The original decision was to put up William Hague, but when the BBC announced the date, they realised Hague would be in Washington, and it would have to be Baroness Warsi, left. A lucky accident.

Defence of realm

*John Hutton, the retiring former defence secretary, has done a good job of looking after a loyal aide. His former adviser John Woodcock is expected to be selected today to take over from Hutton as Labour candidate in Barrow-in-Furness, in Cumbria, despite some furious local opposition. But even if he wins, and weathers the formal complaint that is likely to follow from local party members complaining of a fix, he will not necessarily be Barrow's next MP. Barrow's economy relies heavily on shipyards where they make the submarines that carry Trident missiles. The case for abandoning Trident is powerful, but even talking about it is not a vote-winner in Barrow. Neither is the spectacle of local Labour Party members kicking seven bells out of each other.

Campbell canned

*Further south, Burnley Labour Party has been told, unexpectedly, that they do not have to choose their next candidate from an all-women shortlist. Last time the seat was up for grabs, five years ago, there was a flutter of speculation that Alastair Campbell might translate his well-publicised love of the town's football team into a prop for a political career. That notion was killed off by the imposition of an all-women shortlist which led to the selection of Kitty Ussher, who has decided after only four years that she has had enough. In theory, that opens the way for Campbell. It took about two seconds for him to reply to a text message asking if he was interested, with the single word "No!" Burnley's loss, Hampstead's gain.

Last post

*What does Alan Johnson, the nation's most eminent ex-postie, think about the strikes? Publicly, he is not saying. Privately, he has been heard to mutter about "the Andy Gilchrist school of negotiating". In 2002, Gilchrist was leader of the Fire Brigades Union, a popular group of state employees who went on strike with public backing and lost. Not a resounding vote of confidence from a former general secretary of the CWU.

We really had it tough

*Wimps who are giving up on Labour because they are losing should have been at a wedding party last weekend, featuring grizzled veterans who were around when times were really tough. The groom was Bernard Donoughue, 75, a Downing Street adviser in 1974-79. The bride was Lady Sarah Berry, widow of Sir Anthony Berry, the Tory MP killed in the 1984 Grand Hotel bomb in Brighton.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones