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23 May 2008updated 05 Oct 2023 8:46am

Madness and class war

Schoolboy errors when it comes to mocking the posh plus what does the future hold for one Alan Milbu

By Paul Evans


The last time the Tories won a by-election, Madness’ House of Fun was top of the charts. Happily for Brown, parliamentary recess will spare him the trial of facing braying victors in the House, though it seems likely that the Conservatives will still have some fun at his expense.

And Iain Dale used the aftermath of Edward Timpson’s victory to have a dig at the NSKevin Maguire, claiming that Labour’s disastrous campaign had drawn inspiration from his Daily Mirrror blog:

“It was entirely based on Maguire’s schoolboy class based attacks. Well done, Kevin. We salute you.”

And sure enough, class war did burn to the end in Crewe. A hastily assembled blog called Keep The Tories Out of Crewe and Nantwich complained of Edward Timpson that:

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“His rich family also allowed ‘Ed’ to go to university at Durham; a place known for taking those plummy-voiced public-school toffs who weren’t good enough to get into Oxford or Cambridge.”

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But the revelation during the campaign that Labour’s posho-baiting juvenile activist Alex Morris attended fee-paying Manchester Grammar School prompted much derision. Left-wing blog grimmerupnorth darkly noted that this was “a crass message to the electorate,” while fiercely loyal Chris Paul restricted himself to saying that it was “pretty funny”.

More criticism came from the Ask Andy clothing chat forums, where it was pointed out that:

“The ‘toffs’ are seen wearing hired morning coats, ill fitting trousers, no waistcoats, unbuttoned jazzy kipper ties and button down collars, with naff grey felt toppers and canes (I don’t think canes have been part of morning dress since about 1925, and anyway, one should wear gloves with them).”

Tsk. Minor Public School I’m Afraid.

Labour had pulled out all the stops, boasting support from the manager of Manchester United Football Club and some old girl from Corrie, but still handed a 7,860 majority to the Tory contender, Edward Timspon.

Having been goaded by Dale, the last word should go to Maguire. On the eve of Labour defeat, he pointed out that defections and whip withdrawals mean that:

“Edward “Timmy” Timpson’s expected by-election victory in Crewe and Nantwich will still leave David Cameron with three fewer seats than the Cons won in 2005.”

Dorries’ right to lose

Dodgy medical arguments reared their heads this week, as the parties granted their MPs a temporary license to engage in independent thought, in a Commons free vote on the upper time limit for abortions. The amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which would have reduced the limit from 24 to 20 weeks, was moved by blogging MP Nadine Dorries.

Tim Montgomerie, editor of Conservative Home, declared victory before the debate proper had even taken place, presumably anticipating the actual result of the vote, a clear defeat. He argued that:

“Her campaign – which has been featured by every major broadcaster and newspaper – has reminded people that the unborn child has humanity.”

But NHS Blog Doctor was distinctly unimpressed, and commented:

“I would like to chain Nad to a cinema seat and make her watch endless films of terrified teenage girls dying in agony from perforated uteruses after botched backstreet abortions.”

What have we learned this week?

A report by defector Quentin Davies MP has recommended an Armed Forces Day for the UK. Self-declared “left-ish supporter of liberal interventionism,” Martin in the Margins, had mixed feelings about the news.

Meanwhile, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has recently returned from an action-packed trip to Afghanistan, and has been at pains to point out that the army might prefer it if we just give them some decent kit.

Across the Pond

Political Action Committee recently held a competition to create a film to sell Obama to the nation, judged by top Hollywood celebs. The winning entry came from Air Force Staff Sgt. John Weiler, a former Republican supporter. His ad can be viewed <a href="“>here.

Video of the Week

Industrial relations might not be ideal in the UK, but they’re rather rosier than those in Iran. This week in Shush, thousands joined the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane workers in asserting their right to receive unpaid wages and to be free from government anti-trade union harassment. Here, the crowds chant: “free jailed workers” and “down with Saedi” (the local MP).

Quote of the Week

“One thing I always believed though was that Milburn would return to frontline politics. Could this now be a case of ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man?’”

Paul Linford reflects on the future of the Labour party’s leadership.