Daily catch-up: write what you know – get in touch with your inner ring road

The attempt to write about anything other than Labour’s new leader takes a desperate turn

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The Independent Online

Even I, political obsessive since the age of 21, am bored with reading about Labour’s new leader (which is how he should be described, rather than the new Labour leader), so here, via Moose Allain, is an addition to my Top 10 Street Names.

Ting Tong is on Woodbury Common, near Exmouth, Devon.

Allain also passes on this from H Anthony Hildebrand, who took the best writing advice he was ever given: write what you know:

“What you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know what you know ...”

As Allain says, “ays: Truly this is the end of days.”

• This is also important: Buzzfeed makes fun of Waitrose’s Essentials range.

• Now that you have been lulled into a politics-free zone, I reviewed yesterday’s new-style Prime Minister’s Questions: we were promised strong opposition, but this wasn’t it.

Matthew d’Ancona quotes a Conservative cabinet minister: “Now we have to destroy the Labour brand.”

We Labour centrists made such a poor job of arguing for our policies in the leadership election that it is not good enough simply to mock. But David Aaronovitch does a good job of it in The Times today (pay wall):

“Mr Corbyn, you’re no Vladimir Lenin. The Labour leader is neither intelligent enough nor strategic enough to realise that because of all the radical things he wants to do, he needs to play the game at events such as this. Bluntly, he lacks the youth and charisma of an Alexis Tsipras to carry off being a popular leftie. He is not even Michael Foot redux. Mr Corbyn is a mediocre, barely competent radical. His light has not been hidden under a bushel these four decades. There is no light.”

But what to do about him?

“I can blame Ed Miliband. It’s fun, apart from anything else. He talked up the left while retaining an indecisive centrism. He flattered the social-media left and made them think that austerity could be defeated by a thousand Facebook ‘likes’. He suggested to activists that something very like socialism was the only way to avoid the death of the NHS and the impoverishment of millions of mostly disabled people. Then he lost, and along came his would-be successors assuring them that everything the party had been saying for half a decade was plain wrong.”

As Aaronovitch says, it is easier to criticise than to propose. He sets out some of what a centre-left programme should be, but doesn’t deal with the important question of who should propose it.

During the long, boring bits of Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, I thought that I must find out more about Dan Jarvis, Emma Reynolds and Keir Starmer.

• There might have been a bit of politics in the Catch-Up Service, but I think I got away with it. No one will notice if I end with something else from the Magnificent Moose:

“I’d call myself claustrophobic but I can't stand being pigeon-holed.”

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