The Stamping of Little Feet

By Maguire, Kevin | New Statesman (1996), June 12, 2006 | Go to article overview

The Stamping of Little Feet


Maguire, Kevin, New Statesman (1996)


* A passable My Little Pony tantrum from the socialite Chris Bryant when asked to sit on a panel created by Hazel Blears, chair of little Labour, and do some liaising with socialist comrades on the Continent. The Rhondda rogue raised hackles by demanding a grand title, suggesting to the Mrs Pepperpot of politics that he should be made a party vice-chair or European secretary--something nice for the letterhead. Major Eric Joyce is to do the job instead, without a Westminster rank.

* Tie-and-blazer Freemason Bob Neill would have struggled to make Citizen Dave's Z-team, let alone his A-list, but the thirsty London Assembly member will fly the blue flag in the Bromley by-election. A Whitehall plan was hatched, I gather, with the approval of Sir Humphrey, Gus "I'll Sort It" O'Donnell, to knight Eric Forth on his deathbed. The cancer was swifter than the bureaucrats, so word in Tory circles is of discreet lobbying for an honour for Forth's wife, Carroll.

* Red Ken has joined the Barbour brigade. His political odyssey from upstart to respectability is confirmed by the addition to his wardrobe of the waxed jacket so beloved of Tory county types. Mr Mayor picked up the garment on a foray north to South Shields and a public lecture for David "Wellies" Miliband, the city-boy farming minister. Barbour Ken was described as a "good friend" of Wellies, Labour's left and right uniting in the unlikely setting of a Tyneside clothing factory.

* Raised eyebrows in a BBC studio as a tieless Francis Maude explored the boundaries of touchy-feely Toryism by running his hand through the hair of the former MP-turned-voice of Middle England, Matthew Parris. …

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