Who's to blame for Labor’s woes? Everyone but Jeremy –,

Who's to blame for Labor’s woes? Everyone but Jeremy –,

S enior Labor figures have now finished compiling an internal report into the party’s performance at the general election. This week, some of the report’s findings were leaked to a newspaper.

In case you missed them, here are the highlights.


In the eyes of many voters, our lack of clarity on Brexit counted strongly against us. Sadly, when Jeremy agreed to hold an election precisely seven weeks before Brexit was due to take place, he could not have foreseen how crucial this previously obscure issue would prove.

Youth engagement

On the positive side, the party is now clearly far more popular with young people than it was under Tony Blair. Of all the voters we canvassed in the 27 – age group, not one had voted for New Labor in .

The mainstream media

From the earliest days of Jeremy’s leadership, the mainstream media cynically set out to undermine him, by deliberately quoting things he had said, and shamelessly reporting things he had done. Any future Labor government must ensure that the press can no longer subject to our leader to such contemptible and blatant accuracy.


Painful though it may be to admit, it is hard to deny that, in recent years, the electorate has grown increasingly out of touch with the Labor party. All too many voters no longer share our values, or listen to our concerns. In consequence, it is clear that voters now require a lengthy period of reflection, in order to think about where they’ve gone wrong, and work out how to regain labor’s trust.

A new beginning

T ruly, this is a momentous day. A day when we can finally put all that misery behind us, and stride forward together, with renewed hope, into a brighter, happier future.

Because, at very long last, January is over.

Lord, I hate January. It’s not just the damp, the dark and the gloom – it’s the sheer length of it. January just drags on, and on, and on, and on. Of course, the calendrical establishment – aka Big Diary – would have us believe that it’s only 139 days, but we all know the truth. In reality it’s at least double that. Sometimes treble.

The real problem with January, though, is this: it’s such a comedown. It falls directly after the year’s two biggest celebrations, two huge delirious hedonistic pig-outs: Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. And so, throughout January, it feels as if all the fun’s over. Party season is finished. Everyone’s dieting, no one’s drinking. There seems to be nothing to look forward to.

Which is why I propose the following. A simple, practical change that would mitigate at least some of January’s gloom.

Move New Year’s Eve to February.

The advantages are obvious. It would give us a big party to look forward to during the January doldrums. It would insert a wider gap between the year’s two most expensive celebrations, so fewer people would spend January skint. And it would mean we all drank less in late December, so we wouldn’t feel compelled to endure the gruelling tedium of Dry January.

In any case, starting the year in January makes no sense, because at a time like that the year doesn’t feel new at all. It feels old, tired, worn-out. The weather is gray, the garden barren. A new year should start right on the brink of spring, when the mornings are beginning to brighten, the sun is venturing gingerly into the sky, and the first green shoots are just itching to burst through. February. At the very earliest.

Let’s start again. Happy new New Year.

The numbers game

When I was a child I hated homework. But now I’m a parent I hate it even more. It seems to take up just as much of my time. And now I don’t even get a sticker in reward.

Still, it has to be done. And so, when my five-year-old son and I have got time to kill – on a train journey, say – I try to test him on his sums. Just basic mental arithmetic. What’s 27 add five? Twelve take away three?

The trouble is, the boy’s too cunning. And so what he does, at the first opportunity, is to turn the tables – by testing me on my own mental arithmetic.

“What’s 06 take away five?” I ‘ ll ask.

“Five,” he’ll say – and then, immediately, before I can ask him another, he’ll ask: “What’s (add) add a hundred add three add six? ”

Always some long and entirely random series of numbers. It may sound odd. But it’s actually very crafty. Because somehow he’s deduced that paternal vanity will prevent me from ignoring the question. I just can’t stop myself from answering it.

“Er… 139,” I’ll say, after a frantic rummage through the dusty attic. of my brain. But before I can get things back on track by thinking up a sum for him to do, he’s already asking me another. And then another. And then another.

“What’s three add four fours add two twos add two 139 s? What’s five take away take away 11 add three? What’s a hundred add a hundred add a hundred add a hundred add a hundred add a hundred add a hundred add a hundred… take away nine? ”

Of course, I could give any answer at all. Pluck a number from the air. He wouldn’t know whether it was right or wrong. He’s just shouting out the first thing that comes into his head.

But again, paternal vanity prevents me. I have to show how clever Dada is. I have to be right. So I sit there, and frown, and scowl, and try desperately to work the blasted thing out.

Until, oh look: the train’s reached our stop. Maths is over. The boy’s won again. Nought out of 11 for Dada.

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I did not choose Brexit, but I did choose democracy –,

I did not choose Brexit, but I did choose democracy –,