I have it on good notice that the media have failed to report a shock Labour protest outside Downing Street on Saturday afternoon, so confirming, for me, the Labour establishment bias at the BBC, although admittedly not elsewhere. This demonstration was small but determined and the message clear. There were no more than than a couple of dozen people taking part, but their import was dramatic . Slogans, and placards told their story: ‘Jobs for all ex-Labour ministers’ and ‘We demand to serve.’ Buckets by the roadside collected a fair amount of small coins but demonstration spokesmen refused to reveal how much.
A well-known former Labour woman leader of distinction, I think her name was Blewett or something like that, voiced the feeling of them all. ‘It is wrong’ it was said, ‘ that Frank and Alan should be given preference over us. Our service to the country has been just as long and distinguised as their own and many of us are down to our last few thousand. We would not have minded if this selection by the Coalition had been after formal consultation with our group but despite our emails and Twitters to Tory HQ we have been ignored. The Coalition is fond of fine words and they give lip service to consultation. They talk of building a Big Society tent embracing us all. But they have fallen at the first fence and failed to call us. Their fine words butter no parsnips. Mrs Blewett added, ‘This is not personal, of course, although it is well-known in the Labour Party that Frank is a nutter and entirely incapable of devising a practical proposal of any kind.’ A Mr Shyers made a similar jibe that as far as he could remember Alan had been responsible for cleaning services at No.10 and for installing new hatstands. This demonstration did not seem to be supported by bystanders who sbouted jibes such as ‘ Traitors’ and ‘Greed is your only philosophy.’ So showing us that they were out of step with the non-ideological basis of the New Politics.
A Downing Street spokesman issued a short statement. ‘We have sympathy with the protestors but they must be patient. We have the partiulars of 113 former Labour ministers on file. Some have given us helpful suggestions of the roles they would like to fulfill for the Coalition. It is not possible to employ them all in the short term but we have them all in mind.’
I do not think that statements like this will satisfy the demonstrators. It is likely that we shall have further protests and there is talk among the women of chaining themselves to the Downing Street railings. We shall see.