Thursday, 30 October 2008


... Dear Crouch End and Hornsey Labour Party,

Three weeks ago I telephoned your answerphone and asked for some information about how I could become active in my local party.

Ten days later I followed this up with another phone call and an e-mail. And now this e-mail number two.

Since I first spoke to your answerphone, Gordon Brown has spent 2.8 trillion pounds to bail out our banking system, Harry Redknapp has spent precisely nothing to facilitate the instant recovery of Tottenham Hotspur, Russell Brand has had to forgo his £200,000 a year BBC income and live solely off the earnings of his multimillion pound Hollywood career, and Leeds United have won three and lost three games yet somehow remain third in League One. Following them at the moment is not unlike following the Stock Exchange.

My original theory, that my telephone message was viewed by the massed throng of the local Labour Party as a prank call, doesn't hold water, as despite working regularly for the BBC I have yet to be suspended.

My current theory is that the original telephone message, with offers to become actively involved with the local Party, was met with such shock that it must have induced a heart attack in the person hearing it. Maybe that was the same person who is entrusted to answer the e-mails. In which case, I apologise for the pain I have caused, but in the meantime I'd still like to get involved in making Labour more interesting, and politics fun. Not much to ask is it?

Please contact me soon otherwise I may have to break in to your local offices and, assuming that they are totally empty, put things in there.

Many thanks


Friday, 24 October 2008


Houston we have had the occasional problem with the re-launch, crashing computers and blocked websites – my library computer still insists that this site be filed under pornography (in which case how come no one is looking at it?). So my attempts to go daily have been scuppered by a combination of technology and my own inefficiency.

And next week is half term, so for those of us with blogs and small children, something has to give. If only it was still legal to send the five year old up a chimney, I could continue writing this blog to no one in particular about saving the world in peace.

But before I go, I leave you with these two thoughts:
1) Two people have changed the political landscape this month – for ever.

Gordon Brown has shown that when the will is there, anything is possible. If spending vast sums of money is what it takes to stave off the collapse of the world banking system, then vast sums of money can be found. If enough people push for something (such as action on climate change) it can be achieved. Which leads me to:

Barack Obama, who has raised vast amounts of money from thousands and thousands of small donations. He has done the equivalent of what Trade Unions and the Labour party used to do ie fund fairness through small donations. He has shown the Labour Party over here how it can reinvent itself, as a mass member party no longer dependent on the wishes or money of high finance. Which leads me to:

2) It is now two and a half weeks since I phoned my local party, three days since I e-mailed them. What is going on? Am I the only person left in Crouch End who is a member of the Party.

Happy holidays reader.

See you next week.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008


I’ve always prided myself on my refusal to conform. Call it single-mindedness, individuality, justification for things going wrong in my personal and professional life – take your pick.

However, this time I’ve really decided to go for it. In the style of Michael Douglas in the movie Wall Street, tough-guy image built on the famous ‘braces and bracelets’ look, I am going to shout it from the rooftops – ‘Greed Is Good’!

Greed is good greed is good greed is good greed is good. No, I’m not being paid by the word. Just if you repeat something often enough it sticks.

That’s been the mantra on Wall Street and the city for two decades. And where did it get them? They got greedier and greedier and became bigger bullies so that no one dared to challenge them, then it all went horribly wrong.

So then what happened?

They got bailed out. A few people responsible lost their jobs. Nobody got hurt. Nobody died. Government remained in thrall to money.

What about those of us who’ve put the opposite view? That all that huge amount of wealth should be used to stave off climate change disasters? To feed the poor? To help Palestine become a proper country? To buy two tickets to see Lee Evans at the O2 stadium?

No one ever listens to us, talking reasonably in our thin weedy voices made meek by not eating enough red meat or driving enough sports cars through built-up areas.

What I learned in the playground aged five remains true today – the people who shout and scream the loudest are the ones who get their own way. We can all agree that we don’t like them, or that they’re spoilt, or unreasonable, but in the end we settle for a quiet life and give in, promising to fight them another day.

So what would happen if we all made a big row? If you and I and all our mates stamped our feet and screamed and yelled and shouted at our superiors that we wouldn’t stop until they implemented the Kyoto agreement – and once they’d done that we’d scream some more, and stamp our feet and roll around punching the ground with our fists until they cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent?

