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GB on the G20, JP on Jeremy Kyle

Posted on 27 February 2009 | 9:02am

I was at the
London Labour Party‘s fundraising dinner in Canary Wharf last night.

I was fully
intending to blog last night after getting back. But I got home just before midnight to find
my mouse had died. You can have all the online malarkey you want, but if your
mouse won’t go, and you don’t know where the batteries are

Batteries duly found this morning I then discovered it was the whole damned
computer that seemed to be having a bad day. Computer rage set in, but it did no

So this comes via a BlackBerry via a friend (I have not yet
learned how to do the blog from the BlackBerry). 

Anyway, the dinner. GB was the main
speaker and on good form as he set out some of his hopes for the flurry of
international dialogue, and in particular the G20 in early April, to frame a
new global response to the recent economic upheaval.

JP was perhaps
less diplomatic with his analysis, making some pretty robust comments on Fred the
and RBS Ambassador Jackie Stewart.

And I was the
warm up man for GB and JP, so just reminded people of the time JP decided the
best way to connect with the electorate was to thump them, and pointed out we
went on to win despite the most disaster prone election launch in history.
(Sharron Storer haranguing TB outside a hospital, Jack Straw slow-handclapped by
the cops
, then the JP punch).

So there’s
always hope!

JP and I are both new converts to online activity and he was flashing his new
toys for all to see. He said when he sought advice on what laptop to get, he
was told just to sit next to a civil servant or a spy on the train, and they’d
leave it for him.

He continued to
have trouble with his words from time to time. At one point he announced that
he had just been on the Jeremy Kyle show and I thought no, please, don’t tell
me his publisher got him onto that to promote his book.

But when I asked
him about it on the tube home, it turned out he meant Jeremy Vine. Phew. 

But as ever with John, there was a serious message to his speech,
which boiled down was that the next election is going to be a tough fight and
the organisation on the ground is going to be as important as ever. But so is
the campaign online and we need to be engaging better than ever.

Stephen Pound did the auction, with the most money given for a signed copy of Barack Obama’s
book, and the least for one of mine! Mind you, we made up for it with a book

signing at the end with the party organisers charging way over the odds for my novel
and my diaries
, and I was dead chuffed that the novel sold out first.

As JP and I
walked towards the underground station at the end, he couldn’t resist pointing
out all the banks. ‘To think, we always dreamed that one day this would be

Even if not in these circumstances.

I’ll tell you
what though … He is still one hell of a campaigner.

  • Paula Rae

    Thanks for this Alistair, great to get more of an insight.
    JP IS without doubt making his mark online – I am impressed – direct comunication at last. Keep it up!

  • Marcus Dillistone

    I hope JP credited the guy on his waII for the MI6 Laptop gag! I aIso hope he gets a Mac as suggested.

  • Karen Redman

    Good old John! I know he’s tactless and muddles his words at times but there’s something really likeable about him and I always feel his heart – and mind – are very much in the right place.
    Have to say I was enormously moved by Gordon’s address to the Commons regarding the sad loss of the Camerons’ little boy. He also has a “presentation” problem but I’ve no doubt whatsoever that he’s a thoroughly decent man.

  • Mark Glover

    Good to speak to you last night. Enjoyed Gordon’s speech, but thrown by your comments on structured pants in my wife’s copy of the Gok Wan book. I feel the Party needs to balance the renewal of the old faces in the Party with some exciting new people – which sadly don’t seem to be given the profile at the moment. Good event and well done to Canary Wharf for hosting.

  • Brian Hughes

    “when I asked him about it on the tube home” – you’re a lucky man to have such company on the Tube. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had two very brief conversations with JP. What a fount of knowledge, good humour and enthusiasm he is.

    Before the 2001 election he and Ian McCartney did a fund raising tour that came to “a funny lttle theatre” (JP’s description when I reminded him about it) in Gloucester. If their careers in politics had faltered I think they could have cut a dash doing stand up…

  • Caroline Hett

    I’ve just spent a good few minutes wondering who on earth JP is; the penny dropped only when I arrived at the word ‘punch’.

  • Liam Curran

    Couldn’t make the dinner but reading this is (almost) as good as being there.

    John’s message is clear and stark about the failed bank bosses’ greedy, unwarranted bonuses. What we need is the Government to state unequivocally that all those type bonuses are wrong and that the failed bankers will not get them. At the moment, the Tories are unjustifiably appearing as though they care and would actually do something about it.

    Anyway, keep up the good work.

  • Mennard

    Enjoyed this a great insight into dining with the great and the good .

    Do you enjoy these affairs or is it very much ‘work’

    I would be interested to know what toys everyone uses to blog and tweet

    I am about to take the step to take my pc into court to type the evidence on a case and wondered if I would be able to cope with the pressure of doing so .


    I worry about policiticians using the web and blogs without perhaps ‘the love ‘ of doing so for its own sake. It may will look cheap and manipulative, damaging both . A tricky path to walk .Love yours and JP’s blog it should perhaps be left to the two of you.Is there anyone else perhaps I should be following ?

    I think JP and yourself would be fine on Jeremy Kyle ..the country would await revelations !