The Returning Officer: South Molton

R P (Rudolph) Messel was the Labour candidate for South Molton in 1929 and 1931; he also stood for Croydon South in the 1932 by-election and Birmingham Aston in 1935. He was an Oxford contemporary of Evelyn Waugh; both were members of the “Hypocrites Club”. In 1936, he was asked to go to Colombia to trace a group of German refugees from Hitler who had gone there to try to establish a colony.

In Refuge in the Andes (1939), he wrote about the problem of Nazi influence in the region: “However melodramatic it might sound, the hand of the Gestapo was clutching at the Colombian-Andes, and for all I know, at Chile, Peru and Ecuador as well.”

This article first appeared in the 28 May 2014 issue of the New Statesman, The elites vs the people

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Telegraph rebrands shadow cabinet member Diane Abbott MP “Corbyn’s former lover”

Shadow international development secretary in demotion by rightwing newspaper SHOCK.

Diane Abbott is a Labour MP, and has been since 1987. She is now in the shadow cabinet, as shadow international development secretary. She's a pretty senior politician, all told. But this hasn't stopped the Telegraph choosing to describe her as "Corbyn's former lover". In a story that has nothing to do with the Labour leader, or the MP's past relationship with him.

In fact, there's no sex in this story at all. It's about a traffic scheme.

Here's how they promoted it on Twitter:

And here's the first line of the piece:

General sexism in reporting aside, your mole can't help thinking there were other traffic concerns at play when this piece was written...

I'm a mole, innit.