You can take the man
out of the leadership, but you can’t take the leadership out of the man.
Oh, he will love that
one will John Prescott. He always had a soft spot for my soundbite-crafting. He
just didn’t like people to know.
How many times did he
tell me that he couldn’t be doing with the spin and the slogans? As he once
memorably said, is this what it has all come to, fuckin’ words mumbo-jumbo blah
blah blah? — but truth be told one man’s spin is another man’s communications,
and one thing for sure – JP is a bloody good communicator, no matter where the
verb sometimes ends up.
So twelve years on from
the day of the 1997 General Election that brought us to power, JP having put in
thousands of miles on his battlebus during that campaign, what will he be up to
this May Day weekend? He’s back on the road again.
Not for JP the quiet
life of the pensioner. Nor for him any defeatism that says the polls are bad,
the economic numbers are bad, and so we might as well head home and just wait
for the Old Etonian brigade to take over.
He will hotfoot from
Jack Jones’s funeral in Peckham on Friday morning, (May Day) get up to
Liverpool to launch the tour with Eddie Izzard (yes, him again, I told you he
was serious) and then the Prescott Express battle bus will visit 12 towns and
cities across the Bank Holiday Weekend, finishing on Monday in Hull.
And because he is a
canny old bugger, and he knows Burnley have a vital home match on Sunday, he
has roped me in for the Keighley leg on Saturday (my birthplace) and a rally in
Leeds in the evening. He has threatened to drive his battlebus himself, so I
will be making my own transport arrangements.
You can get details of
all the places he will be visiting on the Go Fourth website. He is trying
to fund the weekend’s events, Obama-like, through small donations which people
can make at http://www.gofourth.co.uk/donate
And, further cementing
his position as someone who ‘gets’ the new media, even if he thinks media is a
dirty word, supporters and voters will be able to follow his progress on the Go
Fourth website, as he campaigns across the North, via Google Map, Twitter, vlog
films and his blog. People will be invited by Facebook and ‘old’ media to join
him and Labour’s European candidates to talk politics at each stop. ‘Traditional
campaigning in a modern setting,’ he calls it. You see, he’s not bad at the
Together with Dick
Caborn and Glenys Kinnock, JP and I launched Go Fourth at last autumn’s party
conference when things were particularly difficult for Gordon and the
government. They are certainly difficult again now, and all the more reason for
Labour supporters to get out there defending the record, spelling out the
reality of the Tory Party, and engaging in debate on policy ideas for the