Labour simply loves to be embarrassed

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The Independent Online
Today: all you need to know about the Labour Party.

Why is there all this fuss about Harriet Harman and her child's education?

What fuss?

Well, the Tories are going on about it as if she had hired Tiggy Legge- Bourke in person to educate the child.

Oh dear, you aren't used to politics, are you? This fuss about Harriet Harman isn't a fuss at all.

Isn't it?


What is it, then?

It's a dirty trick.

A Tory dirty trick?

No, it's a Labour dirty trick.

Labour engineered all this on purpose?

Oh, yes. You see, the Labour Party is very keen to win the next election. However, the Labour high command know that there are various pitfalls they have to get through before election time. No matter how careful Labour is, they always end up with egg on their faces because someone senior in Labour has gone private in hospital or gone private in education, or because the unions have engineered a strike at the wrong time, and this makes Labour look as if they are hypocrites. The worst possible time to do this is just before the election. So this time Labour have decided to get their pratfalls over long before the election, and have them nicely out of the way, and long forgotten.

So Harriet Harman was instructed to do this by Labour policy planners?


So it's not hypocrisy?

Not in political terms, no.

Is there such a thing as hypocrisy in politics?


Can you give me an example?

Yes. For the past 15 years the Tory party has been proclaiming itself to be the party of law and order. During that time serious crime has rocketed up and convictions have not kept pace. Therefore it is now easier to get away with crime than it has ever been. Yet the Tory party claims to be the party of law and order. It does not take a genius to spot an element of hypocrisy here.

So you think that the breakdown of the British criminal justice system, as permitted to happen by the Tories, is more serious than Harriet Harman's choice of school?

I do, yes. I do not think the British public does.

Could you explain that?

Certainly. There is something every politicians knows, but never acknowledges, and that is that the British people are two different animals. There is the public, and there is the electorate. The electorate is a wise animal that exercises its democratic rights, considers the issues, joins in national debates, and so on. The public is a yobbish gang that reads the Sun, throws wrappers in the streets, buys tickets for lotteries it can't win and votes for the Tories at the last election.

Unfortunately, the wise voters and the yobbish public are the same people. The electorate knows, for instance, that it is crazy to build more roads and sell more cars. The public wants nothing better than to jump in its second car and drive 100 yards to the shops. But they are the same people. That is why politicians sometimes take us seriously, and explain ideas to us, and why sometimes they rant and rave. It depends whether they are addressing the public or the voters.

How do the two animals feel about Harriet Harman?

The electorate knows that Harriet Harman has done nothing wrong. The public thinks she has made an idiot of herself.

Will she resign?

No. The Labour Party needs people like her.

Young blood, you mean?

No. People with symmetrical initials. Research has shown that people trust figures with the same initials on both names. That's why the Labour Party gives such prominence to Mo Mowlam, Harriet Harman, Donald Dewar and so on. There's nobody like that in the Tories that I can think of.

Or anywhere else, come to that!

On the contrary. Showbiz is full of them. Arthur Askey, Billy Bennett, Charlie Chester, Donald Duck, Edward Enfield, Frank Finlay ...

Yes, yes, I get the point.

Time for one more question.

Tell me one thing. If Harriet Harman lets the side down by sending a child to grammar school, would a Tory MP get into similar trouble if he or she sent their child to a comprehensive school?

No. The Tories can get away with far more than Labour because they can always claim they are exercising choice.

Thought for the day: Peter Mandelson's initials are PM.