Labour of love

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

I’m no fan of the Labour Party at all, or its doings, but I was impressed by one item among the usual drivel in its latest local newsletter.

This county council division – Hitchin North on Herts County Council – will be a tricky defence for Labour next year, as the district council wards have been trending Tory for a while now and the People’s Party’s vote has been plummeting.

The ‘Contact’ leaflet that came through the door yesterday was the usual fare, claiming credit for this, criticising that, and piously hoping for the other. Nothing that couldn’t have gone out under the logo of any of the other three parties in the area, and probably has.

A nice personal touch came in the form of an obituary to a long-serving stalwart of the local party, and then there was this:

Martin

Local Bearton ward councillor Martin Stears has recently entered into a civil partnership with his long-time partner Ian Handscomb. Martin has changed his name to Martin Stears-Handscomb, and we wish them every happiness for a long future together.

As do I.

What impresses me is the fact that Labour put this on a leaflet – it won’t win them votes in this marginal division (which includes Stears-Handscomb’s ward), in fact it will probably lose them instead. But they still did it.

It’s always unsettling when your opponents do something that impresses you, and which you know you might have thought carefully about before doing yourself (even if you’re certain you would have, in the end, done it too).

I suppose, if you’d run an obituary in your leaflet then you’d probably run a wedding too. And if you’d run a wedding, you’d be the most grievous of hypocrites not to run a civil partnership.

But it’s still a brave step.

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I'm Andy Darley. Sometimes I want to say things. This is where I do it.