Charlie Whelan says . . .

Don't believe it - "Prominent Labour politican defects"

The Independent had its election exclusive: "Labour MP defects to Lib Dems over Iraq". Well, actually, Brian "Who?" Sedgemore isn't a Labour MP any more - he isn't even standing again - and is such a "prominent Labour politician" that the Indie didn't even give us his name until the second paragraph of the story.

How we all hate turncoats, and Sedgemore is no exception. With his fellow Old Testament Prophets (a dining club) he eats out at posh restaurants. A sad life, if you ask me. Sedgemore first became an MP in 1974, but has since achieved nothing, and leaving the Commons denied him even the odd mention in his local paper. He has rectified that with his "famous for 15 minutes" splash, but he'll soon be back in the dustbin of history.

A similar but much sadder event occurred in Scotland a few days earlier. My old comrade Jimmy Reid who, with Jimmy Airlie, led the Clyde shipyard workers' sit-in joined the third party of his career, the SNP. It's sad, because Jimmy had achieved something great in his life, and by joining the Scottish Nationalists in his advancing years has lost so much respect. Despite his pleas, none of his old comrades joined him, and Airlie would have been turning in his grave - if we hadn't put his ashes in the River Feshie at the foot of the Cairngorms.

Neither of these defections will change the election result and, much as many of us would love to give Tony Blair a "bloody nose", we aren't actually voting for him. As Sedgemore admits, "Look at Blair in the shadow of Gordon Brown and you can see the power ebbing away from him."

Precisely. That is why so many anti-war activists will hold their nose and vote Labour. Blair has already got the message.

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