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Too late for Libs and Greens to lament Charles Clarke demise

Posted on 6 November 2010 | 12:11pm

So there I was, tapping away at the computer, and it just went dead. Kaput. Bye-bye. In our household, I know not how to deal with these things, but Fiona does and she has now got someone in who is sorting it, but in the meantime I thought well maybe it’s someone or something telling me to chill out a bit.

Then the next day, my body conked out almost as instantly as the computer did … one minute I felt fine, the next I had a dire headache, five minutes later I was throwing up, an involuntary act which continued on and off through Thursday  night until yesterday I felt not bad. (Full marks to Resolve Extra btw)

Hence the blog-free zone that the last few days have been. I see that my occasional tweets sent from my mobile have not appeared on my twitterfeed, so clearly in mind, body and technology I am just going through one of those phases.

I did manage a run this morning, round the streets and down the canalside in Norwich. Lovely place. I did a q and a at the football club last night to help raise a few bob for Delia to help her keep her players in the manner to which they are accustomed.

It was interesting to hear how many people seemed disappointed – and surprised – that Charles Clarke was no longer their MP. One of the questions I got was ‘how would you feel if you were one of those people who voted Lib Dem because of their pledge on tuition fees?’

It is what we call a bit of a free hit. I think you probably know the answer. There is not a single Lib Dem MP who did not campaign hard on tuition fees, nor who was photographed with their ‘I pledge not to raise tuition fees’ posters and they will definitely pay a price. Indeed in the short term, as the cuts really start to bite, I think the Lib Dems are set to cop more than their fair share of the coalition’s political fallout.

Henry Sutton, writer and academic and Mirror books editor, also  pointed out that what did it for Charles Clarke was the fact that the Greens took several thousand votes too. They too may be regretting losing a good MP and a big hitter for someone whose name few people seemed able to remember, (Simon Wright btw) but who is now fully engaged in doing George Osborne’s work for him.

Just caught an item on the news about planned cuts in Stoke on Trent. It was a very long list, and that situation is being repeated all around the country. What is becoming clearer and clearer to people is that virtually no public service will be unaffected, and that real people are going to face real pressures as a result of the planned cuts.

Meanwhile, a quick word on the US mid-term elections, albeit a few days late. I still think Barack Obama will be re-elected. There may be a lot of disappointment around but as both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton showed, it is possible to turn that around. Also, God help the Republican candidate who tries to channel all the different bits and pieces of the right wing in the US into  one coherent and concerted movement. At the moment, the Tea Party mob may be proving to  be a bit of a nightmare for Obama. Watch how they become a nightmare for his opponent, once said opponent emerges.

Off for lunch with Delia shortly then, hopefully, Burnley’s first away win of the season.

Ps to the media organisations calling asking for interviews re Andy Coulson being interviewed by the police. No ta. I always felt Bernard Ingham made a total prat of himself trying to make my life more difficult than it needed to be, whenever I was under the cosh, and unless and until there is anything substantially new to say about the phone-hacking situation, I’ll stick to the football.

  • Pam

    I can’t believe you have named everyone but PHILL WOOLAS.

    Carry on spinning.

    Get the Labour trolls on message and try and change the subject.

    Sorry, you have been ‘rumbled’.

    Whether you are guilty or not Labour will never be trusted again.


  • Richard Brittain

    That does sound quite grim. Take it easy, Alastair! Blogging every day is quite a lot really. There are a lot of bloggers with much less busy schedules than you (no giving speeches, meeting Delia Smith etc) who only bother to blog once a week or so. That said, your blog posts are usually a lot more interesting (and a lot more widely read!) than theirs.

    An insightful blog post as ever. I was wondering if Labour could use some sort of madcap Tea Partyesque plot, but I think it would only really work in America, where people are generally more insane.

    • Robert Jackson

      “……. I was wondering if Labour could use some sort of madcap Tea Partyesque plot, but……..”

      Seems the GOP has fallen prey to a well funded and well organised bunch of entryist fruitcakes.

      And where have we seen that before?


  • Teresa

    I hope you’re feeling better Alastair, I missed reading your blog 🙂

  • Jimm

    Imho Bernard Ingham is a total prat. Full stop.

