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16 October 2019

Commons Confidential: the Bean Counter and the Boss

My snout was entertained to see Sajid Javid sitting next to Bruce Springsteen for the premiere of Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman.

By Kevin Maguire

Jeremy Corbyn may have reached the end of the road with Karie Murphy during a row about parliamentary selections. My snout whispered that the pair had a heated argument during a car journey, the leader slamming the brakes on his chief of staff’s demand that he intervene in targeted constituencies.

Corbyn, the informant murmured, insisted he wouldn’t be involved in “any more” seats, which suggests he’s aware at the very least that his office is scuppering and promoting candidates and MPs. Spin doctor Seumas Milne is also in the sights of Corbyn’s comrades John McDonnell and Diane Abbott in the revenge of the elected left against unelected apparatchiks. Murphy once declared Milne would be moved “over my dead body”. She’s gone to the party’s Southside HQ.

Tory austerity personality Sajid Javid is the kind of chancellor who might think “Tougher Than the Rest” is an economic goal, so my snout was entertained to see him sitting next to Bruce Springsteen for the premiere of Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman at the London Film Festival. Small-talk might have been tricky between the British right-whinger with a Thatcher portrait on his wall and a leftie champion of blue-collar America. I expect the Boss asked the Bean Counter about his new approach to fiscal policy in an age of the exhaustion of monetary instruments.

Boris Johnson isn’t on Labour wit Kevin Brennan’s Christmas card list after wrecking the Cardiff West MP’s 60th birthday celebrations. Bozo’s Brexit shenanigans cut short the rugby nut’s plans to watch Wales in Japan at the World Cup, then parliament’s scheduled Saturday sitting forced Brennan to cancel a party. Had the blundering PM enjoyed as much progress delivering Brexit as he has ruining Brennan’s three score, the UK would already be out of Europe.

First the good news: Sheffield Council’s Labour leader, Julie Dore, and chief engine of the Aslef train drivers’ union, Mick Whelan, are officially to unveil a “with love and respect” plaque outside the town hall later this month commemorating Bill Ronksley, a lifelong trade unionist and communist who was secretary of the steel city’s TUC. Ronksley’s claim to fame was greeting Picasso at Sheffield station in 1950 to take the Spanish refugee painter to a peace conference. Now for the bad: Brother Bill’s name is misspelt “Ronskley” on the memorial tablet. We’ll never forget old comrade what’s-his-name.

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I hear David Cameron played tennis with Rachel Johnson to glean what brother Boris is up to. Trying to finish what you started and double fault the country, Dave? 

Kevin Maguire is the associate editor(politics) of the Daily Mirror

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This article appears in the 16 Oct 2019 issue of the New Statesman, Syria’s forever war