I fear I may have offended the amiable Stanley Johnson – father of London’s new mayor. Stanley – a one-time Tory MEP and their enthusiastic if unsuccessful candidate for Teignbridge at the last general election – has expressed a desire to succeed his Bozza as MP for the über-safe Tory seat of Henley.
The news prompted me to fire off a rather cheeky email to Pa Johnson who occasionally contributes to newstatesman.com.
It read: “So Stanley, what’s the plan? You going to run in Henley and if so how will you still rumours that you are merely keeping Boris’s seat warm?”
Back came a very prompt reply:
If you look at Wisden you will see that there are plenty of night-watchmen who have gone on to score a century!
And although I never want a Tory to win, I do hope they give him a chance because – let’s face it – if Henley insists on voting Conservative (AND when things are going so badly for Lexus Dave, Oik and the crew!) we might as well have someone with a bit of wit and colour about them up the road in Westminster!
The lovable Kate Hoey and charismatic Frank Field excepted of course.
So apologies Stanley – no offence meant.
Anyway moving on.
Lindsey Hilsum – our woman in China – is going to be filing from Sichuan and the absolutely devastating earthquake which has taken the lives of thousands.
We’re also getting regular reports from inside Burma and some of the few Western aid workers operating in the cyclone-hit country. We’ve already heard from Save The Children child protection advisor Katy Barnett. You can donate and find out more about Save the Children‘s work in Burma by clicking on their website or give by going to the Disaster Emergencies Committee.
More from Katy later.
We’re also going to hear from Victor Hulbert, of the Adventist Development Relief Agency.
Other than that, this week we’ve had an article from India about the mistreatment of India’s hajiras – the 200,000 or so male to female transsexuals who often are subject to appalling harassment.
Deepa, a 72 year old hijra living in Mumbai, said: “Nobody says, ‘I’d love to be a hijra!’ Not if they know what happens to us. But what else can we do? A hijra has a man’s body, but the soul is a woman.” In order to scratch a living many hijras end up in prostitution. Others perform as wedding dancers and, in one region, as tax collectors. Check out this extraordinary story and find out how things may be changing for these people.
Bryan Gould, ex-Labour leadership hopeful, writes on what Gordon Brown must do if he is wants to win the next election.
In blogs we’ve got Sian Berry already thinking of her next campaign, Scotland’s foremost writer AL Kennedy, plus Paul Rodger’s Science Decoded and much more.