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Well done Dan Jarvis, and my latest litttle battle against the evil of the Mail

Posted on 4 March 2011 | 5:03pm

I’ve been away having laptop connection problems so apart from a couple of tweets I have not been able to congratulate Labour’s Dan Jarvis on his excellent by-election win. And yes, of course I knew Lord Sutch was dead when I tweeted asking where was he when he needed him? That was the point — this could have been his moment, coming ahead of the Tories and the third ‘big’ party, the Lib Dems.

Time was when by-elections were food and drink to the Lib Dems, their results to be taken as evidence of the great surge that showed them breaking the mould. No moulds have been broken. They have managed a toehold on power simply because David Cameron failed to win the majority that was there for the taking, and his to lose.

Of course it is a safe Labour seat, and Dan, who I got to know a little when he was serving in Kosovo and I was overseeing a revamp of Nato’s communications operation, was a terrrific candidate, as he will be an excellent MP.

But what  the result, and the scale of the humiliation for Cameron and Clegg, show, is that the mood the Westminister media believes to be surrounding the coalition is very different to how it is in the real world of job losses, cuts and rises in the cost of living.

Meanwhile, may I report to you a fun way to while away a bit of time at airports. I am sitting in Frankfurt waiting for a BA plane to Heathrow to be called. As at virtually every British airline site in the world, big piles of Daily Mails are sitting in blue trays on a trolley waiting to be picked up by bored passengers unconcerned about poisoning their minds. It is the only way they can get rid of the damn things.

I have just done a bit of rearranging so that the piles of Mails are covered in copies of the Frankfurter Rundschau –  which leads today on an analysis of the German Social Democrats’ attitudes to despots – so that the only British paper on show is The Independent.

There may be people reading this who are sitting in an airport waiting to board a plane likely to be filled with copies of the Mail. Cover them up with the local paper. Let’s go Big Society here folks, and cut down on airborne mental pollution.

Must rush. Flight being called. Vorsprung durch Frankfurter Rundschau.

  • Realandyswede

    Don’t think you mean ‘rises in living standards’ in par 4

  • SylviaClifford

    Your arrangement of the rubbish at Frankfurt Airport is highly commendable, but please do a bit of re-arranging back in London. As everyone knows, Murdoch’s takeover bid for BSkyB has been given the go-ahead by Jeremy Hunt. From the Labour side, the same bold voices of John Prescott, Tom Watson and a few others have been vociferous about the link to the phone hacking scandal. But Ivan Lewis and the Labour front bench have put in a lamentable performance. Hunt was able to completely undermine them in Parliament yesterday.

    If anyone can tell them to move on now, it’s you Alastair. Hope you will feel able to because, until Labour behaves with some courage and credibility, there is effectively no opposition to the rise and rise of the Murdoch empire.

  • K J Taylor

    Rises in *the cost of* living standards surely!?

  • ambrosian

    You don’t have to be in an airport to re-arrange newspapers. Many of us routinely cover the Mail and Sun with Mirrors and Guardians in our local newsagents and supermarkets. It’s classic Big Society community action.

    Re the by-election, Clegg will not be amused that his candidate made matters worse by telling the BBC that he suffered insults and abuse up to 50 times a day during the campaign, ‘traitor’ being one of the few that was broadcastable. His minder, if he had one, was obviously stood down much too quickly.

  • Duncan Phipp-macintyre

    Excellent. Vox populi….
    one does not have to be divine to see Dismal Dave and the Doomed Lacklustre DrearyCrass to know that the writing is on the wall. From King Belshazzar to Barnsley – let’s interpret the omen. This foolish bunch have failed.
    A beautiful statement from the Tykes.

  • Ehtch

    Daily Mail? Yes Alastair, they can suck my stump too.

  • Steve Cooke

    Well done on the “rearranging”. You know I was not prepared to believe Peter Sissons (ex-BBC newsreader now retired) who said in his book that he could never find the Daily Mail at the BBC News Room. I was even more sceptical when Richard Bacon (R5 Live) said all newspapers were delivered in bundles to the BBC & cast further doubt on Sissons’ claims.
    But now I know that it is entirely possible, thanks to Goebbels. I mean if you can “rearrange” the Mail in a public place such as an airport, imagine what staff at the “left-wing in the DNA” BBC could do with the Mail.
    Thanks, Josef.

  • Quinney

    I stayed up until 1-30am to watch the result and it was well worth it. I also kept switching over to the BBC’s parliament channel where there was a culture, media and sport debate. Once thing that struck me was that this new cohort of tory treat the commons like a rich persons club and look completely detatched from reality with their smug grins and stupid comments.

  • Anonymous

    How in heaven did that happen? Probably because I linked it to our website. The point being is that comment was from me, not Sylvia Clifford. Hate the way the internet decides who you are. Can’t blame Rupert Murdoch for that. Or can I?

  • N J Mayes

    This fits nicely with your general worldview as government communications director, namely that people should be prevented from reading things that are uncomfortable for your particular party and which differ from your particular viewpoint.

  • Steva

    An excellent result, nice to see both the Tory vote and Liberal vote crumbling as well.

  • Gilliebc

    So Murdoch’s bid for BSkyB succeeded, what a surprise!
    There is however a glimmer of hope on the horizon. As some political commentator (I forget who) pointed out, Murdoch is fast approaching 80 years of age, none of us go on forever. This commentator was speculating that after he’s gone his companies are likely to be broken up and redistrubuted. Amongst his heirs and successors I assume and they may have different ideas perhaps. We can only hope.

