Sunday, 25 May 2008

From Crewe to Dhaka

Going to be away for the next week, which is half-term recess. First Bangladesh, looking at health projects and also meeting Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, the so-called "world banker to the poor"; I'm really looking forward to that. Then I'm in Jordan for a conference for a couple of days. I love Jordan, it's absolutely stunning. I have one free day before the conference, which is in Amman, so going to head to the Dead Sea.

I was in Crewe on Thursday, polling day. The Labour vote was pretty solid in the patch I was working, and we actually polled more votes overall than expected - but the Tory turnout was phenomenal and made all the difference. I was at the wedding today, of Anna (PLP staffer) and Jonathan (ex-No.10, now a spad in the Lords). Only two other MPs there - Ed Miliband, and Steve McCabe, who ran the Crewe campaign. Cue jokes during the speeches that some of the men present could be said to be dressed rather like 'toffs'.

As for the fall-out from the Labour defeat, which I suspect will be all over Sunday's papers, all I will say at the moment is that I can't see any criteria under which Lord Desai could be regarded as 'a senior Labour figure', unless it simply means he's been around a long time. (Does the media ever in these circumstances describe someone as a junior MP? An obscure MP? An MP who's been on the backbenches for the past 30 years and no-one's ever heard of him? An MP who has never said anything of interest during his entire parliamentary career but is now seizing his chance of 15 minutes of fame? Those are usually the kind of people who come forward at times like this). Journos will always be able to find someone to call for heads to roll; it doesn't mean that's the view of a majority - or even of a significant minority - of Labour parliamentarians. I don't believe it is, certainly not from the conversations I've had since Thursday.

Not sure if I'll have time to blog when I'm away; will see.

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