Come on then, let’s all be greedy. We know what we want – we want the world to be a safer place, we want to re-distruibute money and love more fairly around the world, we can’t stop fellow screamers and shouters with suicide bombs from blowing up trains but we can create conditions to stop more people signing up to their cause.

We’re not asking for much, just the world.


So, can we have our world back please mister?

Monday, 20 October 2008

5,4,3,2,1... RELAUNCH!

The story so far:
July 2008 – Britain’s Labour Party at an all-time low. Memberless, broke, heading for certain electoral defeat – what better time to re-join the club that no one wants to be a member of?
In my simple, modest way, I fashioned this blog as a singlehanded attempt to save the Labour Party. In the light of recent world events I have decided to move with the times, and package financial meltdown, climate change, nuclear war, and one other thing so terrible we don’t even know what it is yet – into one giant securitised portfolio of joy. So this is now a blog about my slightly less modest attempt to save the world. Only my method – rejoining the Labour Party - remains the same.

Why the Labour Party? You may well ask. Why in God’s name the Labour Party? Also entitled. Are you completely mad? Now you’ve overstepped the bounds of politeness, stranger. But a legitimate question nonetheless.

Well, my 561 point plan to save the world has to start somewhere. And while this blog can be read from Krakatoa to Kuala Lumpur, via Northampton (all places that will at some point in the future take heed of my benign scheme), I need a physical place and some people on whom to attempt my evil experiments, and to help me work out what the remaining 559 steps are. For all their spinelessness, American influenced warmongering and right-wing press-pandering xenophobia, they are, once again, my party, and the only party to supposedly represent the under-represented.
Why 561 steps? Well, that's the exact number of days left between now and the last possible date for a General Election in the UK. Gives me something to work towards.

So – step one – re-join the Labour Party. Done. Bald, deaf Jew joins yet another minority.

Step two – get in touch with my local party.

Regular reader (Hi Pete!) may remember that about two weeks ago I managed to track down the phone number of my local party. I rang them but never received a reply. Last week I picked up an e-mail address. In my bid to save the world, I am nothing if not persistent.

Step three. The journey begins… See you tomorrow.

Friday, 17 October 2008


And so, to the big re-launch, coming next week. Hence the 'new' in the above title - although that was the only place I could put it in the title without making it sound like something it isn't.

Looking back to the original parameters of this blog, the Labour Party, has, for the moment, been saved. My work is done.

So farewell then, ‘Man Joins Labour’ Mark One. You were crafted with a modicum of care, but not slaved over. You have not quite achieved all you set out to do although as the original title of this blog shows, you have, indeed, joined Labour. Ten days on from calling your local party, and still no one has been in touch but hey – it took Gordon and Alastair nearly a fortnight to solve the collapse of the world economy, so I shouldn’t expect too much.

You have, let’s be honest, blog, become slightly more irrelevant than you already were to all but the six loyal souls (he said optimistically) who ever bothered to read you. And, coming as you did from the keyboard of a comedy writer, you simply weren’t funny enough.

You did, however, perform a very useful task, providing the first step on my road to discovery. Thanks to you I have worked out how to progress. Monday morning will see, in classic New Labour style, the Great Dave Blog Re-launch, designed in response to world events as they unfold.

See you then…

Thursday, 16 October 2008


Approaching the subject of world finance with the same amount of complete ignorance as 99 per cent of the population, it’s not always easy to spot whose hidden agenda I might be following.

I’ve now found someone who probably knows more than most of us about this but has no hidden agenda. Vince Cable is the Lib Dem spokesman on finance, and so can say exactly what he likes.

I received this e-mail even though I’m not a member of the Lib Dems - they’re so much better organised in these areas than Labour.

So – what would Vince do?

