"See ya later, ex dictator": a year in Twitmericks

"There was an old man from the Nile / Of odious crocodile smile"

Among all the year end reviews, here's something a little bit different. Mick Hodgkin has been tweeting the news each day in the form of a limerick - and naturally within the 140 word character limit.

Mick is a programme editor for Al Jazeera, a former colleague, an Arsenal fan (oh, yes) and clearly a talented and dedicated limerick writer. Here's a selection -- and there are more over here. Happy New Year!

 

SEE YA LATER, EX-DICTATOR
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -
There was an old man from the Nile
Of odious crocodile smile
But as every dictator
Should sooner or later
Mubarak is now standing trial.

 

MOBILE HACKERS CAUGHT BY THE KNACKERS
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -
News International's Rebekah
Ended up as a newspaper wrecker
A media vandal
At fault in the scandal
But so were those failing to check 'er.

 

LIAM FOX TAKES SOME KNOCKS
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Pseudo Fox aide Adam Werritty
Acted the part with dexterity
But it takes cash to fly
Every month to Dubai
So who was behind his prosperity?

 

SEPP BLATTER, MAD AS A HATTER?
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -
That funny old man Mr Blatter
Says racist abuse doesn't matter
Shake hands, it's a game
Nobody's to blame
But fans want his head on a platter.

 

 

Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

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Benn vs McDonnell: how Brexit has exposed the fight over Labour's party machine

In the wake of Brexit, should Labour MPs listen more closely to voters, or their own party members?

Two Labour MPs on primetime TV. Two prominent politicians ruling themselves out of a Labour leadership contest. But that was as far as the similarity went.

Hilary Benn was speaking hours after he resigned - or was sacked - from the Shadow Cabinet. He described Jeremy Corbyn as a "good and decent man" but not a leader.

Framing his overnight removal as a matter of conscience, Benn told the BBC's Andrew Marr: "I no longer have confidence in him [Corbyn] and I think the right thing to do would be for him to take that decision."

In Benn's view, diehard leftie pin ups do not go down well in the real world, or on the ballot papers of middle England. 

But while Benn may be drawing on a New Labour truism, this in turn rests on the assumption that voters matter more than the party members when it comes to winning elections.

That assumption was contested moments later by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.

Dismissive of the personal appeal of Shadow Cabinet ministers - "we can replace them" - McDonnell's message was that Labour under Corbyn had rejuvenated its electoral machine.

Pointing to success in by-elections and the London mayoral election, McDonnell warned would-be rebels: "Who is sovereign in our party? The people who are soverign are the party members. 

"I'm saying respect the party members. And in that way we can hold together and win the next election."

Indeed, nearly a year on from Corbyn's surprise election to the Labour leadership, it is worth remembering he captured nearly 60% of the 400,000 votes cast. Momentum, the grassroots organisation formed in the wake of his success, now has more than 50 branches around the country.

Come the next election, it will be these grassroots members who will knock on doors, hand out leaflets and perhaps even threaten to deselect MPs.

The question for wavering Labour MPs will be whether what they trust more - their own connection with voters, or this potentially unbiddable party machine.