Into the groove with new Labour

You never know who you might run into in a trade union canteen these days. John Prescott trying to impress Madonna (below) on the virtues of being middle class, perhaps.

The new Blairite political education trust, Progress, looks like having a bizarre weekend school next month. Set up last November, the trust plans to spread the word of new Labour to party activists, or build "their knowledge and confidence, enabling them to develop themselves and win support for Labour's ideas". As part of this training the trust plans to run a course called "Preparing for Government" at the Electrician Union's training college in Esher, Surrey, in mid-May. Shadow Cabinet members will be among the speakers.

However, the venue has attracted the attention of another grassroots political event. The location manager for the film of Evita has expressed an interest in the same weekend. Nothing has been booked but it was the building's resemblance to a French chateau and its stone staircase that the film company was interested in for scenes about Evita's travels through Europe. Madonna will be at the college if the booking goes ahead, and no doubt will be delighted to attend classes on Blairism at the millennium. Progress's director, Derek Draper, who is also Peter Mandelson's erstwhile Commons assistant said, "We are hoping we might be able to book it jointly."

I'll bet. It could be the best-attended weekend school of the decade.

Not quite a Fitz

These real-life Crackers are such a wheeze. Professor David Canter of Liverpool University, said to be one of the models for the Robbie Coltrane figure in the TV series, chaired a seminar on "The broadening horizons of investigative psychology" at the British Psychological Society Conference in Brighton at the weekend. The society organised a press conference afterwards at which Professor Canter refused to answer any questions, instead haranguing the assembled journalists on the inadequacies of their organs (psychologists go in for that). Eventually, the journalists tired of the in-your-face psychology and walked out en masse in protest. Sadly, the point seemed to be lost on the professor, who was overheard remarking to a colleague later that the journalists would have been an excellent group to study, adding: "Did you see how they just all rose as one and trooped out like that?"

Ouch! Edwina again

A suggested plot for Edwina Currie's next novel: MP gives interview to newspaper criticising her home city, education and Jewish background; offends home city and Jewish community and gets her old mum into trouble. Any resemblance between that and any persons living or dead would, of course, be entirely coincidental. And it certainly should not be confused with Mrs Currie (below) telling the Daily Mail that she "was always glad to see the back of Liverpool", and was determined to leave the Jewish faith, and how she was estranged from her orthodox father. Mrs Currie has now had her invitation to address the Merseyside Jewish Theatre and Cultural Group withdrawn; the group's secretary Bertha Crawford says the community has been "outraged" by the MP's remarks; the Jewish Chronicle has taken up the story and Mrs Currie's mother, Pessie Cohen, may now lose her invitation to speak to Liverpool's Thursday Club for Jewish senior citizens on the subject of "My famous Daughter". Not a bad chapter one.

Security spectacle

Having put great faith in the impenetrable-looking security arrangements set up by Scotland Yard to stop terrorists setting foot in Docklands, I was greatly alarmed by a spectacle I witnessed at one of the many police checkpoints. At a sentry box near Marsh Wall, where the Docklands bomb went off, was a sight I cannot imagine striking fear into the hearts of would-be bombers.

My taxi driver, somewhat amused, alerted me to the fact that the WPC stationed there appeared to be leading an aerobics session for the bored constables charged with protecting the economic heartland of England. On closer inspection, it became clear they were heavily involved in a game of hopscotch. Or perhaps they were practising an Irish jig for infiltration purposes.

Art kicks off - with an own goal

Just when you thought it was exciting and imaginative enough to go back into the football stadium, our national game has gone and attracted support of a most unfortunate kind. The contemporary art movement has decided to inflict itself on soccer. Opening alongside the European Championships in June will be an exhibition called "Offside! Contemporary Artists and Football". It will run at Manchester City Art Galleries and is being organised by the grand sounding Institute of International Visual Arts, which is in fact a relatively new modern art body richly funded by the Arts Council.

The exhibition includes such gems of pretension as "Colombian artist Freddy Contreras' installation, `Stud', which incorporates a series of Vivienne Westwood fetishised stiletto shoes to manipulate the relation between sport, advertising, fashion, art and sex" and, pictured here, Lucy Gunning's new Footballers video which "reveals two women mysteriously dressed in white medical coats kicking a ball around an empty gallery interior. Gunning's women enter into an activity with which they would not normally be associated in a space seemingly inappropriate for playing football. The work reveals an uneasy relationship between mass culture and high art, masculinity and femininity." Exactly what I murmur at Highbury every other week.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Read Next
“I just wanted some chicken wings,” Tan Shen told the assembled media. “But once I got in there ... I decided I needed time to think.”  

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Ellen E Jones
Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay's Chris Martin “consciously uncoupled” in March  

My best and worst stories of 2014

Simmy Richman
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015