"1. Action on housing stop unnecessary repossessions and provide more social housing
Allow families struggling with repayments to sell all or part of the equity in their house and rent it back from a housing association.
2. Tax cuts for people on low and middle incomes
3. Action to limit the excesses of the City
Firm up the policy of stopping destabilising short-selling of bank shares by hedge funds
Require banks to hold more capital in periods of boom and less in recession.
4. Action to deliver future economic stability
Include house prices in the considerations of the Bank of England when setting interest rates to manage inflation
5. Action to cut energy bills and fight fuel poverty
Compel energy companies to re-invest the £9 billion profit they have made in kind from the Emissions Trading Scheme.
6. Action to help people with debt problems
Roll out a national network of free independent financial advice centres, to ensure that individuals with debt problems can seek assistance promptly and professionally
7. Action to help people who lose their jobs
8. Action to deliver ‘green-collar’ jobs and energy independence
Big investment in renewables, home insulation and railways will create thousands of jobs
9. Action to reinvigorate global trade
Work within the EU to unlock the stalemate on agricultural trade between the rich and the developing world, and bring down prices worldwide."

This all came, of course, before Gordon and Alastair weren’t being socialist enough for George Osborne. But I’m sure it all holds.

Note how top of his agenda is a measure to help ordinary people. And nearly all his immediate measures are about a group of people Labour has so far almost failed to mention – people losing their jobs, people in debt, lowest income taxpayers etc. Shame on you Labour.

I know he’s a Lib Dem and is unshackled by the restraints of power, but imagine how many votes those policies might be worth to a party with a real chance of power.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008


Of course I always knew, when I started this Blog in July in the hope of creating a proper debate within the Labour Party about who should take over from Gordon Brown, that the world economy would collapse in a heap, Gordon would save it, and the leadership battle would become irrelevant.

Okay maybe not that much, but I did write a gag for a show in July about Gordon being so desperate that he brings back Peter Mandelson.

What has become clear to me is that the parameters of this blog are now way too narrow. Quite apart from the fact that even if it was the world's greatest blog about the battle for the soul of the Labour Party, it would still only be read by 13 people. All I really wanted to do was contribute in some way to a debate about saving the Labour Party. Now Gordon has read my blog, taken my advice, and saved it, it's time for me to develop the blog and move on.

In the style of our Premier, he-who-I-knew-all-along-was-a-superb-leader-and-should-never-have-been-challenged-in-the-first-place, I shall be instigating a relaunch of this blog next week. Or perhaps I should say Relaunch. Those capital letters always do the trick don't they.

Thursday, 9 October 2008


...Gordon Brown, saviour of Britain and the world economy.

Okay, it's a little early to make such a prediction, but the man has proved once again that he knows how to come across well in a crisis. Makes you wonder if all that stuff he did since 1997 - handing over interest rates to the Bank of England, deregulating the city, allowing dodgy mortgages - was solely to give him something juicy to solve once he became Prime Minister.

Those of us who've been calling for some sort of vision, a setting out of ideals and ideas as to what the Labour Party, post-Blair, is really about, have our answer now. This is the kind of stuff that Tony Benn's been advocating for years. Does it matter that it's taken a world financial crisis of such proportions to bring us here? Probably not.

Insignificant as this blog is in my own life, let alone the great scheme of things, the reason for its existence just seems to have become even more pointless. I might as well give up and turn this into one of those 'life of a writer blogs' that seem to be appearing by the bucketload. ('today I found it hard to write my new script').


I wonder if this fundamental change in how the government looks after our money might not be just the sort of spur we need to engage the vast majority of people in politics again. When times are average (we never see them as good until they disappear), nobody is really bothered enough to get worked up about schools and NHS funding. But now that every penny of funding is going to mean something to us all, now that we all have a personal stake in the economy - and, we're told, may even benefit from it - might more and more people sign up and join a political party... or am I simply trying to create a record for the world's longest sentence on the internet?

I rang my local Labour Party three days ago, and still haven't heard back from anyone. Who knows if anyone will ever get back to me, and if I can begin my plan for world domination?

In the meantime, I should leave this now and get back to my script. It's about a procrastinating writer who sets up a blog about how difficult it is to be a writer...

Wednesday, 8 October 2008


Why have I not seen the above headline anywhere at all?

Here’s what everyone has been saying for the last ten years. By everyone I mean mainstream politicians, scientists, journalists, and not just sandal-wearing eco-warriors with bushy beards and questionable hygiene habits:

“We are using up the world’s resources at an alarming rate, our pursuit of economic growth is exacerbating the problems of climate change, we are creating too much pollution, everyone, especially those of us in the developed west, needs to fundamentally re-think their habits. We need to fly less, drive less, use less energy to heat our homes, consume more locally grown produce.”

