Labour sleaze is a good read

WHEN the history of Tony Blair's administration is written, it will be dominated by Iraq and the constant bickering between supporters of the Prime Minister and his Chancellor.

WHEN the history of Tony Blair's administration is written, it will be dominated by Iraq and the constant bickering between supporters of the Prime Minister and his Chancellor.

But scratch the surface, and there is a festering stench of sleaze which many of us had hoped had disappeared when John Major's Tories were spectacularly dumped at the 1997 election.

A new book* compiled from internet blogs details the “top 100 New Labour sleaze scandals,” and is bang up to day, with a chapter on John Prescott's affair with Tracey Temple, the title of which even I dare not reprint.

The book is a cracking read, recalling Peter Mandelson's mortgages, Ron Davies badger hunting exploits on Clapham Common, Cherie Blair's freebie holidays, David Blunkett and Nannygate, Jo Moore burying bad news on the day of the 9-11 horrors, the death of Dr David Kelly, Tessa Jowell and mortgages, the resignation of Beverley Hughes, and the saga of Brazilian rent boys.

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It's not a book to appeal to Labour activists who believe the Government's achievements more than compensate for any alleged ministerial excesses, but it is a reminder that whichever party is in power, ministers and MPs become vulnerable to the lure of cash and sexual exploration.

*The Little Red Book of New Labour Sleaze is published by Politico's at £7.99. It will be updated regularly at

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CONGRATULATIONS to Bury St Edmunds Liberal Democrats, for revamping their monthly newsletter. It's now a full colour production, although I found it slightly worrying that the only front page image in the June edition was of Heinrich Himmler giving a Nazi salute, used to illustrate an anti identity cards story.

As with other parties, the Lib Dems are finding it hard to recruit candidates to fight next year's local government elections and the newsletter contains a plea for members to volunteer in St Edmundsbury and Mid Suffolk, With only two Lib Dem councillors in St Edmunsbury, it'll be an uphill struggle next year but the party's prospects are brighter in Mid Suffolk, where they need a gain of nine seats to take control.

WHILE John Prescott was playing croquet, hard working Labour Party activists were collecting the party's “Let's talk about pensions leaflet” and preparing to push them through letterboxes in Ipswich and elsewhere over the Bank Holiday weekend. I leave it to you to decide which activity was of more use to the party.

WORLD Cup fever grips the nation - well the English bit of it anyway - but there seems to be only one Scot who is actively cheering the boys on. Chancellor Gordon Brown, an avid supporter of Raith Rovers, says he's right behind the team. Would the real reason for this new found love of the auld enemy be anything to do with the fact that he needs the support of English Labour Party members to become leader? How cynical of me!

GOOD old Royal Mail. A long standing tradition is that I send a postcard home from the party conferences. The card posted at Royal Mail's stand at the Conservative Party conference in Blackpool last October arrived in Ipswich on May 26 - nearly eight months late.


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