Village people: 24/10/2009
Saturday 24 October 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.
*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.
*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.
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Orphan kangaroos spend Christmas without their parents
Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
New route to Mars could make manned mission much cheaper and easier
Isis 'did not shoot down Jordan war plane' before capturing pilot, says US
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
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