Thursday 25 May 2017

The Grown-Up Candidate

I am delighted that their campaign has transformed the Durham Teaching Assistants from political novices into dedicated activists. But I do not resile from my criticism that they have allowed themselves to become overly dependent on gurus and mentors who were, in reality, barely more experienced at proper politics than they themselves were.

As a result, due to the failure to declare explicitly for the re-election of all non-Labour members of Durham County Council, and for the defeat of all Labour candidates without exception, that party has managed to retain overall control of that authority. Therefore, it is necessary to punish Labour in County Durham by other means, namely by re-electing Grahame Morris while defeating all other Labour candidates in this county at the forthcoming General Election.

One of those candidates walked out of the Teaching Assistants' Solidarity Rally, a Rally that had given a standing ovation to the two non-Labour Councillors for Consett North, both of whom have since been re-elected, and one of whom is now that walker out's Liberal Democrat opponent for Parliament. But she, Laura Pidcock, is exceptionally close to the gurus and mentors who think that a quarter-century of demonstrating and newspaper-vending on the streets, noble and important in themselves but hardly the be all and end all of grown-up politics, is in itself enough to qualify them as seasoned politicians.

Therefore, there are those among the TAs who even appear to be supporting Pidcock against Owen Temple, who is, with Alex Watson (one of my own Campaign Patrons), one of the two County Councillors to have done the most for them, as they rapturously acknowledged at their own Solidarity Rally. Seated right next to Owen and Alex, I participated fully in that rapture. While disagreeing with almost everything in the Liberal Democrat manifesto, while agreeing with almost everything in the Labour manifesto, and while aching for Jeremy Corbyn to become Prime Minister, I am proud to be a mere fortnight away from voting for Owen to serve as my MP.

But then, my formative and ongoing political experiences have been and are as a Parish Councillor, as a governor of two schools, around even if never quite on the old Derwentside District Council, as a member of the Durham Police and Crime Commissioner's Community Panel, and as a governor of the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust. I have no background in, nor have I the slightest affinity with, that which Lenin called "an infantile disorder".

Hence, one of my Campaign Patrons served for many years as the Leader of the Derwentside District Council of which he always said that I ought to have been a member (but my Branch preferred pure blood Aryan pretty boys who knew about football and pop music, no matter how unelectable they were), chairing the North East Regional Assembly and earning himself the OBE. While my other Campaign Patron was first elected to Parliament 30 years ago, has been the MP for four constituencies in three cities, is on course to add a fifth seat in a fourth city, and is one of the most immediately recognisable politicians in the English-speaking and several other worlds.

As a grown-up, backed by grown-ups, I am telling you that Owen Temple is the grown-up candidate in North West Durham, and the only true friend of the Teaching Assistants on the ballot paper here.

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