  • Mark Wright

    Pam, are you seriously suggesting Labour will never return to power? After the scale of the cuts have worked there way through a few hundred thousand families lives people are going to say ‘Great! I’d better vote Lib Dem or Tory again so we can have more of that !” Nope. I think not.

    As sure as night turns into day Labour will be back. Soz.

  • Anonymous

    I have two people whom I worry about if I don’t hear from them for a day or two_——son and daughter the younger of whom is 55!. Now you make a third! Glad to hear you are recovering.

    I need a wee dose of your common sense to keep me going. How can the coalition claim credit for the economy improving when they’ve only been there5 minutes. Bring back Alastair Darling!!

  • Anonymous

    I have 2 people I worry about if I don’t hear from them every day or two (a son and daughter the younger of whom is 55!) now you make a 3rd. Glad to hear you’re recovering. I miss you common sense.
    How can the coalition claim credit for the improvement in the economy when they’ve only been there for 5 minutes, Bring back Alastair Darling!!

  • toni

    Hi there Alastair, pleased to hear that you’re over your bout of sickness and recovering, and just to say that your ‘not for the fainthearted’ work load and the amount of travelling involved as Richard also points out, must be completely draining, so not surprised that you put up a can’t be arsed blog occasionally, who wouldn’t, and anyway your readers are still here for when you come back. ;0)

    So, talking of tuition fees, the Libdem John Hemmings was interviewed by Jeremy Vine on Thursday (Radio2), and the more the conversation progressed the more JV became incredulous. Apparently students no longer owe a ‘debt’ (so do stop moaning on about what we said and pledged before the election, that’s so over) but a future ‘tax liability’.
    Have to say that Hemmings attempt to explain sounded patronising and confusing and JV appeared to be having some difficulty getting his head around it, but then again perhaps he’s never campaigned against LibDems like we have and isn’t familiar with their political trickery.

  • Gillian C.

    Good to see you back here Mr. Campbell, youv’e been missed. I saw one tweet by you during the past week that said you were physically poorly. At the moment I could do with some Resolve Extra myself. Time of the year for all the horrid viruses I guess.
    I’m wondering if you may be considering standing in the by-election, if it comes to that, for Phil Woolas’ old seat. Or perhaps you don’t want to become an MP. Labour could certainly do with a big-hitter such as yourself at the moment. I’m just speculating, that’s all.
    I haven’t been commenting on your site for very long, but I think I’m correct in saying that you never reply to any comments you get. A lot of other political bloggers reply to their comments and I have to say that pleases me no end, but then I’m easily pleased. I suspect you may be considerably busier than some of them though. I am not criticising you for never replying to your comments, but it would show you were interested in the people who read your blogs. All the best to you anyway.

  • Ray Merrall

    Pam, perhaps you have not read the blog which has a very interesting article on Woolas.

    We also have an interesting situation in Scotland where our only Con MP is facing the possibility of Jail Time for not checking his election expenses before signing them as being truthful and correct.

    There are many people in Scotland who are looking forward to a Tory Free Zone.

  • Jose

    If you are/were a government or local govt worker sorry but there are simply too many of you! If not, then sorry but it will take non-Labour supporters a lifetime to ‘believe’ them again whilst the likes of Alistair are around. He was at the heart of something that has not worked out terribly well from a PR perspective.
    If Labour want a chance of re-election they need to ditch the likes of Ed and elect David, see the back of the Woolas’ of this world and appear to be sensible…even if they’re not! They are bound to have lots of chances whilst it’s a coalition running the country but they have to be reasonable.

  • Steve Cooke

    You know I really do enjoy reading about the LibDem pledge on tuition fees, especially from Labour, who introduced tuition fees in the first place. Had Labour not brought fees in, what would the LibDem pledge have been? Secondly, even with that pledge, LibDems actually won FEWER seats in the election. So, apart from the small number of LibDem voters, the rest of the electorate ACTUALLY didn’t support the LibDem on tuition fees.
    So, please Mr. AC, mental-health permitting, please have a “free hit” (or should that be free spin), on this. Of course, I expect to be censored…

  • Quinney

    Ally, you should have sent apologies to our Delia and come along to Rochdale on Friday night. The first major FA Cup shock of the round when non league FC United of Manchester beat league one Rochdale. A magic night of non stop chanting, screaming, flags and banners. A truly great cup game which will have cheered you up no end Amigo.