Old Labour Comforts

<em>The Labour Party is 100 years' old</em>

"You are old, Father Dobson," the young man said;

"As old as the party, I'll swear;

And yet you repeatedly fall on your head -

Do you think, at your age, this is fair?"

"In my youth," Father Dobson replied with a grin,

"I know that my body was brisker,

But now that I see there's some beard on my chin,

I like to squeak in by a whisker."

"You are old, Father Dobson," the young man cried,

"And your votes have been counted in blocks.

Yet you claim that the members are all on your side -

Pray, what is your mandate (approx)?"

"In my youth," said the wily old fox, with a leer,

"I knew how to jig and to amble,

But if you report me, you're out on your ear,

And I have the word of a Campbell."

This article first appeared in the 28 February 2000 issue of the New Statesman, Why the party still needs its soul