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Jerry Hayes

The real victor this afternoon will be Harriet Harman. Her role will be that of a minor public school matron keeping the boys in order with the threat of a friendly enema.

September 25th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

At four o’clock this afternoon, Gordon Brown, returning triumphant from organising the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, will pass on the mantle of that great Labour inheritance: the blood feud.  Sadly,whichever of the brothers prim wins, a simmering resentment will be born, which ambitious enemies can fan into petulant bitterness. Things can never be the same again for them.

As the election is so close the loser has to be given a major shadow office of state. The Milibands, the BeeGees of British politics, but without the good tunes, somehow, are going to have to pretend they will be working together and that all the tensions of the hustings have been put behind them. But they won’t and can’t be.

So, if you think that Brown’s leadership was like a scene from One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest, a Miliband Labour Party will closely resemble  extras from Shaun of the Dead. First, there has to be bereavement counselling for the death of a government. Then an apology for the total shambles of the last administration and the betrayal of the ideals and aspirations of  thousands of  Labour supporters. And lastly a strategy. How to reach a working relationship with the unions that doesn’t disgust the public. And how to out Cameroon Cameron to undermine the Coalition. None of this will be easy.

But there will be no corks popping in Downing Street, it is not Cameron’s style to give such minor matters too much attention. He will be studiously polite and love bomb the Milileader with charm and humour, which will really, really get on his tits.

Today’s Guardian would not have been happy reading for the Milibands. David Muir, Brown’s chief strategist, presents research on just how popular the Coalition is with it’s lack of tribalism and how voters are in tune with the programme of cutting public services. He also warns of the the danger of constantly attacking the Lib Dems which plays into Cameron’s hands. Muir, will of course be ignored.

This afternoon’s victory speech, after the obligatory ersatz humility and a tribute to dad, will resemble Munche’s Scream. It will be a rallying call to fight the Tory cuts, and string up their Lib Dem class traitor running dog lackies. It will go down well in the hall, where the Milileader will be cheered to the rafters. Delegates will breathlessly tell journalists that the party has never been more united and that the fight back has begun. Ellie Gellard weeps with joy and pledges her heart soul and every fibre of her being to the new leader. Ed Balls puts on a brave face and begins to plot. Diane Abbott, delighted for all the attention, makes a tearful plea to listen to the grass roots. And a search party is dispatched to try and find poor Andy Burnham, who has somehow got lost.  At the Guardian, not a dry gusset is to be found.

But the real victor, the one with absolute moral authority is Harriet Harman. She has kept the party together these last few months with a mixture of quiet authority and balls of steel. She will have to be given a big job. Yet her real role will be that of a matron at a minor public school, keeping the boys in order with the threat of caster oil or a friendly enema. Those Milibrothers can be so naughty.

So later today, when the applause dies down and as the Shadow Cabinet hopefuls dash to the cameras to give unwavering support, the Milileader clutches a quivering hand to his breast giving the command that will save him from many close encounters with disaster in the future, “Beam me up Hattie”. In a flash he is teleported the the bridge of his orbiting  starship and surveys his domain. The geek has inherited the earth.

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Apart from being one of Paul Daniel’s pubic lice, it’s hard to think of a more embarrassing existence than stting on Ed Ball’s campaign team. And a warning to Theresa May.

September 14th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

Apart from being one of Paul Daniel’s pubic lice, I find it hard to think of a more embarrassing existence than sitting on Ed Ball’s campaign team. But in a weird masochistic way I shall miss him. Because, despite him representing all that is so deeply repulsive in a politician, you have to admire his tenacity, his pugnacious onslaughts and a skin even thicker than Wayne Rooney’s skull.

 To be fair, he has been effective in wrong footing Michael Gove and has given the Coalition Treasury team a good kneecapping. Even more important, he has given a  demoralised and bewildered Labour Party at least the fig leaf of a narrative, and has led  a wild eyed and pitchforked backbench peasantry on a half decent attempt to destabilise the Coalition, until one of the Milibores descend from their flying saucer to save the day.

