Saturday, September 02, 2017

John O'Farrell voted for Kate Hoey

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For years after he published Things Can Only Get Better in 1998, John O'Farrell was everywhere.

Though he was funny, I found him annoying. That was because, while trading as a satirist of all parties and all politicians, he was in reality a Labour loyalist.

He fought Maidenhead (and Theresa May) for Labour at the 2001 general election and popped up again as their candidate in the 2013 Eastleigh by-election.

It was not so much that O'Farrell ignored Labour as a humourist, it was that he used humour to deflect criticism rather than expose the party.

Time has moved on, and he has now published Things Can Only Get Worse.

Chris Mullin reviewed it for the Guardian today and quoted a passage that shows this deflection tactic is still in full working order:
In the 2017 election campaign O’Farrell, an ardent pro-remainer, had another little dilemma to grapple with. He had the bad luck to be living in the constituency of Kate Hoey, one of only a handful of Labour MPs who were Brexiters. Through his letter box each week came Lib-Dem leaflets depicting Hoey cosying up to Nigel Farage. 
What to do? Does he follow the example of his wife and tear up his Labour party card or does he soldier on? In the end, he sticks with Labour. 
“I am married to the Labour party for better or worse, in sickness and health, in Kinnock and in Blair. And sometimes they drive me mad, and I feel embarrassed and ashamed, but much more often I feel proud.” As for Hoey, “she’s that auntie in Kettering who got crossed off the Christmas card list; she’s my nutty cousin who got drunk at the wedding and took a swing at the vicar, but she is still related (twice removed, maybe)”.
Hoey is league with forces that seek to roll back Labour's every achievement. And even if you think that too dramatic, the economic slump that Brexit is likely to cause will make it impossible for any incoming Labour government to do what it desires.

But O'Farrell makes a joke, we laugh and he moves on.

It's not that I think O'Farrell should have torn up his own Labour membership care, it's just that I think he should not have voted for Kate Hoey.

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