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[/audioplayer]‘Tory, Tory, Tory. You’re a Tory.’ The level of hatred directed by the Corbyn left at Labour people who have fought Tories all their lives is as menacing as it is ridiculous. If you are a woman, you face misogyny. Kate Godfrey, the centrist Labour candidate in Stafford, told the Times she had received death threats and pornographic hate mail after challenging her local left.
‘Jeremy Corbyn night’ at the Forum in Kentish Town on Monday should have been a scene of orgiastic pleasure for socialist Labour. Corbyn’s victory was the triumph the grand old reactionaries of north London have been waiting a generation for. But they weren’t happy; they were as angry and full of bile as ever.
The scene took me right back to my childhood in Islington in the 1970s. My neighbours in the queue outside the Forum had posher voices than you hear at Annabel’s.
Do you want to see Paula Radcliffe’s blood? If so, you’re not alone. Radcliffe, three-time winner of the London Marathon has been outed as a drugs cheat by the Tory MP Jesse Norman. No proof, but proof is for wimps. Radcliffe’s name will now always have a certain stink.
Norman used parliamentary privilege to talk about 'the winners or medallists at the London Marathon, potentially British athletes.
Ben Carson is relaxed. ‘He’s always relaxed,’ says an aide. The next televised Republican primary debate is two days away, but Dr Carson is about to begin his first rehearsal for it. The preternatural calm he exudes is presumably what gave him his steady hands during the 22-hour operation that led to him becoming the first surgeon to successfully separate Siamese twins fused at the head.
Shortly before the last election a group of Labour MPs approached Ed Miliband to ask him what he would do if he lost. They suggested he could provide stability by staying on as leader for a while, as Michael Howard had done, and that his last duty should be to oversee an inquiry into what went wrong at the general election. Miliband, still convinced he would win, did not entertain the idea, to the dismay of his policy chief, Jon Cruddas.
Well, of course the Assisted Dying Bill failed. It mattered not a jot that an overwhelming majority of public opinion urged its success; it was always going to fail and the only surprising thing is that anybody is surprised. I’ll bet my teeth on a few more certainties, too. Last week the required 200,000 people put down their spliffs long enough to sign a petition in favour of decriminalising cannabis and thus, in October, the matter will be debated by MPs.
Sikander and I are sitting at a small table in a small shed. The shed is filled floor-to-ceiling with books: chick lit, thrillers and a neat set of Agatha Christies line the shelves, alongside a large atlas, a few dictionaries and grammars, and the thin green spines of children’s learning-to-read books. More books spill out of boxes stacked in the corner, and pens, notepads, bags of clothes, a globe, a guitar and a game of Battleships are useful flotsam.
The reaction of the chap on the door at Le Bidule told me that they weren’t used to seeing English stag parties in La Baule. His eyes narrowed and a scowl spread across his face. Marching up to our sober stag, dressed for the evening in typical Gallic attire, he finger-wagged aggressively at the beret, fake moustache and string of garlic. ‘Ça, ça et ça — non,’ came straight from the de Gaulle school of diplomacy.