But what is so remarkable is that  Balls still seems to believe that he will win. His campaign team are almost evangelical. Hard nosed Westminster journos are not sure whether to laugh or cry when the painfully ambitious Ellie Gellard stilettoes her way into the press bar proclaiming more victories and greater tractor production.

 Balls is no fool. He knows it’ game over. So what will happen to him? Well, forget about all this talk about Mili D offering  him the Shadow Chancellorship. Nothing could be further from his mind. The toxicity of Balls would be corrosive in any of the top three jobs. Any leader would be terrified that he would be building up a power base. Not tanks on the lawn. But the usual smearing and counter briefing. After all, he has more form than Shergar. Anyhow, I hear that Mili D has already lined up Yvette Cooper for the top Treasury job. Oh, the humiliation. Politics can be so deliciously cruel.

 Apart from Lobby veteran, Nigel Nelson, who predicted this weeks ago, hacks are just coming round to the reality that Mili E is likely to win the leadership. For all the obvious reasons. He is not the Establishment candidate, will pick up a stack of second preferences and the grass roots and trade unions love him. The trouble is he does look like a regular attendee of Star Treck conventions. In full costume.  The sort of chap who could hold himself spellbound over a bus timetable. But never mind, once the spin doctors pop him in a Vivienne Westwood suit, get Toni and Guy to sort out his quiff and the film makers retrace his immigrant roots, it will be like the Compare the Meerkat adverts. Simples.

But what to do about Balls?  He can’t be cast into backbench hell, brooding an plotting. Let him brood and plot under supervision. Keep him in Education. A minor humiliation, with a tenuous promise of greater things to come.

And now a word of warning to Theresa May, who has turned out to be a surprisingly impressive Home Secretary. Prepare for a dirty little smear campaign from the police. As Ken Clarke, Leon Britten and Willie Whitelaw found to their cost, every time a Home Secretary does anything that is perceived to upset the little blue applecart a whispering campaign begins. And the police are very well connected. After all, they flog thousands of pounds worth of stories to the red tops. So they know which ears to pour the poison.

My favourite smear was against dear old Willie Whitelaw. It was wickedly put around that he was a regular visitor to tranny bars in a frock and a blonde wig. His street name was meant to be Brenda. You will be shocked to know that not even this could titivate jaded Fleet Street palates.

And now the police are warning of 40,000 jobs to be lost. Bleeding stumps are hitting the headlines. So Theresa, prepare and beware of the hand of plod.

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The Achilles heel of the Coalition is it’s treatment of Parliament. Timetabling the AV referendum Bill is an act of monumental folly.

August 3rd, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

As the Shadow cabinet huddle round their Ouija board in a desperate attempt to make contact with the living, their leadership contenders sleepwalk their messages through the media. The poor devils Zombie their way from ghastly meeting to awful gathering with all the enthusiasm of  doorstep encyclopedia salesman. More than a month to go and they still can’t stir up apathy. At the Weekend Miliband D hit the airwaves in an embarrassing punt at populism with a,  ”save our pubs” campaign. His press release, written in pure Jim Garnerese, gave parady a bad name, “It could be last orders for British pubs” , he squealed. “Make no mistake……”  I really can’t go on, it is just too painful, save to say that there is a photo of the great man with a pint of bitter poised at his lips. We are told it is London Pride, probably because some ghastly wannabe thought it would be good for the gay vote.

This morning it is the turn of Mr. Balls to grace our breakfast tables. The sight of this grotesque, smug, Jabba the Hutt like figure lecturing the Labour party on how to win the next election would be comedic if it wasn’t so tragic. The only battle he is trying win is not being slaughtered in the polls by that political genius Diane Abbott. The poor man is totally deluded. He is not just going to be beaten for the leadership, his treatment will make the stringing of Mussolini from a lampost look like a charm offensive.  But he still doesn’t understand. After, being shot,stabbed, fed Prussic acid and floating down the St Petersburg Canal encased in ice, even Rasputin eventually got the message.

It’s all very well for  Labour to try and derail the coalition by picking at the scab of Liberal Democrat cutting fast and loose with their voters, short term its quite effective, but long term the public will soon get bored. The real Achilles heal of this government is its treatment of Parliament. I had hoped Cameron had learned his lesson in his ill fated attempt to pack the 1922 with his supporters. Sadly, not. The Cameroons had crack at removing Bill Cash from the chair of an important European Scrutiny committee. This was pretty stupid, not just because it failed, but because Cash is a busted flush; a political irrelevance.  As a result, a lot of backbenchers, particularly of the right, nurse a simmering resentment. But the message still hasn’t been taken on board. The government intends to timetable the AV referendum Bill, leaving just two days for pre legislative scrutiny. This is an act of monumental folly. This is a bill that abolishes parliamentary seats, and redistributes boundaries. This a bill that proposes to hold the AV referendum on the same day as the Scottish and Welsh elections. This is a bill of immense constitutional importance and deserves proper scrutiny. Try and railroad this one through old son and you will unite every parliamentary bore with a grudge from every wing of every party. At the end of the day, this is a bill whereby a large number of  vociferous turkeys are being asked to vote for Christmas, so at least humour them before Mr. Bernard Mathews wrings there little necks. And listen to Graham Allen. Graham Allen is the chairman of the select committee monitoring the office of the Deputy Prime Minister. It is his committee which as been given just two days of pre legislative scrutiny to one of the most far reaching constitutional changes in a century. He is cerebral, honest and has carved out a niche in the Commons as the man who has fought fearlessly against his own government to restore power to the backbenches. He has that rare commodity in Westminster; respect. Yesterday, in his own quiet and unassuming way he warned the coalition of the folly of curtailing debate. They will ignore him at their Peril. Sometimes it is necessary for a government to stand firm and unyielding for fear of appearing weak. This is not the time for big willy machismo games. Parliament has been given a new and more powerful voice, it must be allowed to use it. Think again Mr. Clegg. Remember that it was the bedrock of pragmatic realism that this Coalition was founded upon.

Diane Abbott could be the Nick Clegg of the Leadership Election

June 12th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

One of the many pleasures of not being a tribune of the people, is that I don’t have to pretend to have the slightest interest in football. The, “get pally with the lumpen proletariat”,  is a New Labour phenomenon, not to be aped by the Cameroons. This patronising, testosterone fuelled laddism, was designed not just to show how cool and in touch everyone was, but also to exclude. As a member of the press gallery in the heady days of Campbell,  you could see ambitious young journos embracing the culture of the terrace in order to rub shoulders and clunk pints in manly,ersatz chummyness, to grab a story. Now some people did like all this sort of thing. Michael Foot was a genuine supporter and worshipped his team. But he didn’t make a big display of it. We know now that Blair’s interest in football was cynically illusory, with Campbell providing the briefings.

However, before I get too pious, my ego did get a boost when I was asked to play in a charity match at Wembley. The proper one. Not this horrible temple of Rastafarian Gothic, whose turf has been laid more times than Katie Price. And what’s more, I scored a goal. So here we were, proudly marching through the famous tunnel, to find that the cheering crowds were not for us, but the greyhounds, who out of  sheer nerves had turded our graceful exit. What my team had failed to realise was that my knowledge of football is comparable with Paris Hilton’s grasp of Wittgenstein. Halfway through the game, I found myself motoring through player after player and heading for the goal, and to to the back of the net it sailed. Elation! But no hugs for me. Sadly, I hadn’t realised you change ends at half time.

So it is a breath of fresh air that Diane Abbott will not be troubling us with all this football nonsense. I really don’t believe for one moment that she can possibly win the Labour leadership election, but I have a sneaking feeling that she may turn out to be the Nick Clegg of the contest and dynamise the debate. David Miliband may rue the day that in a selfless act of opportunism,  he redistributed some of his lobby fodder so that she could appear on the ballot paper. Perish the thought that any of them will actually vote for her. How refreshing that a white middle class, middle aged  man should give a black woman an opportunity to fail. Although to be fair to Miliband, he probably thought it was equal opportunities for someone from Cambridge to have a crack at it. But the ballpark has radically changed. MPs are now just a small part of the electoral equation and Abbott will grasp the opportunity to show the grass roots that she doesn’t have the baggage of war and the pilfering of the poor. She could portray herself as a radical in the style of Labour’s founding fathers, championing the underclass. Already, serious political commentators like Simon Carr are beginning to take her seriously. Good heavens, she’s even been love bombed by Eric Pickles. Not a pretty sight.

