New York Brits join Pravda party

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The Independent Online
If you couldn't be on the South Bank yesterday for the Tony Blair victory rally, Pravda, South of Houston - better known as SoHo - was a reasonable alternative. There was no rocking with Neil Kinnock, but we did have Bianca.

There was a wide choice of election-count parties in New York on Thursday. Barclays had billionaire financier George Soros and fine wines atop the World Trade Center while the British consulate lured hundreds with a real swingometer and members of the Royal Marines Band sporting pith helmets and bugles.

With apologies to them, however, the hot ticket assuredly was Pravda. How could you resist an evening laid on by the Labour Party (US Branch) in one of lower Manhattan's hippest joints? And called Pravda too.

This was no rebellion by New York Labourites wishing to reassert their cloth-cap heritage. True, the Pravda kitchen made an attempt at proletarian fare by offering cheese and ham toasted sandwiches. And if you really asked around, a smattering of long-standing Labour Party members could be found.

Instead, it was New Labour-New York on parade. For several months, some of Manhattan's most famous refugees from Tory Britain - like former Times editor Harold Evans - had been leading a much-publicised effort to raise dollars for Blair. This was their night to bask in the victory happening thousands of miles away.

Champagne socialists? Bollinger Bolsheviks? A sponsor for the night was Heidecker. Heidecker Hampsteaders? Call them what you like, they won't care. Nor would Robbie Coltrane, who was also there. Nor Lauren Hutton, who explained her presence thus: "Two of my former boyfriends were British."

Later, Ms Jagger and I find ourselves together in a television studio uptown as guests on an election night special. The news lands that Michael Portillo is out, and she smiles.

To millions she confesses: she adores Tony Blair and now, with him in power, she intends moving. Bianca is coming to London.

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