Daily catch-up: 'Ain't there one damn song that can make me break down and cry?'

Farewell to David Bowie; more on Jeremy Corbyn's attempt to change Labour policy on Trident; and more on the hostility to Tony Blair

John Rentoul
Tuesday 12 January 2016 09:27
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David Bowie, photographed by Terry O'Neil in 1974 (Hulton Archive/Getty)
David Bowie, photographed by Terry O'Neil in 1974 (Hulton Archive/Getty)

Today's Independent has a 16-page tribute to David Bowie, with this photograph on the front. It includes articles by Dylan Jones (read to the end), Janet Street-Porter and David Thomas. The main newspaper even has an editorial about "Star man".

Elsewhere, "What David Bowie Meant to Me" by Martin Fitzgerald of the Ram Album Club was the best "What David Bowie Meant to Me". This from Thomas Jones in the London Review of Books in 2012 is one of the best long articles on Bowie's life.

And I found this, by the organist at Kelvingrove art gallery in Glasgow (via Gordon Wilson), the most unexpected and moving of the tribute on the day.

• I tallied the state of play in the battle to change Labour policy on Trident yesterday. Paul Kenny, the outgoing general secretary of the GMB, obviously intends to make a fight of it:

If anybody thinks that unions like the GMB are going to go quietly into the night while tens of thousands of our members' jobs are literally Swaneed away by rhetoric, then they've got another shock coming.

A source with some experience of managing Labour-union politics sees this as a struggle between Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson. The deputy leader has his networks, and Corbyn has access to the hard-left networks run by people including Jon Lansman, who has been operating them since working on Tony Benn's deputy leadership campaign in 1981. My source thinks that the unions will be "sensible" on Trident:

They are annoyed with Corbyn for even putting it on the table, as it makes their life very difficult. Also, they will want to assert their authority, and give Corbyn a slap. Those who see the unions as simply being hard left (and therefore Corbynite) are missing the point. For them this is about power, and at present they control the party. The idea that they would choose to hand over that power to Jon Lansman and his mates is just daft. And for all their idiocy, the unions want a Labour government. If the party can be saved, ultimately it will have to be the unions doing the saving.

• I have written about the Blair rage phenomenon for Politico, asking once again why Labour's most successful leader is so hated by his own party.

Finally, worth noting this fine post on Labour's "unfinished revolution" by Nora Mulready.

If you don’t hone your thinking, it will fade, and it did. Even many supporters of a progressive Labour approach came to see it more as a means of achieving power than a worthy political philosophy in its own right. So now we have to start again. We need to put everything back on the table and start talking honestly. Let’s not just accept that someone shouting "privatisation!" is a check-mate end to a debate.

One of the few contributions from the non-Corbyn mainstream of what used to be the Labour Party that shows any understanding of the intellectual task of winning it back.

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