Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Village Life: An Irony Problem at the BNP, the Plot for the Speaker's Chair, and Second Prize for T Blair

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Village Life: An Irony Problem at the BNP, the Plot for the Speaker's Chair, and Second Prize for T Blair

Article excerpt

Irony is too subtle for the BNP Fuhrer Nick Griffin's goons, which presumably is why his heavies were unable to appreciate that the joke was on them during a canvassing blitzkrieg. The flag-waving patriots, posing as champions of Queen and country, invaded Sand well in a black, er, German-built Audi. The mockery of a Labour canvassing team on the streets of West Bromwich drew an appropriate response, one of Griffin's henchmen winding down the window to shout obscenities at John Spellar, the bearded MP for Warley. The incident is recorded in the West Midlands as the first occasion that Spellar, still a cold war warrior more than a dozen years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, suffered abuse from the right instead of the left.

Michael Martin's return after surgeons located and then re-bored the Speaker's heart has done little to dampen speculation over who will eventually succeed him, following accusations from Labour young guns that his ambitious stand-in, Sir Alan Haselhurst, tended to favour his own Tory colleagues. Upstarts plotting to manoeuvre a third successive Labour stalwart into the chair are discussing whom to champion, my chap with the big ears overhearing the names of Sylvia Heal, John Denham and awkward Chris Mullin. That of Gwyneth Dunwoody, parts of whom are thought to be older than the institution of speaker itself, was swiftly discounted. The tyros slapped a back-bench preservation order on the Crewe granny.

As he awaits a pay day, should Mrs O gush to Hello! …

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