    AC those of us who read your blog posts regularly know full well what you meant when you mentioned rises in living standards. The fact that these words were preceded by the words job losses and cuts were a bit of a clue.

  • mickym

    Well done Dan Jarvis, i watched the results come im. Will Cameron be cosying up to the BNP and UKIP now in order to keep his majority end up?

    I had to laugh when the Loony Tune candidate started reading Dans speech over his shoulder and mouthing the words, i thought the telly had a dodgy shadow on it.

  • Gilliebc

    Very good win for Dan Jarvis in the by-election. He seems like a good guy.
    As for the LibDems, OMG I’m trying not to laugh here but, I’ve had a long held belief that the Liberals and now the LibDems are irrelevant. I cannot help feeling a little sorry for Nick Clegg though. When he took his party into a coalition with the Tories after the GE in May last year, I choose to believe he did it for what he believed were the right reasons. i.e. there was no alternative at that time, Labour having been well and truly rejected. The public wouldn’t have accepted a deal with them. Nick Clegg was between a rock and a hard place. He still is actually.
    As for the Daily (liar) Mail. I always have to fight the urge to set fire to it.
    When I see a big pile of them, I have to fight the urge even more!

  • yes of course as the blog points out it is a safe labour seat, however i believe that if the lib dems had not betrayed their long held progressive values in order to get a sniff of power and prop up a tory led government, then they would have probably done a lot better and would have come a decent second as they did before the election, if the lib dems had any sense they would have let the tories form a minority government and then they should have formed a centre left alliance with labour and fought the tories in the inevitable second general election that would have come pretty soon afterwards, charles keenedy a real lib dem dosent support the formation of the coalition because he dosent like the policies and values of it and also he knows that if the lib dems carry on, then it will be death for their party, lets not forget that the liberal democrats were formed when people said that labour would never form a government again and tried to be the real alternative to the right wing conservative government of the day, vince cable himself said that he had fought the tories his entire political life, but now he is one of the key members of the tory led government, even after his talk of nuclear weapons and wars with murdoch, the lib dems i believe have made a historic mistake in joing up with the tories, and many of them will now be very worried for what the future holds for their party, for labour is gaining momentum and doing a good job in re-establishing itself as the party of the moderate majority, it is not going back making old mistakes of going into its far left comfort zone, they have got a good strong and steady leader in Ed Miliband and slowly but surely they will regain the trust of the british people who i suspect dont believe the coalition propoganda that labour created the deficit nonsense, and eventually labour will dominate the centre ground and be elected again

  • Anonymous

    Not again! I am not f****ing Sylvia Clifford (she won’t mind expletive), who has not made any comment on this blog. For the third time, I am the anti Murdoch pain in neck, Jacquie R, obviously! If this comment appears under the name of “Sylvia Clifford” again, be very worried!

  • Robert

    With Dan Jarvis in place perhaps we can start seeing proper analysis of how the Tory government is treating the armed forces?

    Also, perhaps some push back against the Tory leaning military Top Brass who have been spouting the line that the Labour government were not effective in controlling military spending. Actually, Mr Top Brass, that’s what we pay YOU to do in this modern age of management by objectives.

  • Dave Simons

    Not at all. It represents a little gesture of balancing the overwhelmingly predominant Tory-dominated lines which shout from newstands all over the land. I’m all for a challenge of ideas but the prevailing situation is one of sheer greed – little dissent gets a look in. And believe me, I think dissent has moved and continues to move this country and the world forward, not conservatism.

  • Jonners

    You so sad person! This result was never in doubt apart from the eventual order.

  • Jonners

    You so sad person! This result was never in doubt apart from the eventual order.

  • Dave Simons

    ‘Some are born Sylvia Clifford, some aspire to be Sylvia Clifford, and some have Sylvia Clifford thrust upon ’em.’
    With apologies to Shakespeare it sounds like a definite case of the third option!

  • Phil

    Since the Daily Star started giving sympathetic coverage to the EDL, I’ve likewise made a habit of covering up that vile paper with a Mirror.

  • Jacquie R

    Ha ha! Shame he never never asked “Who is Jacquie?”

  • Dave Simons

    There’s nothing sad about enjoying yourself and hearing some good news. Of course it was a Labour safe seat, but what was crucial was the order of the defeated, particularly the place of the LibDems. Normally the Lib Dems would at least have retained their deposit. Remember, it’s only ten months since one of the most short-lived words in the English language dominated the airwaves – ‘Cleggmania’. Let’s wait for the local elections in May. –

  • gailatnumber39

    Last Wednesday, WH Smith were giving free copies of The Times together with your own bought paper. I did tell the very nice man at the counter that I didn’t read Murdoch owned papers but he insisted I should take up the offer. So with my Times under my arm, I cast it straight into the nearest recycling bin. Leftover Mail’s on tube or trains could accidentally be trodden on as they fall to the floor.

  • Ehtch

    I like Jamie Oliver, and when he does with me, so what, Marsheaux,

  • Anonymous

    Teehee, I love the idea of you hiding copies of the Mail from those in peril!
    I do that, but come on, you were Tony Blair’s press guy for all those years, surely you’re beyond all that now…..
    (Very glad to hear you’re not)

  • Jason Lewis

    the piece on despots must have made interesting reading considering where you were flying from that day Alastair? Want to discuss it?