Diary: Labour moves into the black

Share
Related Topics
The Labour Party has long been able to score political points over the Conservatives on the subject of apartheid, but with the South African elections in sight, its rivals are gaining the upper hand. Following a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party on Wednesday night, Conservative MPs were surprised to learn that all eight Labour representatives selected to go on the 20- strong Westminster delegation to oversee next month's historic vote are white.

This, to put it mildly, caused some eyebrow-raising among Labourites at the meeting - although 24 hours later, the party announced that the name of Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North, was on the list. However, that announcement came hours after the Diary had spoken to Bernie Grant, MP for Tottenham - who has spent much time with the ANC in South Africa - who said: 'They (the party) are going to rectify it. I don't know how.'

Nobody would confirm yesterday who made the appointments. Suspects include the whips, the Speaker, or, most likely, international governmental organisations such as the CPA (Commonwealth Parliamentary Association) or IPU (Inter-Parliamentary Union).

Whoever was responsible, any rectification by Labour came too late to prevent the Tories smelling a rat. Voicing their thoughts before Labour's statement last night was one of their own representatives, Lady Flather, a well- known black race relations campaigner. She said yesterday: 'All the delegates have had to apply for creditations by now. Of course all the selections have been made.'

Alerted by interest from a newspaper, Guy's & St Thomas' Hospital Trust this week put out a statement denying 'that a woman was offered a gag instead of a local anaesthetic during a day procedure at St Thomas's'.

Watts in Kent

Anyone in need of a holiday can pick up a brochure offering short breaks to 'Kent's Leisure Coast' which includes, the brochure tells us, the resorts of Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate. What about PowerGen's power station at Richborough? Council tourism manager, Stephen Payne, thinks the three cooling towers (with a nearby wind generator thrown in) is a selling point for the area and has emblazoned it across the front of the brochure, citing British Industrial Heritage Year in justification. Councillors are, however, less impressed. 'You would have thought that with all the beautiful photographs of Thanet, they could have come up with something better than a power station to sell the place as a holiday destination,' said David Pettit. 'It hardly makes you want to leap into the car and take a short break here.'

Coming under the hammer in June is a rare French doll. She last appeared in a raffle during the Second World War - and raised pounds 43 for Red Cross food parcels. Now she is expected to fetch more than pounds 15,000.

Victoria comes with a wardrobe of four silk dresses, a black velvet riding habit, ivory-topped cane and top hat, parasol, jewellery and a silver powder compact. Before she was donated to the Red Cross she was the plaything of Lady Alexander, wife of the mayor of Faversham, Kent. Christie's is expecting a hard-fought battle between doll buffs, Kent folk and French women after a smart toy for les enfants.

Unholy smoker

Embedded in the crest of the Isambard Brunel school in Portsmouth is a portrait of the dandy engineer smoking a cigar. According to Country Life, this integral part of the engineer's make-up has now been removed - parents thought it might encourage their children to smoke.

As the National Maritime Museum prepares to exhibit artefacts from the Titanic this autumn, time to declare the luckiest member of that crew: John Coffee, 24, who jumped ship at Queenstown, Ireland before the iceberg loomed.

A day like this

25 March 1940 Dylan Thomas writes to Sir Kenneth Clark: 'Augustus (John) said he'd written to you and talked to you about me, about my chances of getting a job, any kind of job I'm capable of doing, to avoid conscription. And he told me that you'd said you'd look out for a job but that anyway you didn't think I would be conscripted. In my letter, which perhaps has gone astray, I asked you if you'd be kind enough to tell me how probable my exemption was and if it wasn't very probable, could you help me to get some work which would exempt me? I'm to register on April 7th, which leaves me hardly any time, and if I do have to register it will have to be as an objector. I don't want to do that because, though I will not fight I am perfectly willing to do some kind of work, and I think it would be wasteful and silly for me to be made to work at something I know absolutely nothing about.'

React Now

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

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Taking on Ukip requires a delicate balancing act for both main parties

Andrew Grice
Today is a bigger Shabbes than usual in the Jewish world because it has been chosen to launch the Shabbos Project  

Shabbes exerts a pull on all Jews, and today is bigger than ever

Howard Jacobson
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker