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And the winner is …

Posted on 1 June 2010 | 10:06am

And so, on this the day of publication of Prelude to Power, volume 1 of the AC diaries, covering 1994-1997, I bring you the news you have all being waiting for – the winner of the #neverhappendedunderlabour competition launched here yesterday.

First of all, may I thank those who persuaded me to do a hashtag, and second thank the squillions of tweeters, facebookers and blog-commenters who joined in the fun.

Serious point – it will not be long before not just tribalists like me, and some of the other #neverhappenedunderlabour-ites who commented, start to miss the Labour government and all the good things it did, now under threat from the coalition. So there are sound strategic reasons to keep reminding people all the things, funny and serious, that neverhappenedunderlabour.

But in the meantime, the exercise has shown that even in defeat, we can keep our chins up and smile. Indeed, it was odd how few of the coalition-supporting comments were witty, and how many of them were just plain sour. Ho hum.

There really were a lot of good comments, and the judgement as to which were best is inevitably subjective. But as I said yesterday, le juge c’est moi, et mon jugement est final.

Only one person can win the promised signed copy of Prelude to Power, but because I am a softy at heart, I do want to give some sort of prize to those who came close to winning.

So there are three runners-up and if they get in touch either through FB, twitter direct message or a message on the website, with their addresses, I can offer them the choice of a signed copy of either of my novels, All In The Mind or Maya, or a signed copy of The Blair Years trade paperback. The genersosity knows no bounds.

The runners-up, in no particular order, are —

twitterer LabourManDan who said that ‘the government calling in Jeremy Kyle to sort out Cabinet ministers’ private affairs #neverhappened underlabour’

Facebook friend Heather Jargus who pointed out that ‘having a ventriloquist dummy as deputy PM never happened under Labour’

twitterer joncrouchend caught my eye by pointing out that it neverhappenedunderlabour that a minister could be judged ‘excellent’ on two weeks work and a neat haircut.

But successful tweeting is all about how much you can pack in and the winning tweet managed to pack in politics, commitment to public services, a reminder of David Laws’ ConDem cuts plans and, crucially, a mention of my book.

For all those reasons, the winner is twitterer jphowarth with ‘local library does not have budget to buy your new book #neverhappenedunderlabour’

Well done to JP (there’s a coincidence) and a reminder to all others there are no grounds for appeal, but every reason to continue with #neverhappenderunderlabour tweeting. Not least because it seems to get a long way up Tory and Lib Dem nostrils.

For the unlucky ones, link to Amazon below. Now off to do an interview with Iain Dale. Steve Wright later. Top man.

  • Chris lancashire

    Foul! Heather Jargus was wrong about having a ventriloquist dummmy as deputy PM never happened under Labour. John Prescott was deputy PM but the ventriloquist’s words never came out quite right.

  • Harold Graham

    Your #neverhappenedunderlabour contest brightened up an otherwise rather dull Bank Holiday weekend so thanks. It is funny how some things take off and this certainly did. I also think it is commendable that even though you get flak for whatever you do, you always appear to inject some humour into the situation. I am looking forward to your book which I expect to be more serious and given your history even more depressing … But I wish you well and thank you for your service to party and country and your continuing contribution to debate in our politics

  • Trudi Jolley

    Nick Clegg is really beginning to get on my nerves. Am I alone?

  • Colin Hall

    Am enjoying working out why you liked the ones you did. I liked the one from the woman who said she had put on weight and was blaming the coalition

  • MiKE Brown

    yes Clegg needs reminding that he came 3rd in the election

  • Barry

    Adam Boulton interviewed on Today -Radio 4- regarding ( his description) -‘a spat’ with Alistair Campbell. Expresses ‘regret that he lost his temper more than was necessary !’ I see , I understand Mr Boulton. Never mind the 1,000 complaints to OFCOM about your unprofessional behaviour, nor the blatant bias against Labour or the fact that you seemed most put out that Alistair Campbell was articulating a different view other than your own. Adam Boulton trying to impute that it was what was said by an ‘unelected person’ (Alistair Campbell) is highly questionable, when you view the body language adopted by him just prior to the interview. You will have to do better than that Mr Boulton and incidentally postpone putting your portrait up in the Journalistic Hall of Fame.

  • MacK

    It was astonishing to see the media got so exercised about the issue of David Laws’s right to privacy. Something else that never happened under Labour! The media wasn’t so exercised when Gordon Brown’s privacy was violated in Rochdale

  • Mona

    Trudi, You are NOT Alone! yesterday I had to watch HAGUE on the flotilla situation, Not a pleasant sight.God help us all.

  • Hartley John

    To Trudi,

    Yes, you are alone.

    John Hartley.

  • Jp

    Woo Hoo, won the book, and I promise after reading I will share with the local population of Grimsby, and leave in my brand new Local Library that was built with Labour Government funding. = )

  • Chris lancashire

    To Trudi
    Not alone, but in a very small minority.

  • Janete


    No you are definitely not alone. Nick Clegg has been getting up my nose since just after the election when talks with Labour were about to begin (the day after the Adam Boulton melt down). When he appeared on TV at 9.30 a.m saying talks were at a ‘critical and final stage’ and he expected the deal to be completed within the day, it was clear to me that he had no intention of pursuing a serious conversation with Labour. These talks were designed to satisfy dissenting Libdem MPs and at the same time to get a better deal out of the Tories – maybe this is when they agreed to make him deputy PM.

    I think he is in essence a Tory anyway, as no self respecting Libdem of old could have abandoned their principles so willingly. Either he was just desperate for power under any circumstances or perhaps he has been a Tory sleeper all along.

  • M Mason

    No Trudi, you are in massive company. Clegg was always a joke now he’s a smug ar**hole – I can’t stand the sight or sound of him.

  • Caroline


    No you are not alone. Apart from the obvious reason, of thinking him a little tarnished over recent events, I think it’s because he blinks such a lot when speaking. Sure I read somewhere (some book on body language prob) that it is seen as a sign of lying. on the other hand, maybe he’s just got something in his eye.

  • penfrocharlie

    Upset that you probably categorised my neverhappened as “plain sour” since I’d already arranged an hour off to read my free signed copy.
    Still I don’t bear grudges and,as a poor Coalitioner,I’ve been trawling the web to find a good deal on your book; so far the best I can do is £12.49 with free delivery so I’m still looking. I’ve just tried the Amazon Bargain Books(Politics)section and expected to find it amongst two recent biographies,John Prescott’s “Where to,Little Wombat” and Peter Mandelson’s hot-off-the press “The Naughtiest Ever Fairy” but it wasn’t there. Suppose I’ll have to wait now until Tesco’s offer it as a BOGOF.
    Ah well,Alastair,I’ve been told that the best things in life are worth waiting for…..although Gordon might not agree!
    Anyway,in the spirit of friendship, good luck with the book; and keep writing because in these straitened times we could all do with a good laugh!

  • Brian Tomkinson

    I thought the runners up prize would have been 2 signed copies of your diaries!

  • Jacquie R

    Happy to pay the full price for your diaries, Alastair. But would be tempted to sell my house to buy Andy Coulson’s unexpurgated diaries!

    I see good old JP has written to Cameron asking him to disclose Coulson’s salary, now that they’ve lifted the “cloak of secrecy”. Speculation is that it’s way in excess of the most senior civil servant.

  • Jacquie R

    Earlier comment already out of date as I’ve just heard that Coulson’s salary is to be disclosed. But will that be the full story?

  • Tim

    Trudi – You are not alone in finding Clegg irritating. Apart from the willingness to drop almost everything he believed in, in return for a ministerial salary and a whiff of power, I find him incredibly pompous and self important.

    There’s something really …. irritating …. about the way he speaks, and the need to … pause before finishing … a sentence.

    Mostly though, it’s the fact he failed miserably in the election (losing seats after bragging throughout the campaign that you’re in a two horse race is quite some achievement in the EPIC FAIL stakes) and should be looking at a leadership challenge, but instead is swanning about like he owns the country.

  • Alan Quinn

    You are not alone, there are 40,000 aerospace workers who are irritated by Clegg’s threats to put them on the dole by cancelling Eurofighter Typhoon. Even more irritating was that on the TV debate No3 after he threatened to cut it again, but 2.5 mins earlier he had said that the UK needed to rediscover its’ passion for making things again.
    The following morning after the first debate in Manchester Dave appeared on BBC Radio Manchester and I questioned him over Osborne’s threats to the UK defence industry ( speech 15th Sept 2009) and tory defence spokesman Liam Fox’s preference to buy American. Dave replied that the Tories were commited to the Typhoon and only one party was threatening to cancel it and that was the Liberal Democrats. We shall see.

  • Robert Crosby

    Interesting comments on Nick Clegg that I fully endorse. I suspect that by the end of this government, Clegg will be viewed as one of the most shallow and self-serving politicians in living memory.