Her advantage is that she stands out from the achingly predictable, monochrome morass of failure and mediocrity. She could resonate with the faithful in such a way that could prompt a “stop Abbott” response from the others. It won’t be long before that Iago of the candidates, the ghastly Balls, will be pouring poison into the ears of the press against her and Charlie Whelan’s Unite phone banks going into meltdown.

Many years ago, when Diane was first elected I saw her on the Terry Wogan Show saying that she was quite prepared to pair with a Tory on uncontentious votes. Swiftly, I penned a charming note with a photo, offering my services. A couple of weeks later the photo was returned. This could be my great chance to end those sleepless nights. Until I noticed two lovingly crafted words scrawled  on it. FUCK OFF. This girl has judgement. She will do well.

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Putting the Case for Harman

June 3rd, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

As someone who has made a fitness video with Heather Mills, been asked by Mark Thomas to dress up in a Penis suit and absailed across my constituency dressed as a chicken, I feel that I am more than well qualified to comment on the Labour leadership election. Sadly, we are all going to be bombarded with the most pointless drivel from those wanting to,” recapture the heart and soul of the Party, reconnect with the electorate and listen”. Well, the people have spoken. The bastards.

The reason it is so pointless to recite these mantras is because  the only question really worth asking the candidates is who is going to win them the election, or at least, who has the best chance.

Like Thatcher, Blair was regarded as outsider, not really of the Party, but parachuted in as a winner. But like all those with large majorities, after a while they tend to chew carpets, do silly things and equate the national interest with their own. They rarely admit  mistakes, brazen the most stupid of decisions out and dragoon their lobby fodder into defending the indefensible. Remember Thatcher’s proud boast, ” never apologise never explain”?  That’s when mindlessly, ” following the line”, becomes a badge of honour and a pathway to promotion. In 1983, I remember being open mouthed at a new colleague making a speech supporting one of the more bizarre and unpopular parts of policy. I turned to the chap sitting next to me and said, “well, that’s him stuffed”.  ”No, no”, said the old hand, “he’ll get a job in the next reshuffle”. He did. It was Michael Howard.

So how on earth is Labour going to pick a winner when they are fighting a coalition that actually believes in consensus government? What actually do they  home in on to attack?  The cuts that they were going to implement themselves a few months later? Hardly. The trouble is until the candidates present a realistic fiscal policy, they might as well go home and watch the soaps.

So who have they got. Ed Balls, this morning, had the lowest approval rating of any recorded politician, a staggering minus thirty nine percent. Even Saddam Hussein, dead, would do better. He is deeply unpopular with backbenchers, not just as the creator of Brown, but for bully boy arm breaking and knowing where the bodies are buried. Good heavens, he buried most of them. So he will lose.

Ed Miliband is a geek, though deeply popular with the grassroots,  just somehow just doesn’t look or sound quite right. His recent press release asks that,”our party does something that it hasn’t done for decades, have an open and honest discussion about our fundamental direction”. Oh yeah, isn’t that what happened in the eighties? No surprise that Tony Benn supports him. And David? Of course he’ll win, but lacks the killer instinct. Rather than a full frontal attack on Brown he preferred a strategy of nudges and winks. And David is a winker of immense proportions. But it would be delightfully Orwellian to enter an election campaign asking for a Vote for Big Brother. What is so hilarious is that the best website is from James Garner MP, a spoof. Warning. Once the electorate finds you a joke serious trouble is afoot. Remember how Spitting Image destroyed David Steel.