And here’s what the psycho-babble mumbo-jumbo industry, which has enjoyed unprecedented growth in the last decade, has been saying:

“Our lives are too stressful. We’re working too hard. Stop for a moment and enjoy the world for what it is. Think positive. Look on every crisis as an opportunity. Your life stinks because the wardrobe is where the dressing table should be.”

Okay I realise the last one isn’t too relevant here, but isn’t this situation a golden opportunity for everyone, yes everyone, in the world, yes the world, to stop for a moment and think about what they can do to save it? Even if we fail, and we’re doomed thanks to global warming and greedy bankers anyway, no one can say we didn’t try.

I realise for some people there are more important issues, like stopping his cabinet from plotting against him, but now that the 12 Blairites have decided against a coup, couldn’t Gordon lead the way?

(Cue tears of laughter from blog reader)

Tuesday, 7 October 2008


Gordon Brown sent an e-mail to me! Obviously he's read my blog and has decided to consult me on what to do. I wonder if he sent this letter to anyone else. Anyway Gordon, I've printed my responses below...

Dear Dave

Hi Gordon – good to hear from you. You must be the other reader of this blog.

You will have seen from the news that I have carried out changes in the Government today. I wanted to contact you directly to let you know the thinking behind these changes.

Thanks. You don’t mind if I share this do you with the other blog reader?

We are living through the first truly global financial crisis that started in America, but where we must in Britain now do everything we can to ensure the stability of our economic system.

Rule 1 – stop blaming other people Gordon. Don’t you realise every time you try and shift the blame it gives your opponents an excuse to remind everyone who allowed America’s unfettered financial system to take root over here in the first place?

Serious people are needed for these serious times.

I disagree. I’m a comedian and comedy writer and I don’t think my contribution is any less valid for being flippant. (He said, flippantly.)

Margaret Beckett has come back into Government and I have also promoted some of our Party’s best new talent to help deal with the new challenges we face.

Nice move on climate change. Well done there, too easy to forget that there are far bigger problems the world faces than some bloke from Merill Lynch having to give up one of his hoiliday homes.

I want to reconstruct the way we govern to meet these challenges. Therefore I have created a new National Economic Council and put it on a day-to-day footing. It will meet for the first time on Monday.

Okay, but what’s the philosophy at the heart of it?

I have brought back Peter Mandelson from Brussels to lead our Business Department. Peter has been a European Commissioner of great distinction. He has unrivalled experience in international business issues and has built a reputation over these last few years as someone who can get things done.

And hand on heart there was no ulterior motive for bringing him back?

I believe the changes I have announced today are in the national interest. Our undivided attention must be on the security of millions of families and households who have been facing higher bills and now face the uncertainty caused by the financial failures in America and elsewhere.

Okay, that’s not unreasonable, still doesn’t sound like a philosophy yet. And stop blaming the Yanks!

Thank you for all that you do.

Even though I diss you man?

Gordon Brown

Monday, 6 October 2008


Okay, I've been reading an awful lot about the impending Armageddon, whose fault it is, what's to be done, why we've been bamboozled by those pesky Germans again, and I must confess I'm more confused than before. And don't sit me down and try to explain it to me in a way I understand, blog-reader if you're still there, because admit it, you're as clueless as I am.

So, I have decided to go back to basics. No, I'm not planning to shag Edwina Currie, I'm going to attempt to write down what I understand, in very simple terms, and see how it applies to this blog. Here goes:

1) Financially, the world is in a mess. There are several complex reasons for this, but the over-riding cause of this mess has been that financiers, unshackled by regulation or moral objectivity, have taken their creed of making money for its own sake to its logical conclusion. To use the obvious metaphor, if I drive a car and I keep driving it fast, going through red lights and refusing to slow down, I'll get to my destination faster than if I was driving within the rules - but there's a very strong possibility that at some point I will crash the car.

2) It's pointless trying to attribute blame. We're all tainted. Anyone who picked up a dodgy mortgage or took advantage of all those free credit lunches of the last decade helped to perpetuate the culture. We may have felt uncomfortable with it but we let it continue anyway.

