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Monday, April 30, 2007

Denis MacShane Nicks My Article

I was thrilled to be invited to help canvass in Castle Point this weekend. You can see from the photograph just how stunning is this coastal area of the Wairarapa national park, north-east of Wellington.

A lovely weekend to spend at the seaside, contemplating Tony's handover to GordonUnfortunately, there had been a misunderstanding (due to the extent to which I write about other countries and their elections) and it transpired that the invitation was actually for me to canvass in the English local elections, at my old stomping grounds in Essex. Well, someone's got to do it I suppose. So I spent most of the weekend on the beach, getting as much of a tan as we gingers can achieve without burning and introducing Augustus to the pleasures of plastic ice cream and "kiss me quick" sun hats.

As I'd claimed the trip on Party expenses, I thought I'd better show my face in the town of Castle Point on Sunday morning for half an hour to canvass for Labour on the King's Park estate. I think the local CLP members were getting their own back, because they sent me to a 900-home mobile home park on Canvey Island populated mainly by ex-East Enders driven out by rising house prices and the replacement of their slums by new yuppie tower blocks.

Random thoughts:

  • they seemed pleased at the thought of Blair resigning next week;

  • we must have done a pretty s**t job of PR, because they all wanted to know what Gordon Brown proposed to do about asylum seekers being given priority on the housing lists and stealing all their jobs;

  • things are so bad with the local CLP that there was a sense of comradeship not felt since evacuation in the Blitz;

  • we've almost been wiped out politically, with just one Councillor left;

  • the voters seem keen to give us yet another kicking on Thursday;

  • after 10 years of Tony Blair in office, places like Castle Point have been so marginalised and ignored that you simply can't find any voices locally any longer to make a case for tolerance, fairness, liberalism and social justice;

  • even after a total of 12 years' tenure by local Labour MPs, we still f***ed up in Essex.

Back from Canvey, I scanned the Sunday newspapers. At the Observer, Denis MacShane (or Denis McShane as I like to call him, to reinforce the Scottish background of his Irish mother and Polish father) earned my wrath for his remarks about the French Presidential Election. Sorry, Denis, but surely a basic rule of journalism is that you don't steal other peoples' articles - and if you do choose to lift ideas from someone more intelligent and capable than yourself, you credit the original author.

Dennis McShine runs off with my paper on the French ElectionIn my post of last Monday, I argued cleverly and succinctly why Labour would be better off with Sarkozy in power in France than with the supposed "Socialist" candidate Royal.

I explained in detail how Sarkozy's policies were almost identical in all respects to the programme that The Great Leader has pushed through in Britain over the past decade - economic reform, privatisation of state assets, liberalisation of competition, re-alignment of foreign policy towards the US, support for the honours system, dealing firmly with immigration, talking tough on crime, etc. Whereas Marie-Ségolène Royal, on the other hand, can only be described as a "basket case" - a strange concoction of ultra-right authoritarian, high-spending Old Labour socialist and chauvinistic French nationalist. And to make it worse, with fascist family connections and strong anti-EU, anti-Turkish and anti-Israeli positions.

MacShane has taken my cogent arguments, shuffled them round and published the result in The Observer without any hint of credit to the original author.

I suppose I should be generous to the poor man. After all, he is a bit limited in the intellectual department. Unlike myself (BA Pole Climbing, Bristol) with expertise in Australian Labor Party politics, MacShane (BA History, Oxon; PhD International Economics, London) has been called "one of the few British politicians with a deep knowledge of France." Clearly someone who needs help from someone like me to get his thoughts together.

Postcript

Many thanks to my spoofster for pointing out that, due to mild sun-stroke, I listed my own qualifications incorrectly above. I do indeed have a BSc. and not a BA, as I studied the science of pole climbing at Bristol and not the art of it.

2 comments:

Luke Akehurst said...

BSc rather than BA thank you. I studied the science of pole-climbing, not the art of it.

Christopher Bryant said...

Are you sure it wasn't pole dancing that you studied, sweetie? I could just see you doing a bit of that, in your "Nuts for Hazel" panties. How's things back there in urban Hackney? It's been a long time since I got out of the place. Thank God! Living here, I don't get pestered much deep down in my valley, although the trips to Westminster each week can be a pain in the arse.