The saddest loss in this election is Harriet Harman. People see her as a stern humourless matron of feminism, but she has achieved more for equality and diversity than just about anyone save Leo Abse. People forget what she has had to put up with. When she was elected there were no women’s lavatories in the Commons, just doors marked “Members Only”, which sounded like the porn mags she tried to ban. Her colleagues tended to be florid faced, dandruff blown, beer sodden trade unionists, whose idea of female emancipation was allowing the missus to watch him and his mates play darts down the pub on a Sunday, before rushing home to cook the joint. Women were patronized and abused in the Commons in those days, not in a deliberate and nasty way, just that some didn’t know any better. Like Edwina Currie, Gill Knight, Elaine Kellett-Bowman, Claire Short and Audrey Wise, they fearlessly blazed a trail to give women a fair crack of the whip. Harman was also a formidable Shadow Health Secretary. We often joined forces. This is a woman of character and belief founded on principle. She’s often wrong. But at least she’s not a mealy mouthed snivelling little aparatchic, sniffing the air like the other Meercats for the main chance. The Labour Party’s loss is ours.

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Cameron’s first political bomb

May 27th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

While Downing Street officials repair the broken door panels and no longer feel nervous when standing next to their new boss under a full moon, Cameron must be wondering when the first political bomb will explode. Well, it won’t be the election of Graham Brady and his chums to the Chairmanship and executive of the 1922 Committee.

The press will portray this as a blow to his authority from the right. But if anything, it could strengthen the coalition. The Conservative leadership is always at its best when it doesn’t pretend to have unfettered power. Brady is not a head banging loon with the ego of Bill Cash. His views may be out of kilter with the Cameroons, but he is not of the swivel-eyed, Lederhosen tendency, which kept the Conservatives out of government for thirteen years. Many of his thoughts will be as welcome as a cup of cold sick, but they will represent the views some rather confused backbenchers and activists who have had their political compasses removed. The new 22 executive should not be regarded as the enemy, but a useful valve to ease some of the pressure. David Cameron ignores them at his peril.

The first whiff of serious discontent will be over a capital gains tax hike. It’s starting to have traction already. Soon the Daily Mail will be tearing at our heart strings with tales of elderly grannies who have saved all their lives only to be thrown to the wolves by the Cleggeroon Commies. One word of advice. Don’t face people like Redwood and David Davis down. The midwife of this coalition has been and must remain, commonsense pragmatism. Openly consult and debate. If there is wiggle room, shake your political hips like Jordan, as long as people know there has to be a price; the money will have to be found somewhere. This is not a time for the political machismo that destroyed Gordon Brown. If a sensible and costed compromise can be found, let it be done.

Watching the Labour leadership campaign is like a cross between Scrapheap Challenge and Miss World. The Miliblands have sailed through the swimwear round, but are still at that embarrassing stage of drivelling  banality. And as for Ed Balls? It is unfortunate that he always looks like he’s just come back from a seal clubbing holiday in Nova Scotia. As one Labour sage once told me, “Ed is a really nice guy, until you get to know him”. And who’s left? Diane Abbott?For God’s sake, the woman’s got more Me Me Mes than Pavarotti and her head is so far up her backside she needs a team of sniffer dogs to remove it. The only thoroughly  decent man in the contest is John Cruddas, who has had the honesty and humility to say that he doesn’t have that Papal certainty that is a necessary in a leader. And here lies the problem for Labour. They are floating in an eerie vacuum. They have just seen two parties mutate into a socially aware progressive coalition, that actually seems to tap into a primal chord. If Labour go left they are doomed. But if they stay as they are, they will be in political purgatory for eternity. I don’t know the answer. Neither I suspect do the leadership contenders.

And finally. Did anyone read the rather eccentric piece in the Guardian yesterday by David Marquand? He was suggesting that the realignment of British politics should be along the lines of  Caroline Lucas and the Greens. Now I don’t wish to be unkind, but the smile of La Belle Lucas makes Gordon Brown’s look warm and winning.

But was this the David Marquand who was a Labour MP and then fled to Brussels with Roy Jenkins when he became President of the Commission? I fear so. When Woy left he made a parting speech to friends. In full lisp he said,” I leave this house with sadness, but without wrancour”.  To which a wag commented, “But I thought you were taking David Marquand with you”. I think that says it all.

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