3) Things cannot continue like this. A solution requires the following - a complete overhaul of the financial system that needs us all to take some responsibility for our actions. Bankers, shareholders, creditors, depositors, you, me (okay, I'll be realistic about this blog, just me).

There is a sense that some, if not all of these issues, are being addressed by the USA. As far as I can tell, the two main objecting voices to the US bail-out were a) the free market purists who said the weak should be allowed to go to the wall and b) politicians who knew they wouldn't be able to sell another hit on the taxpayer this close to an election. In the compromise deal that was finally passed, the voices of b) were allowed to be heard above those of a) - a first in the US to my knowledge.

So what are we doing in the UK? And I don't mean what are Gordon and Alastair doing to micro-manage the daily events. What overall message is being sent? As the Conservative columnist Bruce Anderson suggests in today's Independent, the overall message (the correct one, in his view) is that the city and the CBI are being calmed by the appointment of Peter Mandelson, friend of financiers and filthy rich filanthropists.

Am I the one out of touch then? Is it me who's mad to think that Gordon's latest move to stay as Prime Minister will make no sense or difference to the vast majority of people? And even to the anorak tendency, I must ask, was the recent threat to Brown's Premiership biggest from the Blairites?

Is there no one out there like me, who wanted Gordon Brown to take over, and has been saddened more or less from day one that for all those years of plotting he didn't ascend to the top job with a single innovative idea? I believe there are thousands who feel that way - which is why I need to get back to the original idea of this blog, which is to try and make the Labour party once more appear as a party that speaks common sense for the majority.

Piece of piss I reckon...

Friday, 3 October 2008


Being born Jewish, and in Leeds, I have learned a very important lesson in life, which is this:

As a Leeds United supporter, and a Jew uncomfortable with some of the excesses undertaken in the name of the so-called Jewish state, I have discovered that just when you think things couldn't possibly get any worse, something terrible will happen.

I was reminded of this truth when I read that Peter Mandelson had returned to the Cabinet. Of all the reams of sensible advice coming from left, right and centre, here was one response to the current economic crisis that no-one saw coming.

In a world where even Georges Bush and Osborne have called time on the filthy rich and their money-grabbing excesses, it beggars belief that the Labour Party, yes Neil, the LABOUR PARTY, have entrusted their financial situation to the man who professed himself extremely comfortable to be around those lucky chaps.

Maybe I'm reading this all wrong. Maybe Brown will use Mandelson's appointment as a reminder that our true economic security rests with being more integrated with Europe, and that he intends to sign us up to the Euro currency two decades after Margaret Thatcher failed to do so. And in so doing, once again exposes the violent fault line running through the Conservatives that no one in government dares mention for fear of it backfiring. Somehow I don't see it.

Looks like Mike Ashley just chose Kevin Keegan again.

Thursday, 2 October 2008


I’ve been totally inspired by the Fabian Review published especially for Labour's Conference. Entitled ‘Must Labour Lose?’, it’s packed with masses of really useful ideas and information for kick-starting Labour. Shame about the title – I saw it in the background on the telly just about every time the news covered a Labour Fringe meeting, or turned up in case David Miliband picked his nose. Not exactly the most life-enhancing slogan that you want people to be tapping their toes to in future weeks, although admittedly a cut above ‘Forward not backwards’, ‘Fairness for hardworking families’ and ‘a bit less nasty than the Tories’ or whatever.

Anyway, there's a great piece by the Labour MP in my neighbouring constituency of Walthamstow. She seems to have the right idea – using computers to spread the word, linking in to local pressure groups, responding immediately to important local issues while not losing sight of the national ones. That’s exactly what our Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone has been doing for ages. Just watch me go to my first local party meeting and annoy them with my Johnny Come Lately ideas for reviving those three dispirited souls…

The trouble is, I'm not sure I have a local party anymore. Sure, there's still a Labour Party shop front in Crouch End, but even before Barbara Roche lost her seat I'm struggling to remember any moment in the last five years when I walked past to see it open.

So, readers (funny how the quotation 'reader, I married him' is known to millions, even though it was addressed to you singularly - whereas I am using the plural but can't even be sure that more than one person will actually ever read this post), that will be my next task - to stalk Crouch End, North London, in search of a Labour Party Activist.